President Trump has nominated a former top Texas environmental regulator, who has argued that carbon dioxide is a harmless gas that should not be regulated, to be the White House senior adviser on environmental policy.
The former regulator, Kathleen Hartnett White, will lead the Council on Environmental Quality if confirmed by the Senate. Currently she serves as a senior fellow at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a free-market think tank. She previously served as the chairwoman of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality under Rick Perry, who was governor at the time and is now the Energy Secretary.
“Throughout her career, Kathleen has served Texans as a strong leader, in particular by ensuring that Texans have the energy and natural resources they need to prosper,” Brooke Rollins, president of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, said in a statement.
The appointment is the latest in a series of disputed environmental nominations. This week, Trump nominated Barry Lee Myers, chief executive of AccuWeather, a for-profit weather forecasting company, to lead the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Last week, the president nominated Andrew Wheeler, a coal lobbyist, to be deputy administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Environmentalists say Trump is stacking agencies with those who either reject the scientific consensus that human-made emissions cause climate change or lack the scientific qualifications for their jobs.
“Now you have a full house for the fossil fuel industry,” said Christy Goldfuss, who served as managing director of the White House environmental council under former President Barack Obama. She called White’s appointment particularly troubling, citing a piece she wrote titled, “Fossil Fuels: The Moral Case.” In it, White argued that labeling carbon dioxide emissions as a pollutant is “absurd” and asserted that it should be considered the “gas of life.”