WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, announced that he would object to any unanimous consent agreement that would allow the nomination of Kathleen Hartnett White to serve as Director of the White House Council on Environmental Quality to be held over into the second session of the 115th Congress.
At the close of the first session, or first year, of a congress, Senate rules require all unconfirmed nominations pending before the Senate be sent back to the White House. The president may re-nominate any of these individuals once the next Senate session begins. Traditionally, the Senate agrees to a unanimous consent request that allows any number of pending nominees to be held over into the next session so consideration may continue without re-nomination. Senator Carper’s objection would send Kathleen Hartnett White’s nomination, which was opposed by every minority member of the EPW Committee, back to President Trump and give the White House an opportunity to nominate another, better-qualified candidate for the position.
“Throughout her nomination process, Kathleen Hartnett White has confirmed what her record clearly shows: her views are extreme, her words are staggeringly inappropriate and her disrespect for science and our nation’s chief environmental laws is a danger to public health,” said Senator Carper. “When given the chance to clarify her confounding performance at her confirmation hearing through numerous questions for the record submitted by every minority member of the EPW Committee, Ms. White chose instead to copy and paste the work of other nominees and, in other instances, to double down on some of her most concerning stances. The Senate’s rejection of Dr. Dourson should serve as a lesson – unqualified or controversial nominees will not simply be rubber-stamped by the Senate. Let’s start the new year off with a clean slate and allow President Trump the opportunity to nominate a leader for the Council on Environmental Quality who takes environmental laws and public health protections seriously.”
Kathleen Hartnett White is one of the most controversial nominees to come before the EPW Committee this year. She has consistently and repeatedly expressed radical views on environmental protection, climate science and the science underpinning fundamental public health protections. She has contradicted the accepted views of the health effects of air pollution, saying that ‘people do not die of particulate matter levels,’ that ozone isn’t harmful ‘unless you put your mouth over the tailpipe of a car for eight hours a day,’ and that the ‘Clean Air Act no longer provides an effective, scientifically credible, or economically viable means of air quality management.’ She has compared the views of those who believe that human activity is causing climate change to those of ‘pagans’ and ‘communists.’ She has suggested that policies to reduce global warming pollution could lead to extreme poverty and even concentration camps. She has said – several times – that fossil fuels ended slavery.
When given the opportunity to clarify her past statements in questions for the record submitted by minority members of the EPW Committee, Ms. White submitted at least 18 separate responses that were copied verbatim from responses previously submitted to the committee by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation, Bill Wehrum. When minority members asked Ms. White to submit new and original answers that represented her own views, Ms. White chose not to, instead sending a dismissive response to the Ranking Member.