SETAC Globe - Environmental Quality Through Science
18 February 2016
Volume 17 Issue 2
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Senior Resource Group Member Spotlight: Phil Dorn

Matt Moore, Senior Resource Group

Phil Dorn

This month, the Senior Resource Group (SRG) is proud to highlight the accomplishments and career of Phil Dorn, who recently retired as Manager, Ecotoxicology and Global Discipline Lead, Shell Oil Company, in Houston, Texas.

For more than 33 years, Dorn served as leader of a global team of experts conducting studies of drilling exploration, operations, manufacturing locations, REACH legislation and chemical risk assessments, as well as collaborating in the development of enhanced environmental performance drilling fluids and upstream chemicals product stewardship management for drilling and hydraulic fracturing applications. He was responsible for research coordination and planning of regulatory-driven (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System [NPDES], Toxic Substances Control Act [TSCA]) environmental risk assessments of chemicals and manufacturing, exploration and production wastes. Research areas included ecological risk assessment of contaminated soils, effluent toxicity, ecosystem scaling (mesocosms), constructed wetlands and enhanced performance drilling fluids. Recent work has been in development of guidelines and data to support offshore discharges in French Guiana, Colombia, Australia, Brazil and Malaysia; Australian refinery operations risk assessment related to groundwater, sediment and surface water effects on ecosystems; and assessment of Russian territory oil spills on western gray whale feeding.

Dorn has published more than 70 papers and given over 100 presentations. Throughout his career, Dorn has been a strong proponent of science-based decision making and has been active in specific programs such as whole effluent toxicity (WET) testing and the use of risk assessments through advisory groups or steering committees with in SETAC. He has served the society for 33 years in various roles, including the board of directors, annual meeting chair, committee chair and technical contributor to numerous Pellston Workshops® with regulatory outcome-based results. Dorn co-chaired the WET Advisory Group for 10 years and founded the Soils Advisory Group. This past November, Dorn was honored as a SETAC Fellow. 

Dorn’s specific expertise is in environmental risk assessment, particularly of drilling fluids, cuttings discharge and produced waters; chemicals product stewardship principles; upstream chemicals assessment (fracking); risk assessment strategy on development project, including offshore development and heavy oil sands ecological solutions; environmental toxicology and ecological risk assessment of chemicals, discharges and site footprint activities. Since retiring in July 2015, Dorn has continued to serve the society on the SETAC North America Endowment Fund Committee and SRG. Dorn attributes his successful career at Shell Oil Company in part to SETAC and its global mission. For this reason, he is passionate about giving back to the society.

The mission of the SRG is to identify, cultivate and mentor future SETAC leaders as well as document the society’s history and evolution of environmental science. If you are interested in becoming a member of the SRG or if you simply want more information about the group, please contact Laura Swanson.

Author’s contact information: matt.moore@ars.usda.gov

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