Home > Uncategorized > Delaware River Basin Commission Urged To Remove Dupont Representative And Restrict Chemical Industry Influence On Toxics Advisory Committee

Delaware River Basin Commission Urged To Remove Dupont Representative And Restrict Chemical Industry Influence On Toxics Advisory Committee

Dupont Representative Has Huge Conflicts Of Interests

A Test Of DRBC’s Scientific Integrity


The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) announced that it is seeking a new “industry” representative to serve on the Commission’s “Toxics Advisory Committee” (TAC).

The current “industry” representative on the TAC is J. Bart Ruiter of The Chemours Company.

Chemours recently assumed the assets and liabilities of the Dupont corporation, so Chemours is essentially Dupont.

We previously attempted to block that Chemours spinoff or have US EPA impose regulatory conditions to protect the public interest, see:

Dupont/Chemours are major corporate toxic polluters to waters regulated by the DRBC, which creates an obvious and blatant set of problems, ranging from conflicts of interest to scientific integrity.

I just wrote DRBC Director Steven Tambini the below letter requesting that he remove Chemours from the TAC and establish new policies and procedures to prevent undue and/or improper industry influence on DRBC policies and decisions and promote scientific integrity.

Our recommendations are based on many years of direct first hand experience with Dupont, their scientific practices, and their corrupting influence on regulatory agencies, like DEP, for example, see this 2009 post:

Dear Director Tambini:

I understand that the DRBC is currently seeking an “industry” representative to serve on the Commission’s Toxics Advisory Committee. (see the below email to Ron Macgillivray, the Commission’s TAC liaison).

I understand that a representative of Chemours (Dupont) serves on the current TAC.

I am writing to request that you:

1) remove the current Chemours representative and

2) establish new policies and procedures to govern scientific conflicts of interest, scientific bias, ethics and disclosure requirements in order to ensure undue industry influence on the scientific deliberations of the TAC and the regulatory decisions of the Commission.

According to DRBC policy, you are authorized to remove a TAC member, “with or without cause”:

“All advisory committee members shall serve at the pleasure of the Executive Director and Commissioners and may be removed by either without cause.”


The bases for removal of Chemours is a result of: 1) significant material conflicts of interest, 2) scientific bias, and 3) the reasonable appearance of, or actual undue or improper influence on DRBC policy and regulatory decisions.

All these bases undermine public trust and confidence in the independence, objectivity, and scientific integrity of DRBC decisions.

This is especially the case because DRBC TAC policy explicitly empowers TAC members to advocate for policy:

“VII. Policy Issues

1. Members may identify policy issues for consideration by the Commission and offer motions to elevate these issues.”


It is highly inappropriate for an industry representative with an economic and legal stake in DRBC policy, science, and regulatory decisions to advocate for scientific and technical policies that may impact their interests. There is obvious potential for self dealing.

Here are some obvious facts in support of my requests:

1) As you know, Chemours assumed unknown legal, liability and regulatory obligations of the Dupont corporation.

2) As you also know, Chemours and Dupont are entities that are regulated by the DRBC, as a result of historic, present and future discharges of pollutants to waters regulated by the DRBC (e.g. via DRBC regulatory oversight and Clean Water Act NPDES, TMDL, stormwater, and remedial programs, as well as water allocation decisions).

As a result, Chemours has large financial and legal/regulatory interests in DRBC policy, scientific, and regulatory decisions, many of which are influenced by the TAC recommendations.

Given these facts, you must exercise your removal powers and remove Chemours from the TAC.

For many of the same reasons (and more), I strongly urge you to direct DRBC and TAC staff to develop new scientific integrity and ethics policies and procedures to avoid the appearance of or actual conflicts of interest and to promote transparency, accountability, and scientific and regulatory integrity.

Below, I provide links to source documents that might guide such policies.

I appreciate your timely reply.

Bill Wolfe

[End Note – I cited the following prior request I made to DRBC TAC liaison:

Hi Ron – quick questions regarding the DRBC announcement and search for an industry representative on the TAC, see:


1. The DRBC website shows that the industry representative is J. Bart Ruiter
The Chemours Company, FC, LC


Is Ruiter being replaced? If so, why? Has her/his term expired? Has she/he retired or resigned?Or is DRBC seeking to add an additional industry representative?

2. Is the DRBC TAC subject to the requirements of and have the equivalent of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) in terms of how the advisory committees conducts business, e.g. transparency and public participation policies


3. Does the DRBC TAC have scientific conflict of interest, bias and ethics policies, for example, like the DEP Science Advisory Board?


4. Chemours (previously Dupont) is a major regulated entity and source of toxic pollution discharges to waters regulated by DRBC.

I’ve long felt that those facts create conflicts of interest, scientific bias, and ethical issues that should disqualify them from serving in an advisory capacity to DRBC.

I’d appreciate your thoughts or the policy of DRBC regarding these concerns.


Bill Wolfe

[Update: 10/21/21 – The Commission has the same authority to implement my recommendations as ED Tambini, so I forwarded the request to the Commission via the DRBC press office.  As policymakers and ED Tambini’s boss, they should be the lead as well as be aware of what ED Tambini is doing. ~~~ end update]

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:
You must be logged in to post a comment.