Kathleen Hartnett White, nominee to head the White House’s environmental office, has fired back at Democratic lawmakers accusing her of plagiarizing written responses to confirmation questions.
“[I]t should not be a surprise that I share the views of my fellow nominees on a number of issues. In preparing my responses, I sought to reiterate positions already stated that are reflective of my own,” White wrote in response to Senate Democrats.
Democrats on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works accused White of plagiarizing answers in written responses from “received from EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, and EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation, Bill Wehrum,” they wrote on Tuesday.
Democrats claim to have found 18 instances White “cut and pasted from the written answers of other nominees,” and asked her to respond. President Donald Trump nominated White to head the White House Council on Environmental Quality.
She fired back, saying two Obama administration officials also used the same verbatim answers to written questions during the confirmation process.
“My understanding is that this is not unusual and was the case for CEQ Chair Nancy Sutley and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson in responses provided to you and other senators in their confirmation proceedings,” White wrote in her response letter, a copy of which was obtained by Axios.
Lisa Jackson headed EPA from 2009 to 2013, when she resigned amid uproar over her use of a secret email account. Nancy Sutley headed CEQ from 2009 to 2014. After stepping down, she became chief sustainability office at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.
Nominees often work with the White House and other federal officials to answer questions in a way that reflects the administration’s policies. It’s not surprising parts of answers are shared between nominees.
Democrats oppose White’s nomination on the grounds she’s a global warming skeptic who worked at a conservative think tank that’s taken money from the fossil fuels industry. Lawmakers grilled White during a November confirmation hearing.
White is an unabashed proponent of fossil fuels, and has contested the notion that carbon dioxide is a “pollutant,” which the Obama EPA determined in 2009. Carbon dioxide is essential to plant life and has actually greened much of the world, she’s argued.
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