This month, Donald Trump announced Kathleen Hartnett White, currently a senior fellow at the Texas Public Policy Foundation and a former environmental regulator, as his nominee to head the Council on Environmental Quality.
Before accepting her most recent position, according to Administration officials, White served as chairman and commissioner of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) for six years.
Rick Perry, another Texan working for the White House and the most recent former governor, appointed White to her current position.
According to the New York Times, White believes carbon dioxide is a harmless gas and doesn’t require regulation. In a 2014 paper written for the Texas Public Policy Foundation, she reportedly described it as the “gas of life.”
Mr. Trump also recently nominated a coal lobbyist for head of the EPA, as well as the chief executive of a for-profit weather company for the top job at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
These appointments are leaving some concerned the nation’s leading environmental agencies are becoming stacked with people who refuse to acknowledge evidence for climate change.
For example, White reportedly once called climate change a “dogma,” comparing it to a fake religion and saying there is “little to do with science.”
Conservatives, like Eli Lehrer, president of the conservative think tank R Street Institute, say they are hopeful White will work to repeal “burdensome” legislation regarding environmental regulations, such as the Clean Power Plan’s regulations on power plant emissions.
“Her instincts on working to remove burdensome regulation, I expect, are largely right,” Lehrer said in an interview.
However, he did not yield entirely:
“I don’t think that she’s right on climate science.”
If cleared by the Senate, White will occupy one of the top environmental regulation positions in the nation.