The NTSB is investigating the natural gas pipeline explosion last month near Sissonville that destroyed three homes, damaged several others and scorched Interstate 77. The NTSB advocates stronger pipeline safety measures.
An independent federal agency, the NTSB investigates every civil aviation accident in the United States and significant accidents in the other modes of transportation. The agency conducts special investigations and safety studies and issues safety recommendations to prevent future accidents.
The Journal noted that Hersman, acting as chairman, is overseeing the NTSB's investigation into the lithium ion batteries installed on Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner jets.
One battery caught fire Jan. 7 on a Dreamliner at Boston's Logan International Airport that was operated by Japan Airlines. Another battery incident on Jan. 16 led to an emergency landing by a Dreamliner in Japan. The worldwide fleet of Dreamliners has since been grounded.
Sen. Rockefeller said on Sunday that he would like to see Hersman nominated to the top Transportation Department job, the Journal reported. Rockefeller told the newspaper that during her tenure at the NTSB, "she has been a constant reassuring presence."
President George W. Bush appointed Hersman to the NTSB in 2004 and President Obama reappointed her.
The president designates a member as chairman for a two-year term. President Obama nominated Hersman to the post. The U.S. Senate confirmed her nomination, and she was sworn in as chairman on July 28, 2009. Her term as chairman runs until July. Her second term as a board member expires on Dec. 31.
The U.S. Department of Transportation's mission is to ensure a fast, safe, efficient, accessible and convenient transportation system that meets the nation's vital interests and enhances the quality of life of the American people.
Contact writer George Hohmann at busin...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4836.