Democrats on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee said Tuesday that it appears Kathleen Hartnett White, nominated for the top White House environmental post, plagiarized some answers to their written questions.
In at least 18 instances, the senators say, White’s responses to questions included “verbatim” language used by other Trump administration officials when they were nominees before the committee, including EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and Bill Wehrum, the agency’s recently confirmed assistant administrator for air and radiation.
“We are troubled that it appears you have cut and pasted from the written answers of other nominees in your responses to questions that were submitted to you,” the senators, led by Tom Carper of Delaware, the top Democrat on the committee, wrote in a letter Tuesday to White.
The Environment and Public Works Committee advanced White’s nomination along a party-line vote late last month. But she is strongly opposed by Democrats, and White has not been voted on by the full Senate.
Democrats say White holds views contrary to established science on climate change that make her unfit to lead the Council on Environmental Quality, which coordinates environmental policy at the White House.
Hartnett White is former chairwoman of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality who last worked at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative think tank that has received funding from Koch Industries, Exxon Mobil, Chevron and other energy companies.
She has said "carbon dioxide is not a pollutant" and once referred to former President Barack Obama's climate change policies as "deluded and illegitimate."
She also has said those who believe in climate change follow a "kind of paganism" for "secular elites.”
White reaffirmed her views to the committee, touting carbon dioxide as “necessary for life on Earth,” in her responses to questions from members.