Vanity Fair reports:
The Trump administration has placed a former Koch Industries official in charge of research that will shape how the government regulates a class of toxic chemicals contaminating millions of Americans’ drinking water—an issue that could have major financial repercussions for his former employer.
David Dunlap, a deputy in E.P.A.’s Office of Research and Development, is playing a key role as the agency decides how to protect people from the pollution left behind at hundreds of military bases and factories across the country. . .He spent the previous eight years as Koch Industries’ lead expert on water and chemical regulations, a position that typically includes helping companies to limit regulatory restrictions and liability for cleanups.
Dunlap was hired in October and since then has been busy in meetings that preceded the EPA’s decision to not set a limit on chemicals known as perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl in drinking water. Both chemicals have been linked to kidney and testicular cancer among other ailments.
Dunlap has thus far avoided a Senate confirmation hearing because Trump has not officially nominated anyone to be in the office.
Koch has committed many environmental atrocities that have faced lawsuits over the past two decades. According to Bloomberg, “Koch Industries was assessed more than $400 million in fines, penalties, and judgments” between 1999 and 2003, such as for dumping hundreds of thousands of gallons of aviation fuel into a Minnesota wetland. “You want an independent, hardheaded scientific review of these issues; you don’t want somebody who is already taking the industry party line,” Erik Olson, who heads up the Natural Resources Defense Council’s public health work, told Politico. “There’s a legitimate threat there and, from my perspective, the conflicts of interest that [Dunlap] has having worked as a regulatory compliance director at Georgia-Pacific raises questions about whether he can make those objective decisions or should be recused.”
It is not likely that Dunlap will be replaced because the man currently running for the position, Andrew Wheeler, has a huge conflict of interest: he used to be a coal-lobbyist.