President Donald Trump named Kathleen Hartnett White as chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.
White has been a member of Trump's Economic Advisory Council and is a distinguished senior fellow-in-residence and director of the Armstrong Center for Energy & the Environment at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based conservative think tank. She served as chairman and commissioner of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality from 2001 to 2007.
She has been an advocate for hydraulic fracturing practices and was an outspoken critic of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency during the Obama years. Trump considered White to lead that agency before ultimately selecting Scott Pruitt for the job. White has argued that the link between human activity and a changing climate has not yet been settled by science and said in an opinion piece for the Austin American-Statesman that carbon dioxide "is not a pollutant." Trump's "America First Energy Plan" cites estimates from a book coauthored by White called "Fueling Freedom: Exposing the Mad War on Energy."
The Council on Environmental Quality oversees the implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act through guidance and interpreting regulations that implement the law's procedural requirements, according to the White House. It also reviews and approves federal agency NEPA procedures, handles emergency situations related to NEPA compliance and helps resolve disputes between federal and other government agencies and members of the public.
The Senate will need to confirm White's appointment.