From an editorial in the (Wilmington) Star-News on Wednesday:
It’s not common – or easy – in this hyper-partisan age for politicians to buck their party, even when it seems like the right thing to do. So we think it’s important to commend U.S. Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis for taking a stand against President Trump’s nomination of Michael Dourson to be the Environmental Protection Agency’s top official on chemical safety.
That job is particularly consequential, and current timing makes it even more so. The person who fills the job will, as The Washington Post reported, “be in charge of implementing landmark 2016 legislation requiring the EPA to evaluate existing chemicals and set new risk-based safety standards … (and) would decide risk levels and pick the chemicals on which the agency should focus.”
Dourson is a terrible and, we think, dangerous choice. A toxicologist by training, he has spent years as a consultant for chemical companies, arguing on their behalf for weaker safety standards.
Have the 300,000 or so people in our area who have ingested the chemical GenX been harmed? We can’t say for sure; no one can right now. That’s one of the big problems – there are thousands of unregulated substances being dumped into our rivers. The chemicals need extensive safety evaluations by the EPA.
Here’s one thing we are sure about: considering his role as a hired gun for the chemical industry and record of regularly downplaying risks, Michael Dourson is not qualified to lead that effort.
Fortunately, Sens. Burr and Tillis agree. Both are very aware of the GenX contamination. Let’s hope they can get one more Republican to join them in doing what’s right – not for their political party, but for the safety of all.