Trump’s former chemical safety nominee leaving EPA

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

President TrumpDonald John TrumpConservatives express concern over House GOP immigration bill Poll: McSally holds 14-point lead in Arizona GOP Senate primary Trump defends Nielsen amid criticism over family separations 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: Senate panel sets Pruitt hearing | Colorado joins California with tougher emissions rules | Court sides with Trump on coal leasing program Pruitt to testify before Senate panel in August Lots of conservatives hate Trump’s coal and nuclear bailout — that’s a big political problem 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 CarperOvernight Energy: Senate panel sets Pruitt hearing | Colorado joins California with tougher emissions rules | Court sides with Trump on coal leasing program Pruitt to testify before Senate panel in August Lawmakers prep for coming wave of self-driving cars 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 MarkeyLawmakers prep for coming wave of self-driving cars Trump taps Hill veteran for White House environment job Dems unveil push to secure state voting systems 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 TillisCongress must confront sexual abuse of military children With caveats, Republicans praise Trump’s summit with Kim Jong Un McConnell: Any North Korea deal should be submitted to Congress MORE (N.C.) and Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrFormer Senate intel aide indicted for perjury makes first court appearance The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — Washington's week of 'we'll see' Former Senate Intel aide indicted in DOJ leak case 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.