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Trump Nominates Climate Denier to Lead Environment Policy Board

"It is time for Senators to draw the line and say no to this nominee."

SCIENCE AF STAFF
13 OCT 2017
 

On Thursday, President Trump nominated climate denier Kathleen Hartnett-White to lead the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), a federal environment policy board.

As chairwoman of CEQ, Harnett-White will be responsible for leading a team that will develop and recommend national policies to the President in order to "promote the improvement of environmental quality and meet the Nation's goals."

 

Hartnett-White has rich history in environmental policy…but not in a good way. She is a former fellow for energy and environment issues at the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF), which is, incidentally, funded by fossil fuel companies.

In the past, she has often placed industry interest before public health. For instance, as a former chairwoman of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Hartnett-White pushed for reduced ozone standards, approved pollution-intensive coal plants and reduced fines for companies that violated state laws.

It must also be noted that Hartnett-White is a passionate climate denier. She has argued that the overwhelming acceptance of climate change is "more like the dogmatic claims of ideologues and clerics than scientific conclusions" and has described renewable energy as "unreliable and parasitic."

She has even go so far as to claim that carbon dioxide "has no adverse environmental impacts on people."

"Whether emitted from the human use of fossil fuels or as a natural (and necessary) gas in the atmosphere surrounding the earth, carbon dioxide has none of the attributes of a pollutant," she wrote in a 2014 paper, where she argued that climate change alarmists are misleading the public about emissions.

 

Naturally, many scientists and environmental organizations are concerned by this appointment.

"The Council on Environmental Quality has a critical role in making sure federal policy is carried out in accordance with laws that protect our health, safety and the environment," said Ken Kimmell, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

"Her record and public statements place her far out of the mainstream, and raise grave doubts about her fitness for this position."

This isn't the first time that Trump has floated Hartnett-White's name. In fact, last year, Trump briefly considered appointing Hartnett-White to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), but he ultimately picked Scott Pruitt.

"We have already seen the damage that officials such as Pruitt can cause when they are allowed to head agencies whose missions they oppose," said Kimmell.

"We do not need yet another fox to guard the henhouse. It is time for Senators to draw the line and say no to this nominee."

If the Senate confirms Hartnett-White's nomination, she will become one of several climate deniers that Trump has successfully appointed to office.