President Donald Trump may tap a vocal critic of climate change science to serve as the highest-ranking environmental official in the White House.
Kathleen Hartnett White, who says carbon emissions are harmless and should not be regulated, is a top contender to run the Council on Environmental Quality, the White House’s in-house environmental policy shop, sources close to the administration told POLITICO.
White House officials brought White in for an interview late last month, according to a person familiar with the hiring process, and Trump met with White at Trump Tower in November when she was under consideration to lead the Environmetal Protection Agency.
In an interview with POLITICO in September, White proposed establishing a “blue ribbon commission” to relitigate climate science, underscoring her unorthodox belief that the science showing human-induced climate change is unsettled.
The commission, she said, would develop an “alternative scientific methodology” to the IPCC, whose usefulness she said has “reached its peak.”
If nominated, White would likely be an advocate within the administration of reopening the foundation of Obama’s climate change agenda: EPA’s 2009 “endangerment finding,” a scientific conclusion that greenhouse gases constitute a threat to public health or welfare.
Trump told an industry-backed think tank last year that he will “review” the endangerment finding, a potentially difficult task given the scientific consensus on the issue. Any withdrawal of the finding would be challenged by environmentalists in court.