The Senate confirmed the nominations for the EPA’s top lawyer and water regulator one day after the agency’s chemical safety head withdrew his nomination following stiff GOP resistance.
Lawmakers approved Thursday the nominations of Matt Leopold and David Ross to run EPA’s general counsel and Office of Water, respectively. The move came shortly after Michael Dourson backed out of the running for EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention.
Ross specifically “has a record of holding polluters accountable and navigating through complex environmental law on behalf of the state of Wisconsin,” agency chief, Scott Pruitt, said in statement.
Environmentalists meanwhile cheered the Senate’s decision to pushed back against Dourson, who was scrutinized for his role as a lobbyist for companies that produced chemicals now under EPA review.
“This is a victory for all children, workers, and communities who deserve the strongest protections from exposure to toxic chemicals and pesticides, and for all those who rose up against the unconscionable nomination,” Andrea Delgado of the environmental group Earthjustice said in a statement following the confirmations.
Some Republicans balked at the former lobbyist’s nomination. North Carolina Republican Sens. Thom Tillis and Richard Burr, for instance, argued that Dourson might not be up to the task to properly address major chemical cleanup problems in their state.
Dourson’s withdrawal came after The New York Times released a trove of his communication with chemical industry officials while he was being considered for the role. The emails, which were obtained through public records request from Greenpeace, show a close relationship with the American Chemistry Council.
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