A former chemical engineer for Koch Industries will head the Environmental Protection Agency’s main office for scientific research.
David Dunlap has been named deputy chief in the EPA’s Office of Research and Development (ORD). He does not need Senate confirmation.
According to his LinkedIn page, Dunlap worked for Koch Industries for more than eight years beginning in 2010. Most recently, he was the chemical manufacturing company’s director of environmental affairs. Dunlap describes himself as a lead, wastewater and chemical expert.
“As a chemical engineer, Mr. Dunlap has worked on environmental issues for nearly 30 years with a focus on assessing risk. His extensive experience on regulatory issues will be pivotal in our mission to protect human health and the environment,” said EPA chief of staff Ryan Jackson in a statement.
Koch Industries, headed by brothers Charles and David Koch, is the major benefactor of conservative causes, including environmental deregulation. The products produced and marketed by Koch Industries include crude oil, fuel oil, petrochemicals, plastics and gasoline, among others.
Since taking office, the Trump administration has rolled back decades of environmental protections, shrinking the size of national monuments, removing hundreds of animals from the endangered species list, deleting mentions of climate change from the EPA website and ending a clean air policy opposed by the fossil fuel industry.
Dunlap replaces Richard Yamada, a mathematician and former congressional committee staffer appointed by President Trump. Yamada served in the job for 15 months, and his departure was not explained.
Last week, the Trump administration announced it would close the Office of the Science Advisor, which advises the EPA chief on the latest scientific research behind health and environmental regulations, ensuring the highest-quality science undergirds each policy.
This week, the EPA announced it would soften longtime warnings about radiation exposure, suggesting that some radiation exposure might be good for you.
Last year, Democratic lawmakers submitted a request to the EPA’s then-administrator Scott Pruitt, seeking information “related to efforts by Charles and David Koch, Koch Industries and the numerous groups they fund to influence decisions at the Environmental Protection Agency.”