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THOMAS PYLE: Biden Bends The Knee To Radical Climate Activists Yet Again

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Thomas Pyle President, Institute for Energy Research
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The Biden administration has withdrawn the nomination of Ann Carlson for head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

In spite of this, she remains in the agency as the chief counsel and acting director. Though he was a senator for 36 years, apparently now that he is president, Joe Biden couldn’t care less about the advice and consent role of the Senate, especially for his radical climate activists. Carlson should be removed from NHTSA immediately. (RELATED: DANIEL TURNER: Radical Green Groups Are Attacking American Energy Independence At The Source)

Nominated in February, Carlson had faced immediate bipartisan opposition because her professional background is climate change policy and activism, not highway safety. Her bipartisan Senate critics argued she was being nominated to turn NHTSA into a climate change regulatory body, rather than an agency which seeks to “save lives, prevent injuries and reduce economic costs due to road traffic crashes, through education, research, safety standards and enforcement activity” as the agency’s mission statement reads.

The suspicions of Carlson’s bipartisan opponents are not the product of their imaginations. Carlson herself made clear the administration’s purpose in hiring her at NHTSA as general counsel in a series of e-mails and records:

  • “The agency is in charge of climate standards for cars and trucks, which is why they have recruited me for the position.”
  • “I’m being appointed along with the deputy administrator as the first NHTSA appointees ever with serious climate expertise.”
  • “I view my appointment (and a number of others) as evidence that the Biden Administration is truly committed to a ‘whole of government’ approach to addressing climate change.”

In addition to this stated intent to ignore the congressionally mandated mission of NHTSA to pursue climate policymaking, Carlson has also faced allegations of failing to make ethics disclosures. In 2017 and 2018, Carlson helped coordinate climate nuisance lawsuits, which are frivolous cases seeking to blame individual companies for vaguely alleged harms to global climate.

These are ideological attacks driven by activists to harm industries they dislike, an abuse of the legal system. Carlson failed to mention this legal activity on her Department of Transportation ethics recusal form, and the industries she helped attack are some of the industries impacted by NHTSA regulations. Her desire to bring climate activism to NHTSA makes this omission even more troubling.

Given all this, the fact that Carlson remains at NHTSA is a slap in the face to the bipartisan group of senators who objected to her nomination and eventually led to her withdrawal. It was clear that the U.S. Senate would have rejected Carlson’s appointment under Article 2, Section 2 of the Constitution. And yet, she remains in a position to redirect NHTSA away from its road safety mission and towards her pet climate change priorities.

Having a person heading an agency who does not support the mission of that agency is not just a matter of musical chairs. There are real consequences. For example, the Department of Transportation’s Inspector General just recently faulted NHTSA for failing to complete safety analysis of airbags in a timely manner.

This is the sort of thing that can happen when an agency diverts from its core mission and instead serves the climate agenda.

It is great news that Carlson’s nomination to head NHTSA will not be moving forward, but she is still running the place. The Senate should insist on her immediate removal from the agency. If President Biden refuses to do so, Congress should use the power of the purse to force him to.

Thomas Pyle is the CEO of the American Energy Alliance and co-host of The Unregulated Podcast.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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