Senate Confirms White House Science advisor, EPA Assistant Administrator

The U.S. Senate confirmed Kelvin Droegemeier, Ph.D., as the Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and Alexandra Dunn to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) on January 2. Their confirmations were among the last acts of the 115th Congress.

Droegemeier is a meteorologist and previously served as the vice president of research for the University of Oklahoma prior to his confirmation. He also served on the National Science Board. His nomination was well-received by both industry and Congress, which approved his nomination by a voice vote.

The OSTP coordinates science and technology policy across all federal agencies, as well as works with the Office of Management and Budget to develop budget requests for science agencies. Droegemeier will be the first person to serve in this role during the Trump administration.

During previous administrations, the OSTP has focused on issues such as natural disasters, disease outbreaks, nanotechnology, and climate.

Dunn previously served as the administrator of EPA Region 1, which has jurisdiction over New England. Her office will oversee implementation of the Toxic Substances Control Act, which governs regulation of new and existing chemicals.

Her nomination was met with optimism from most both on and off Capitol Hill, as her actions as regional administrator at EPA, including efforts to address PFAS contamination, were well-regarded. The position at the top of OCSPP has been vacant since President Donald J. Trump took office. His first nominee, former chemical executive Michael Dourson, was met with bipartisan concern and he withdrew his nomination.