Controversial EPA nominee bows out; group of Indiana mothers relieved

Johnson County families spoke out against EPA nominee Michael Dourson in Washington D.C., Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017. (photo courtesy FredWatkins.com)
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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - The President's pick to lead the EPA Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Office now says he doesn't want the job.

Michael Dourson has withdrawn his name from consideration, according to numerous reports out of Washington.

Michael Dourson
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In June, 13 Investigates reported on a group of Central Indiana mothers who went to the nation's capital to oppose Dourson's selection.

WTHR first introduced you to Stacie Davidson and Kari Rhinehart as part of our 13 Investigates series "Desperate for Answers." The series highlighted the high pediatric cancer rate in Johnson County where contaminated wells had been shut down.

Since then, the women have taken their push for answers and better legislation nationally. They are co-founders of the group "If It Was Your Child," and joined over 100 organizations including the Environmental Defense Fund to protest against Dourson in Washington.

Critics say Dourson has a frightening history of supporting less protective chemical safety standards and has worked as a toxicologist to defend major chemical companies.

"More than anything we are relieved. This is definitely a victory!" Davidson told 13 Investigates.

Her stepson Zane just finished three years of successful treatment for Leukemia.

"Our children deserve better and someone that cares about them," Davidson added.

Emma Grace Findley, 13 (family photo)
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"Seeing the devastating effects [the carcinogen] TCE has had on our community, it was unfathomable to think we could be forced to accept even more TCE contamination as Mr. Dourson has proven he would do with his track record," Rhinehart explained.

Her daughter Emma Grace Findley died from Glioblastoma, a rare brain cancer, in December 2014. She was 13 years old.

"We can only hope that President Trump will make a better choice when he makes a nomination for the EPA," Rhinehart said.

North Carolina's two Republican senators said last month they would join Democrats and vote against Dourson's nomination.