For starters, Kathleen Hartnett White has made repeated statements that make her completely unacceptable to Democrats.
Before President Trump picked her for a top post at the Council for Environmental Quality, White wrote that “carbon dioxide is not a pollutant.” She declared climate change “a kind of paganism” adhered to only by “secular elites.” And she argued at length that fossil fuels helped “to abolish slavery.”
Obviously, Democrats are champing at the bit. “I just want to ask her ‘did you really say those things?’” Delaware Sen. Tom Carper told Politico. A letter signed by environmental groups from Public Citizen to the Sierra Club roundly declared her “unfit to hold the highest environmental post in the government to advise the president on the most pressing environmental issues our nation faces.”
Senate Democrats will do everything to stop her nomination and that’s not even half her problems. The real risk to Trump’s nominee comes from Republicans, namely Sens. Deb Fischer of Nebraska and Joni Ernst of Iowa.
Those two senators come from corn-heavy states and they don’t much like White’s opinions on ethanol. When asked whether she’d support White, Fischer told reporters she was “withholding judgement right now.”
But of course she is being coy. Along with Ernst, Fischer made the administration squeal by holding up EPA nominees to ensure the agency doesn’t readjust the Renewable Fuels Standard. There’s no way they decide to let a nominee out of committee who declared ethanol “counterproductive and ethically dubious.”
If they want to torch her nomination over ethanol, they could easily head her off in committee. It wouldn’t be the first time Republican senators shut down a Trump nominee.