"They seem to think the recommendation of having a safety prevention program still stands," Gupta said after being briefed by the board on its DuPont report.
Late last month, DHHR Secretary Dr. Michael J. Lewis told the CSB that his agency and the state Department of Environmental Protection had determined not to move forward at this point on the board's recommendation.
CSB officials had recommended using the DHHR's existing authority to write regulations to govern workplace hazards. But in a June 30 letter to the CSB, Lewis said his agency and DEP believe they don't have legal authority to help create a local chemical accident prevention program.
"We came to a consensus that we did not, at this time, have the expertise in-house to draft the appropriate legislation that would be needed to develop the type of program suggested in your report," wrote Lewis, a physician and former Union Carbide chemical engineer.
"Therefore, we will jointly approach our governor and our Legislature during the next regular legislative session to provide funding for a study of the successful legislative initiatives from around the country," Lewis wrote. "We will also ask that the expert provide us with model language which could be used to implement a program tailored for the needs of West Virginia residents and businesses."
Gupta said he is concerned this approach will take too long.
"I would like for them to be a little more aggressive, a little more sort of pro-active," Gupta said.
Reach Ken Ward Jr. at kw...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1702.