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Trump's Top Environmental Nominee Has an Application Full of Plagiarized Answers

Cut and paste.

SCIENCE AF STAFF
13 DEC 2017
 

Kathleen Hartnett White is Trump's nominee for the top White House environmental post, and a controversial figure in today's political scene.

Not only is Hartnett White a fierce climate denier, she has also admitted she does not have "any kind of expertise or even much layman study of the ocean dynamics and the climate change issue."

 

And now, she has been accused of plagiarism.

It's hardly unusual for a Trump nominee to spout the same overused conservative talking points - especially when it comes to climate change. But Hartnett White has taken this idea further than most.

On Tuesday, Democrats on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee said there were 18 cases of plagiarism in Hartnett White's written answers to their questions. 18!

"We are troubled that it appears you have cut and pasted from the written answers of other nominees in your responses to questions that were submitted to you," the senators wrote in a letter.

They said her responses included "verbatim" responses from EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and EPA Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation Bill Wehrum. Both of whom - it must be noted - have denied the science underlying human-caused climate change.

Screen Shot 2017 12 13 at 10.29.10 amSenate EPW / Via epw.senate.gov

The letter provides two examples of plagiarism in Hartnett White's responses.

When asked about the EPA's Mercury and Air Toxics (MATS) rule, she wrote:

"The quantifiable monetized benefit of the HAP reductions predicted to occur under MATSA measured only a few million dollars. I understand that EPA has recalculated the benefits attributable to MATS in response to the Supreme Court remand. I am not familiar with the new estimates… "

 

Which is exactly the same response Mr. Wehrum gave when answering a similar question.

In addition, when she was asked about climate change, she stated:

"If confirmed, I will work to ensure that any regulatory actions are based on the most up to date and objective scientific data, including the ever-evolving understanding of the impact that increasing greenhouse gases have on our changing climate."

Which is the precise wording Mr. Pruitt used when responding to a similar question.

The Committee has already advanced Hartnett White's nomination, but the full Senate has yet to give their approval.

If confirmed, Hartnett White will be responsible for leading a team that will recommend and develop national policies to the White House in order to "promote the improvement of environmental quality."

But Democrats are concerned by Hartnett White's lack of scientific expertise and her extreme opinions, which stray too far from mainstream science on important environmental issues, like climate change and pollution.

Now, after giving 18 responses that are not her own, the nomination seems even more questionable.

Concerned Democrats closed the letter by demanding Hartnett White explain why she copy-and-pasted her answers. Plus, they also asked she provide new ones.

Hartnett White has not yet responded.