Kathleen Hartnett-White, a senior fellow at the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) and former Chairman and Commissioner of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) (appointed by former Governor Rick Perry), has been nominated by President Trump to chair the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). CEQ works with agencies and White House offices to develop environmental, natural resources, and energy policies.
While working at TPPF, Hartnett-White also directs the Fueling Freedom project, which seeks to “Explain the forgotten moral case for fossil fuels” while “building a multi-state coalition to push back against the EPA’s unconstitutional efforts to take over the electric power sector by regulating CO2 via the Clean Power Plan” as well as “End the regulation of CO2 as a pollutant.”
During the presidential election, Hartnett-White along with the President and CEO of TPPF Brooke Rollins, were members of Trump’s economic advisory team. She was previously rumored to be in line for EPA administrator.
Hartnett-White has called for restraint of what she called the “imperial EPA,” and in June 2016 she promoted the bill H.R. 3880, “The Stopping the EPA Overreach Act,” while describing carbon dioxide as a “necessary nutrient for plant life.” Later in 2016, Hartnett-White said that while we need not necessarily do away with the EPA as Trump has planned, still “we don’t need regulation; we’re already doing a good job.” In 2015, she gave opening remarks for a panel at TPPF’s “At The Crossroads: Energy & Climate Policy Summit.”
TPPF is a conservative think tank based in Austin, Texas, and a member of the State Policy Network (SPN). The think tank’s funders from 2010 were inadvertently made public a few years ago. According to Al Jazeera America, “A 2010 donor list from the IRS shows the Texas Public Policy Foundation receives funding from groups long associated with big oil, gas, and coal, such as Koch Industries, the electric utility Luminant, and the oil and gas investment company the Permian Basin Acquisition Fund.”
A 2013 report by Progress Texas and the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) found that TPPF received over 3 million dollars from the Koch brothers or organizations they fund. For example, the Koch family foundations and Koch Industries sent $733,333 to TPPF, and $2,581,258 has been donated from the dark money groups DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund. In 2015, the Charles Koch Foundation and the Charles Koch Institute contributed a total of $199,697. TPPF has also received funding from ExxonMobil while Rex Tillerson was CEO, a total of $65,000 from 2006-2011 (2006, 2008, 2009, 2011).
TPPF is also a member of several task forces within the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
More on Hartnett-White’s actions and policy stances are available on DeSmog Blog.