The White House late Saturday confirmed a report by the Washington Post on its plans to withdraw the nomination of a climate change skeptic with ties to the fossil fuel industry to serve as President Donald Trump's top environmental adviser.
Kathleen Hartnett White was announced last October as Trump's choice to chair the Council on Environmental Quality. She had served under former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, now Trump's energy secretary, for six years on a commission overseeing the state environmental agency.
But White's nomination languished in the Senate, and was among a batch of nominations the Senate sent back to the White House at the end of 2017 when Congress closed up for the year. Trump resubmitted White's nomination in January.
White has compared the work of mainstream climate scientists to "the dogmatic claims of ideologues and clerics." In a contentious Senate hearing last November, she defended past statements that claiming pollution released by burning fuels is not harmful unless one were to suck on a car's tailpipe.
Critics of White's nomination pointed to her praise of fossil fuels as having improved living conditions around the world and helping to end slavery. She has called carbon dioxide not a pollutant but "a necessary nutrient for plant life."
U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, the top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said it was "abundantly clear very early on" that heading the Council on Environmental Quality wasn't the right job for White. Carper called withdrawing White's nomination "the right thing to do" and urged the Trump administration to nominate a "thoughtful environmental and public health champion to lead this critical office in the federal government."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.