Senators to Trump’s EPA toxics nominee: “You should win the Nobel Prize in reverse”

Michael Dourson—President Trump's nominee to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention as well as a former consultant for the chemical and tobacco industries—faced a fusillade of criticism during his nomination hearing in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Senators walked him through egregious examples of his past work that concluded toxic chemicals (including PFCs, 1-4 dioxane, acetachlor, petcoke, perchlorate, and some flame retardants, to name a few) are not as dangerous and thus require fewer regulations than the EPA and other scientific bodies suggest. When asked whether he would recuse himself from involvement with EPA decisions regarding those chemicals, Dourson demurred each time. The nominee's toxic record and reticence on recusal was not well received. New Jersey senator Corey Booker likened Dourson to a cartoon villain out of a Disney movie, Illinois senator Tammy Duckworth called his work on petcoke “pseudoscience,” and Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts suggested he should receive “the Nobel Prize in reverse.”

Related Content