Third Republican Senator Casts Doubt on EPA’s Chemical Pick

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By Tiffany Stecker

A third Republican senator expressed concerns with the Trump administration’s selection of Michael Dourson to lead EPA’s chemicals office, potentially imperiling the nomination unless at least one Democrat were to cross party lines.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) told reporters Nov. 16 that while she has not made up her mind on how she will vote, she is “leaning against” Dourson.

“I share many of the same concerns” as North Carolina Republican Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, Collins told reporters.

Burr and Tillis confirmed Nov. 15 they would not vote for Dourson, citing his work to weaken safety standards for toxic chemicals. North Carolina is home to Camp Lejeune, where Marines were exposed to chemicals in drinking water between the 1950s and the 1980s. The state is also struggling with water contaminated with the chemical GenX.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who voted to confirm EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, announced Nov. 16 that he would not support Dourson’s nomination.

Dourson—who recently left his position as a professor of risk assessment and environmental health at the University of Cincinnati and serves as an adviser to the EPA as he awaits confirmation—has sparked numerous complaints from Democrats and environmental groups over his ties with industry. He has developed assessments for R.J. Reynolds Co., Koch Industries, and DuPont.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) told reporters Nov. 16 that he is still undecided on Dourson’s nomination.

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