President Trump will nominate a top chemical industry attorney to serve as the head of a U.S. EPA office that oversees waste management and recycling.
If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Peter C. Wright would serve as assistant administrator for the Office of Land and Emergency Management (OLEM). Wright has worked for Dow since 1999 and currently serves as managing counsel for environment health and safety, as well as the principle counsel for all significant mergers and acquisitions, according to an EPA press release.
“Peter is exceptionally qualified to lead the Office of Land and Emergency Management,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt stated in the release. “He has the expertise and experience necessary to implement our ambitious goals for cleaning up the nation’s contaminated lands quickly and thoroughly.”
The position was previously held by Mathy Stanislaus, who was nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate in 2009. Under Stanislaus’ leadership, the office emphasized food waste reduction as a priority. In 2015, it put on a Food Recovery Summit in partnership with the Southeast Recycling Development Council (SERDC), the North and South Carolina environment departments and BioCycle magazine.
The Associated Press and CNN noted the potential conflicts of interest in Wright’s appointment: As head of OLEM, he would oversee cleanups of spills and polluted sites around the country; meanwhile, Dow and Dupont (the chemical companies merged last year) are listed as responsible parties for more than 100 toxic sites currently undergoing or slated for cleanup.
That assistant administrator position is one of 79 at the EPA that are political appointees. Of those, 14 require Senate confirmation.
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