Sending Office: Honorable Colleen Hanabusa
Sent By:
Robert.Zane@mail.house.gov

        Request for Signature(s)

Current Co-signers: Bordallo, Carbajal, Tsongas 

DEADLINE IS COB WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 25

Dear Colleague,

On October 13, 2017, President Trump nominated Ms. Kathleen Hartnett-White to chair the administration’s Council on Environmental Quality.  This position coordinates environmental and energy policies across the government; however, Hartnett-White has denied
scientific evidence proving that carbon dioxide is harmful for the environment, is known to be sympathetic to the fossil fuel industry, and has spoken against energy diversification efforts including solar energy and carbon capture.   

The American people need a Council on Environmental Quality that objectively reviews and considers scientific facts and evidence to formulate effective policy.  We invite your bosses to join ours in asking President Trump to rescind Ms. Hartnett-White’s
nomination and put forth a more qualified nominee.

Here are some articles highlighting Ms. Hartnett-White’s nomination:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/10/13/trump-taps-climate-skeptic-for-top-white-house-environmental-post/?utm_term=.3c19ed887cb7

http://www.businessinsider.com/kathleen-hartnett-white-environmental-nominee-says-carbon-dioxide-isnt-a-pollutant-2017-10

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/04/donald-trump-kathleen-hartnett-white-climate-skeptic-job-237172

************************************

October XX, 2017

The President

The White House

Washington, DC 20500

 

Dear Mr. President:

We write to express our concerns with your nomination of Ms. Kathleen Hartnett-White to head the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality.

The Council on Environmental Quality was created by President Richard M. Nixon to coordinate the development of environmental policies and initiatives among the federal agencies.  The Chair of this Council, who is also the chief environmental advisor to
the President, should rely on well-supported science and facts when implementing decisions that impact the safety and well-being of American citizens.  Ms. Hartnett-White, however, has only proven to be a friend of the fossil fuel industry while being actively
defiant of well-supported science.  As such, we question her qualifications to head the Council on Environmental Quality.    

As an example of Ms. Hartnett-White’s dismissal of science, she is on record as denying the negative impacts associated with the growing levels of carbon dioxide on our planet.  In her June 2014 paper, “Fossil Fuels: The Moral Case,” Ms. Hartnett-White
summarily concludes:

Global warming alarmists are misleading the public about CO2 emissions.  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.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA)’s increasing characterization of man-made CO2 as ‘dirty carbon pollution’ is absurd.

And contrary to claims of global warming alarmists from inside and outside federal agencies, the world has become less vulnerable to extreme weather events. [1] 

Science has proven that too much carbon dioxide is a dangerous thing.  NASA, for example, continually recognizes carbon dioxide as a contributor to global warming and climate change:

While rising carbon dioxide concentrations in the air can be beneficial for plants, it is also the chief culprit of climate change. The gas, which traps heat in Earth’s atmosphere, has been increasing since the industrial age due to the burning of oil, gas,
coal and wood for energy and is continuing to reach concentrations not seen in at least 500,000 years. The impacts of climate change include global warming, rising sea levels, melting glaciers and sea ice as well as more severe weather events.[2]

Thus, even with our plants absorbing some carbon dioxide, half of the atmosphere’s carbon dioxide remains,[3]contributing to increased global temperatures,
rising sea levels, melting glaciers, and other changes to our planet’s ecological systems.  During a recent study, NASA found that the Earth experienced the largest annual increase in atmosphere carbon dioxide concentration seen in at least 2,000 years, and
the levels of concentration are only expected to rise.[4]

Ms. Hartnett-White is known to be sympathetic to the fossil fuel industry.  At an event hosted by Americans for Prosperity, she stated that chemicals released from burning fossil fuels have “no impact on human health even at very high levels.”[5] 
However, the National Research Council, the operating arm of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, concluded that chemicals and byproducts of fossil fuel use have negatively affected air quality, contributed to the spread of diseases,
and impacted our ability to produce food, clothing, and shelter in light of changing weather.[6] 

Ms. Hartnett-White’s unwillingness to objectively consider peer-reviewed reports and studies in the energy community also risks our country’s future investments in energy diversification and supply.  In a 2016 interview with the Orlando Sentinel, Ms. Hartnett-White
disparaged alternate energy sources as “largely useless for tackling the main power challenges for the world’s poor” and opined that there are “no commercially feasible technologies to directly reduce CO2 emissions.”[7] 

As of May 2017, over 260,000 people work in the solar industry in the United States[8] and employment in solar and wind energy jobs increased by 25 percent
and 32 percent, respectively, from the previous year.[9]  Renewable energy remains one of the fastest growing job sectors of our economy.  The growth of
these industries should be supported at the highest levels to complement existing and emerging energy infrastructure.  To dismiss the progress of these industries is not only short-sighted, but detrimental to our economy. 

The American people need a Council on Environmental Quality that objectively reviews and considers scientific facts and evidence to formulate effective policy that will impact the health of our planet and our lives, in a positive way, for years to come. 
In the wake of natural disasters such as the hurricanes that ravaged the Caribbean and Southeast United States, as well as the wildfires in California, it is clear that our planet’s climate is changing.  Absent leadership that recognizes these changes and
is able to take immediate action, millions of lives and our nation’s economic security will be negatively impacted in the immediate future. 

As such, we urge you to rescind Ms. Hartnett-White’s nomination and put forth a nominee who considers scientific evidence and the health, safety and well-being of the planet and the American people.

Sincerely,

 


[1] Kathleen Hartnett-White, “Fossil Fuels: The Moral Case,” Texas Public Policy Foundation, June 2014, available at https://www.texaspolicy.com/library/doclib/2014-06-RR03-FossilFuelsTheMoralCase-KathleenWhite-ACEE.pdf

[2] Samson Reiny, “Carbon Dioxide Fertilization Greening Earth, Study Finds,” NASA, April 26, 2016, https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2016/carbon-dioxide-fertilization-greening-earth

[3] Dwayne Brown and Alan Buis, “NASA Pinpoints Cause of Earth’s Recent Record Carbon Dioxide Spike,” NASA, October 12, 2017, https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-pinpoints-cause-of-earth-s-recent-record-carbon-dioxide-spike

[4] Reiny, “Carbon Dioxide Fertilization Greening Earth, Study Finds.”

[5] Kathleen Hartnett-White, “Extreme Power Abuse,” posted by Americans for Prosperity, November 2011, https://vimeo.com/31646143.  

[6] “Advancing the Science of Climate Change,” National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, 2010 available at https://www.nap.edu/catalog/12782/advancing-the-science-of-climate-change.

[7] Michael Joe Murphy, “A defense of fossil fuel: Renewable energy doesn’t hold a candle to it,” Orlando Sentinel, October 7, 2016, http://www.orlandosentinel.com/opinion/os-ed-oil-qa-front-burner-2-20161007-story.html.

[8] Matt Egan, “Solar Jobs Growing 17 times faster than US Economy,” CNN, May 25, 2017, http://money.cnn.com/2017/05/24/news/economy/solar-jobs-us-coal/index.html.

[9] 2017 U.S. Energy and Employment Report, Department of Energy, January 2017, https://energy.gov/downloads/2017-us-energy-and-employment-report.

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information:Energy, Environment, Government, Natural Resources, Science

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