Trump’s former chemical safety nominee leaving EPA

Trump’s former chemical safety nominee leaving EPA
© Camille Fine

President TrumpDonald John TrumpBrennan fires new shot at Trump: ‘He’s drunk on power’ Trump aides discussed using security clearance revocations to distract from negative stories: report Trump tried to dissuade Melania from 'Be Best' anti-bullying campaign: report MORE’s former nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) chemical safety office is leaving his job at the agency.

Michael Dourson was hired as a senior adviser to Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy: Court orders EPA to enforce chemical safety rule | Dem says Zinke would 'sell' his grandkids for the oil industry | EPA reportedly poised to unveil climate rule replacement Court throws out EPA delay of Obama chemical plant safety rule The Hill's Morning Report: Dems have a majority in the Senate (this week) MORE last October after a fiery confirmation hearing. The hire angered Democrats, who accused Pruitt and Dourson of trying to do an end-run around the Senate's responsibility to confirm high-ranking government officials.

He withdrew from the confirmation process in December after a handful of GOP senators announced their opposition to him, dooming his nomination, but he stayed on in an advisory role.

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Now, Dourson will leave that job in the coming weeks.

“We wish him continued success in his future endeavors,” EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox said.

Democrats vocally objected to Dourson, who worked as a toxicologist for two decades, throughout his confirmation process, citing his history of working on behalf of the chemical industries as an insurmountable conflict of interest.

Dourson's organization conducted chemical analyses for companies, industry groups, states and other clients, often publishing findings far more friendly to industry than other toxicology assessments.

“Never in the history of the EPA has a nominee to lead the chemical safety office had such deep ties to industry,” Sen. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperSenate panel spars with Trump administration over treatment of unaccompanied immigrant children Senate study: Trump hasn’t provided adequate support to detained migrant children Overnight Energy: Trump elephant trophy tweets blindsided staff | Execs of chemical plant that exploded during hurricane indicted | Interior to reverse pesticide ban at wildlife refuges MORE (Del.), the top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee, said at Dourson's October hearing.

“You’re not just an outlier on this science, you’re outrageous in how far from the mainstream of science you actually are,” said Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyTo make the House of Representatives work again, make it bigger Dems urge tech companies to remove 3D-gun blueprints Make the moon a refueling station — then head to Mars MORE (D-Mass.).

The GOP currently has one a two-vote majority in the Senate, so any Republican opposition to nominees could doom them.

GOP Sens. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisSenate gets to work in August — but many don’t show up GOP leader criticizes Republican senators for not showing up to work Orrin Hatch: Partisanship over Kavanaugh nomination 'dumbass' MORE (N.C.) and Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrWhite House weighs clawing back State, foreign aid funding Conway blasts Brennan: 'Why is he screaming' about losing his clearance 'on a lower-rated cable network?' The Hill's Morning Report: Dems have a majority in the Senate (this week) MORE (N.C.) both came out in opposition, and a handful of other Republicans said they were leaning against him as well.

Dourson's departure was first reported by Politico.