Three influential EPA offices – the Offices of Air, Water, and Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention – share a common attribute. Each is at the center of a defining battle over its future. What is the future of climate regulation at EPA? How will the agency define "waters of the United States" given that the Trump administration is intent on dismantling the Clean Water Rule? And what will public safety officials do with last year's modifications to the outdated Toxic Substances Control Act? EPA has made bold moves under President Trump and Administrator Scott Pruitt on each of these fronts, so you'd be forgiven if you thought that a Senate-approved nominee were at the helm, guiding each office through rough waters. Not so.
This Wednesday, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works will hold a hearing to review nominations for each of those offices, yet another example of how this administration is simultaneously rushing ahead to undo anything it sees as a mark of success for the Obama administration while slow-walking its basic duties like properly staffing agencies.
CPR's Member Scholars and staff have reviewed two of the nominees' past work and uncovered a strong bias in favor of promoting polluters' interests over the public health and environmental concerns that ought to motivate people at the highest levels of EPA.
Michael Dourson, Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention
Dr. Michael Dourson has a long and storied career promoting the interests of the chemical industry through sophisticated meddling in risk assessment policy. CPR engaged in a bit of our own sleuthing about Dr. Dourson's efforts and his firm, Toxicology Excellence in Risk Assessment (TERA), in our 2012 report, Cozying Up: How the Manufacturers of Toxic Chemicals Seek to Co-opt Their Regulators. Key findings from the report most relevant to the committee's review of Dr. Dourson's nomination to lead EPA's Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention include: