Dow’s “dioxin lawyer” now in charge of the EPA’s toxic waste cleanup

Credit: Joe Amon/Denver Post/Getty Images

Who better to head the federal cleanup of toxic chemicals than the former lead lawyer for one of the biggest polluters in the game, Dow Chemical? The Senate just confirmed Peter Wright to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Superfund and toxic waste programs, which are responsible for cleaning up the country’s most contaminated land and water—dumped there by the likes of Wright’s previous employers. To wit: While serving as head counsel for Dow Chemical, for example, Wright won the nickname “dioxin lawyer” for defending the company after it polluted a 50-mile stretch of the Tittabawassee River near its headquarters in Michigan. (Dioxins are harmful compounds that can result from the manufacturing of products like Agent Orange.) And while Wright was representing Dow during the river’s cleanup, regulators accused the chemical giant of fudging data and causing delays. Though Wright has recused himself from working on hundreds of hazardous waste sites due to the obvious conflict of interest, we’re still not convinced he’s playing for the right team. 

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