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Trump Taps Climate Skeptic For Top White House Environmental Post

Denver Post

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump on Thursday tapped Kathleen Hartnett-White, a former chairman of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, to head a key White House office that coordinates environmental and energy policies across the government.

The nomination of Hartnett-White to chair the administration’s Council on Environmental Quality is not entirely surprising – she previously had been considered to head the Environmental Protection Agency – but nevertheless is sure to infuriate environmental advocates.

Like other members of the Trump administration, she has long questioned the overwhelming scientific consensus on human-fueled climate change and has criticized the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a volunteer group of climate scientists whose findings are considered the gold standard of climate science. And she has described efforts to combat global warming as little more than an attack on the fossil fuel industry.

“I am not at all persuaded by the IPCC science that we are standing on some precipice,” Hartnett-White told The Washington Post last October, referring to the urgency to combat global warming. “We’re not standing on a cliff from which we are about to fall off.”

Hartnett-White currently is a senior fellow at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, an organization whose board of directors includes oil industry executives and GOP activists. Koch Industries, an oil-based conglomerate that has funded a variety of libertarian political groups, was among the group’s broad range of original donors.

From her post at the foundation, Hartnett-White often has challenged the conclusions of international experts on climate change science, as well as criticized the Supreme Court’s 2007 ruling that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are pollutants that can be regulated under the Clean Air Act.

“I take issue with that,” she told the Post last fall. “Carbon dioxide has none of the characteristics of a pollutant that could harm human health.”

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