Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, November 29, 2017

Contact: Stephanie Kurose, (203) 524-0562,

Climate-denying, Anti-wildlife Zealot One Step Closer to Top Environmental Job in Trump White House

WASHINGTON— In voting for the top environmental job in President Trump’s White House, Republican committee members today approved a Texas climate-denier who has opposed endangered species protections and said there’s a “moral case” for expanding fossil fuel development.

The vote, along party lines in the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, approved Trump’s nomination of Kathleen Hartnett White as the chair of the Council on Environmental Quality.

“Senate Republicans just rubber-stamped a Trump appointee who wouldn’t think twice about letting our nation’s most imperiled wildlife go extinct if it meant more money for polluters and special interests,” said Stephanie Kurose, endangered species policy specialist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “White’s extreme views and disturbing record should disqualify her from leading an agency whose conservation mission she fundamentally rejects.”

The head of the Council is a powerful White House position because it oversees environmental policy across all federal agencies. White’s nomination now goes to the full Senate for confirmation.

In her most recent position at the Texas Public Policy Foundation — a conservative think tank that has received huge donations from fossil fuel interests that include Koch Industries, ExxonMobil and Chevron — White has worked to undermine the Endangered Species Act and has opposed protections for species like Texas’ iconic golden-cheeked warblers.

She has also argued there is a “moral case” for expanding fossil fuel development regardless of carbon dioxide emissions and claimed that there is a “connection between the abolition of slavery and humanity’s first widespread use of energy from fossil fuels.”

“Giving White this job in the Trump administration would make her one of the most dangerous people in Washington,” said Kurose. “If she gets this job, she’ll have a profoundly destructive effect on our climate, wildlife, and even the air we breathe and the water we drink.”

Nearly 50 organizations have sent a letter to the committee opposing White’s nomination. The letter expressed support for the Endangered Species Act, which has saved more than 99 percent of species under its protection from extinction and put hundreds of species on the path to recovery.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.5 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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