Kathleen Hartnett White, a climate change denier, was nominated by Trump to lead the Council on Environmental Quality. Photo: Texas Public Policy FoundationBy Hannah Northey
13 October 2017

(E&E News) – President Trump's nomination of a former Texas regulator who's touted the benefits of carbon dioxide to lead the Council on Environmental Quality is being praised by industry but derided by environmentalists as "creative evil" and a "nightmare scenario."

If confirmed by the Senate, Kathleen Hartnett White would lead a short-handed White House office that's traditionally been seen as an environmental watchdog on Pennsylvania Avenue.

"She will more aggressively go after dismantling all environmental laws — that's the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, that's the National Environmental Policy Act, and the Endangered Species Act," said Christy Goldfuss, who led CEQ in the Obama administration. "It's creative evil, is what someone told me today."

Of particular concern to environmentalists is Hartnett White's assertion that climate change is not a danger to society and that recent hurricanes, raging wildfires, and droughts are not a sign of increasingly severe weather, as well as her advocacy around the use of fossil fuels as a "moral case." [more]

Nomination of climate skeptic to head White House environmental office draws strong reactions


By Naveena Sadasivam
30 November 2016

(Texas Observer) – Kathleen Hartnett White’s vote to allow construction of a new coal plant 150 miles south of Dallas was the final straw for environmental groups. Mayors and officials in 24 cities and counties opposed the Oak Grove coal plant. Residents of Robertson County took out ads in the paper and held protests opposing it. And administrative law judges, who reviewed the plant’s air permit, told the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) that the plant’s pollution controls couldn’t “reasonably be expected to work.”

But in the summer of 2007, then-TCEQ Chairman White argued that Oak Grove’s owner, TXU Corp., was under no obligation to prove its pollution controls would work. The commission voted 2-1 to issue the air permit. For longtime environmentalists in the state, White’s vote typified her attitude on environmental issues — side with industry no matter what.

In the decade since the permit for Oak Grove was approved, coal has become uneconomical and the plant’s parent company, Energy Future Holdings, is now desperately trying to shed its tax obligations. White should have seen the writing on the wall for coal and listened to the researchers and citizens who warned her against greenlighting a coal plant, said Neil Carman, a former TCEQ inspector who now works for the Sierra Club.

“She acted like everything was rosy,” said Carman.

The Oak Grove vote was among the final decisions White made as chairman of TCEQ, which she led from 2003 to 2007. By then, environmental groups, tired of White’s industry-friendly practices, purchased a billboard near TCEQ headquarters in Austin urging then-Governor Rick Perry to “Get White Out!” and campaigned to ensure she wasn’t reappointed to the commission.

During her time at TCEQ, White was consistent in her positions: Trying to curb carbon emissions is “futile,” renewables are “a false hope” and “carbon dioxide has none of the attributes of a pollutant.” Among her stranger beliefs is that “fossil fuels dissolved the economic justification for slavery” and that the United Nations has “revealed themselves” as advocating for communism as “the only system of government which effectively would reduce carbon dioxide.” [more]

Texas Environmentalists: Kathleen Hartnett White Would be ‘Disaster’ as EPA Chief

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