"Extreme" Climate Change Denier Picked To Head White House Environmental Council


Robin Andrews

Science & Policy Writer

Science is under constant attack by the Trump administration. Orham Cam/Shutterstock

You know the drill by now: The President’s picked someone to head up a major federal scientific agency who at best is not a scientist, and who at worst is a furious climate change denier.

This time, the POTUS has picked someone to lead the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), which coordinates the government agencies’ responses to environmental efforts. So where does the latest nominee, Kathleen Hartnett-White, fall on the scale of anti-scientific credentials?


Right now, she’s a senior fellow at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, which is funded by Koch, the Heartland Institute, and ExxonMobil, among others – not exactly the sorts of funders that are known for promoting clear and obfuscated climate change science.

Previously, she served as the Chair and Commissioner of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), the state-level version of her potential future job. Under her command, the TCEQ was found to repeatedly fail to adequately prosecute polluters for exceeding safety limits.

Incidentally, her time at TCEQ was under the auspices of one Rick Perry. Need we remind you that Perry, the head of the Department of Energy, recently said the fossil fuel industry is actually saving lives – something, incidentally, that Hartnett-White happens to agree with.

Does Hartnett-White at least have a science background though? No, of course she doesn’t. It seems that she’s dabbled in law, has a couple of degrees from Stanford University in Humanities and Religion, and attended a doctoral program focusing on East Asian religions – exactly what a key, science-driven agency needs, apparently.


Her career has featured plenty of attacks on clean energy drives, which she sees as primarily an attack on the fossil fuel industry – not, as most see it, an attempt to save millions of lives from smog and weather extremes.

What does one of her predecessors think of her nomination? Not good things, that’s for sure. Speaking to ThinkProgress, Christy Goldfuss, the CEQ managing director under the Obama administration, said that Hartnett-White’s views are so "extreme" that "it’s almost as if she falls in kind of a flat earth category.”

“Her number one task is to rip and throw out the environmental laws that this whole country has come to accept as standards and norms.”

So far, NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Department of Agriculture, the Department of the Interior, and the Department of Energy are all controlled by people that are highly skeptical of climate change and federal-scale efforts to curb pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.


The top levels of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), of course, are infested with such nefarious ne’er-do-wells. Now the White House is welcoming in industry-funded science-denying acolytes too.


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