Energy & Environment

Trump’s former chemical safety nominee leaving EPA

Camille Fine

President Trump’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 Pruitt 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 Carper (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 Markey (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 Tillis (N.C.) and Richard Burr (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.

Tags Donald Trump Ed Markey Environmental Protection Agency Michael Dourson Richard Burr Scott Pruitt Thom Tillis Tom Carper

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