EPA Names Former Koch Industries Figure Chief of Research

WASHINGTON (CN) – The Environmental Protection Agency has named David Dunlap, a former chemical engineer with Koch Industries, as its deputy chief of research and development, according to the EPA’s chief of staff.

Dunlap will replace one-time deputy Richard Yamada, a mathematician and former congressional committee staffer appointed to the role by President Donald Trump.

After 15 months as deputy, Yamada left his post in mid September without explanation.

“EPA is pleased Mr. Dunlap is joining EPA as deputy assistant administrator of the Office of Research and Development.  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,” EPA chief of staff Ryan Jackson said in a statement to Courthouse News Monday.

Dunlap has worked with Koch Industries since 2010 and until recently, served as the chemical manufacturing company’s director of environmental affairs.

David Dziok, a spokesperson for Koch Industries confirmed with Courthouse News on Monday that Dunlap was “not working for Koch Industries in any capacity.”

According to his LinkedIn profile, Dunlap described his role at Koch as that of a “subject matter expert” on water and waste water, namely, the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Water Act. He also notes his expertise in chemical management; specifically, the Toxic Substances Control Act.

Dunlap’s ties to Koch Industries will likely raise the hackles of environmentalist groups and Democratic lawmakers who just last year submitted a request to 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.”

As incoming deputy, Dunlap will not face a senate confirmation process, per administrative rules.

The announcement comes on the heels of another shakeup within the EPA: last week, Dunlap’s predecessor, then acting deputy administrator for the Office of Research and Development Jennifer Orme-Zavaleta, announced the Office of the Science Advisor was closing as a part of an agency-wide streamlining effort.

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