Such is the case with Michael Dourson, Trump’s pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) chemical safety office. Two Republican senators from North Carolina, Thom Tillis and Richard Burr, recently announced they would not support Dourson. Their opposition stems from the fact that they do not believe that Dourson would protect North Carolina residents from contamination threats–like the Camp Lejeune water contamination and the recent discovery of a chemical called Gen X in the Cape Fear River–which plague their state.
The reason for their concern is apparent to anyone who cares about environmental protection: Dourson, a lackey for the chemical industry, has been paid for years to underplay the harm of various chemicals. His history makes clear which side of the issue this nominee stands on. He has no intention of protecting the people from dangerous chemicals; his loyalty belongs to the industries which paid him.
Democrats have long maintained that Dourson–whose firm evaluated chemical toxicity and made universally industry-friendly conclusions–is so outside the scientific mainstream as to be outrageous.
The current EPA welcomes the contributions of this scientific crackpot. Under Scott Pruitt’s leadership–in a move that appears to circumvent the Senate’s confirmation process–Dourson has already been hired as a top advisor, with the ability to influence key regulatory decisions.
The fact that president Trump and EPA chief Pruitt think this kind of industry toady is a good choice to regulate chemicals at the EPA demonstrates just how far this administration has fallen with respect to environmental protections. Basically, they don’t believe in any. Hopefully, a few more Republican senators will have the decency and common sense to join Tillis and Burr and keep this dangerous nominee (and others like him) from endangering the country.