NC EDF Leader Commends Senators Burr, Tillis for Opposing Controversial Chemical Safety Nominee

Nominee to oversee federal chemical safety has troubling history on chemicals at heart of state’s toxic pollution

November 16, 2017
Shira Langer, (202) 572-3254,

(November 16, 2017—Raleigh, NC) Today the Environmental Defense Fund commends North Carolina Senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis for announcing their opposition to the nominee to oversee chemical safety at EPA, Michael Dourson. As first reported by the Wilmington Star News, both Senators issued statements Wednesday night opposing the nominee, who has a long history of working to downplay concerns about toxic chemicals for industry clients, including chemicals that have impacted thousands of Tar Heel families.

David Kelly, Manger for North Carolina Political Affairs at Environmental Defense Fund, said:

“We commend Senators Burr and Tillis for recognizing that Michael Dourson, who has made a career minimizing the dangers of chemicals like the ones affecting communities from Camp Lejeune to Wilmington, is not the right person to lead our nation’s chemical safety system. We are hopeful that other Senators will follow the lead of our Tar Heel State Senators, who are taking a strong stand for North Carolina families.”

Dourson, the controversial nominee to lead the chemical safety office at EPA, is a deeply conflicted chemical industry hired-gun who should be especially concerning to North Carolina families. Among the chemicals Dourson has been paid to downplay are chemicals that have impacted Wilmington, other communities along the Cape Fear River, and Marine Corp Base Camp Lejeune in Onslow County.

Over and over again, Dourson has recommended standards that were much less protective than those set by impartial authorities. If confirmed, Dourson would be charged with overseeing the safety of chemicals like trichloroethylene (TCE) and GenX and determining whether or at what level they need to be regulated. But, as the Wilmington Star News recently editorialized, Dourson’s record makes him the wrong choice for the job. 

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