By Steve Horn • Friday, October 13, 2017 – 09:32
President Donald Trump, as first reported by EnergyWire’s Hannah Northey on Twitter and as stated in a White House press release, has named Kathleen Hartnett-White to chair the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ).
Hartnett-White, as previously reported by DeSmog, is a prominent climate change denier and former Chairman and Commissioner of the Texas Council on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) under then-Texas Governor Rick Perry. Perry now heads up the U.S. Department of Energy and is reported to have advocated for her to run CEQ. She is also an outspoken advocate of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) and of exporting oil and gas to the global market.
Long seen as the presumptive front-runner to take the CEQ role, Hartnett-White also worked on President Trump’s presidential campaign on his Economic Advisory Team. And her name was once floated to head up the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as well, currently led by Scott Pruitt.
The head of the CEQ coordinates interagency science, climate, and environmental policy, and is tasked to oversee things like the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review process and agencies’ compliance with that law. The CEQ as an entity itself was actually a creation of NEPA, mandated by that law.
Though CEQ oversees the NEPA process, it remains unclear how seriously Hartnett-White will take the NEPA review process, for decades seen as a bedrock of U.S. environmental regulation since NEPA became law in 1970.