Environment

Trump's Pick for Top Environmental Job Has Said Some Really Nutty Things About Climate Change

Kathleen Hartnett White's comments are pretty extreme, even for a fossil fuel-loving climate denier.

Photo Credit: Texas Tech University

From EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to Energy Secretary Rick Perry, President Trump has filled his administration with a rogue's gallery of fossil fuel-loving climate deniers. Now he's set to sign up another: Kathleen Hartnett White.

Last week, Trump nominated Hartnett White, a longtime critic of climate change policy, to head the White House Council on Environmental Quality, which advises the administration on environmental policy. If she is confirmed by the Senate, America will have yet another fox in charge of the henhouse, putting the global environment further at risk.

On Thursday, CNN reported on some particularly incredible remarks she made last year during an interview on a conservative online talk show. Hartnett White claimed that environmental leaders were using climate policy "to undermine the system of economic growth and industrialization."

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She added, "There's a real dark side of the kind of paganism—the secular elites' religion now being, evidently, global warming."

Listen:

A staunch supporter of the fossil fuel industry who served as a Texas environmental regulator, Hartnett White is currently on the staff at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative think tank that fights environmental regulations and clean energy policy. 

While at the TPPF, she was tasked to "explain the forgotten moral case for fossil fuels," arguing that carbon dioxide "makes life possible on the earth and naturally fertilizes plant growth."

"Whether emitted from the human use of fossil fuels or as a natural (and necessary) gas in the atmosphere surrounding the earth, carbon dioxide has none of the attributes of a pollutant," she wrote in a 2014 paper, in which she argued that "global warming alarmists are misleading the public about carbon dioxide emissions."

In a tweet, Earthjustice called on followers not to let the "frack first, ask questions later" climate denier "undermine science."

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Reynard Loki is a senior writing fellow and the editor and chief correspondent for Earth | Food | Life, a project of the Independent Media Institute. He previously served as the environment, food and animal rights editor at AlterNet and as a reporter for Justmeans/3BL Media covering sustainability and corporate social responsibility. He was named one of FilterBuy’s Top 50 Health & Environmental Journalists to Follow in 2016. His work has been published by Salon, Truthout, BillMoyers.com, EcoWatch, Truthdig, National Memo, Green America, Regeneration International, Revelist, Resilience and BlackBook, among others. Reynard is also the co-founder of MomenTech, an experimental production studio based in New York and Prague that has presented dozens of projects around the world exploring intersections of culture, history, politics, science and sports. Follow him on Twitter: @reynardloki or email him at [email protected]ind.media.