White House to Pull Nominee to Head Environment Council

Kathleen Hartnett White

Texas Public Policy Foundation YouTube

A climate-change skeptic won't become President Trump's chief environmental aide after her nomination toiled in the Senate for months.

"Kathleen Hartnett-White is a conspiracy theorist and anti-science extremist who would threaten public health as the White House's top environmental advisor", Sara Chieffo, vice president of government affairs at the League of Conservation Voters, said in a statement.

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved White for the post on a party-line vote, but her nomination languished at the end of 2017.

When Oregon Democrat Jeff Merkley pressed her on her past comments at the confirmation hearing, Hartnett White responded, "I believe those words, senator, with all due respect, have been taken out of context".

"I'm not a scientist, but in my personal capacity, I have many questions that remain unanswered by current climate policy", Hartnett White said at her confirmation hearing.

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When Senator Ben Cardin, Democrat of Maryland, asked White if she believes climate change is real, she said "I am uncertain".

She was facing tough questions from both sides of the aisle after defending fossil fuels and questioning the extent to which humans contribute to climate change (E&E Daily, Jan. 19). "Carbon dioxide has none of the characteristics of a pollutant that could harm human health".

Sen. Thomas R. Carper of DE, the top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said in a statement Saturday evening that it was "abundantly clear very early on that heading up the Council on Environmental Quality wasn't the right job for Ms. White".

White could not be reached for comment.

The Washington Post first reported late on Saturday on the plans to withdraw Ms White's nomination, citing two unnamed administration officials who had been briefed on the matter.

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President Trump himself has called climate change a hoax and has laid the groundwork for withdrawing the US from the Paris climate accords.

White was one of several nominees and officials within the administration who've been accused of being cozy with the fossil fuel industry, including Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and EPA chief Scott Pruitt.

"White", Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), the top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said in a statement late Saturday.

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