Kathleen Hartnett White was selected to become the top environmental official in the White House by the Trump administration. However, the Senate declined to consider her nomination before they ended Congress’ current session, effectively blocking her confirmation and leaving the administration with the option to re-nominate her or start fresh.
White was tapped to head the Council on Environmental Quality, which coordinates environmental policy at the White House. According to The Washington Examiner, Democrats succeeded in doing a bit of legal maneuvering in order to stall White’s confirmation.
The Senate returned her nomination to the White House instead of tabling it, along with other 2018 pending nominations, as they didn’t have unanimous consent to table it. Therefore the confirmation process, which she was close to completing, must start from scratch, starting with a new vote in the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee.
Democrats aren’t supportive of White’s confirmation, as they say her views run contrary to “established science on climate change,” which makes her unfit to lead the Council. Tom Carper (Del.), the top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee, said White was proven to be “far too extreme to hold such important positions or be confirmed by the Senate.”
“Ms. White’s concerning record, unacceptable statements and shockingly poor performance before the EPW Committee last month have elicited serious concerns on both sides of the aisle and all across the country,” Carper reportedly said. “I am pleased that Ms. White’s nomination has been returned to the White House, and I am hopeful that President Trump will seize on the opportunity to start the new year and the new session of Congress off on the right foot by nominating a new and better qualified candidate to lead this consequential office.”
On Wednesday, White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley called the process a matter of “standard paperwork” resulting from “long-established Senate rules.” Ridley said the administration will “proceed as necessary with renominations in January.”
According to the Examiner:
White is former chairwoman of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality who last worked at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative think tank that has received funding from Koch Industries, Exxon Mobil, Chevron, and other energy companies.
She has said “carbon dioxide is not a pollutant” and once referred to former President Barack Obama’s climate change policies as “deluded and illegitimate.”
She also has said those who believe in climate change follow a “kind of paganism” for “secular elites.”
Democrats’ reluctance to confirm those they deem to be “extreme” lead to the withdrawal of another environmental nominee. Michael Dourson, who President Donald J. Trump chose to lead the Environmental Protection Agency’s chemical safety division, recently withdrew under pressure.
— Joshua Adam Siegel (@SiegelScribe) December 27, 2017
Update: Kathleen Hartnett White was one vote away from approval. Now, the Senate is starting the whole process over again, requiring Trump to re-nominate her https://t.co/T71ybrUiRp pic.twitter.com/RfvBjwhn2S
— grist (@grist) December 22, 2017
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