Ex-Koch official hired for science shop

Source: Robin Bravender, E&E News reporter • Posted: Wednesday, October 3, 2018

EPA has hired a chemical engineer from Koch Industries Inc. to serve as the top political appointee in the agency’s science office.

David Dunlap, who was Koch’s director of policy and regulatory affairs, is now deputy assistant administrator of EPA’s Office of Research and Development. That’s the top political slot below the assistant administrator, a role that will remain vacant for the foreseeable future, as President Trump has yet to nominate anyone to lead the research division.

“As a chemical engineer, Mr. Dunlap has worked on environmental issues for nearly 30 years with a focus on assessing risk,” EPA Chief of Staff Ryan Jackson said yesterday in a statement. “His extensive experience on regulatory issues will be pivotal in our mission to protect human health and the environment.”

Dunlap is filling the position vacated by Richard Yamada, a former Republican congressional aide who left EPA last month (Greenwire, Sept. 14).

Yamada was instrumental in some of EPA’s most controversial moves on science under Trump. He was a quiet force behind former Administrator Scott Pruitt’s efforts to add industry voices to agency advisory boards, sideline some research used to craft regulations and debate climate science (Climatewire, May 23).

At Koch, Dunlap provided technical, regulatory, policy and legislative leadership and support to all of the Koch companies, according to his LinkedIn profile. Those companies include refiners, petrochemical manufacturers, building product producers, pipeline operators and ranchers. He joined Koch in 2010 and has a degree in chemical engineering, according to the profile.

Inside EPA reported Dunlap’s hire yesterday.

He joins the agency as EPA is reorganizing its science office. Officials last week informed staff that they plan to eliminate the science adviser’s office and merge those positions into a division within the broader science division (Greenwire, Sept. 27).