Nov. 23, 2016
Two Texans Who Shouldn’t Play a Role in the Trump Administration
Statement of Tom ‘Smitty’ Smith, Director, Public Citizen’s Texas Office
Note: Below are comments on two Texans whose names have been mentioned as possible Trump administration picks. Kathleen Hartnett White is already on Trump’s transition team. As director of Public Citizen’s Texas office, Tom ‘Smitty’ Smith has firsthand experience with both Gov. Rick Perry and Kathleen Hartnett White.
On former Gov. Rick Perry:
When he was governor, Rick Perry’s energy policy in Texas was pro-coal, pro-oil, pro-fracking and pro-nuclear waste. Big energy controlled Perry’s energy policy. He held a press conference on Earth Day in 2006 endorsing TXU Energy’s plans to build 11 new coal plants, even making the ludicrous claim that air pollution would be reduced if these plants were approved. He promoted and permitted a low-level radioactive waste site in west Texas owned by his second largest donor, Harold Simmons. Waste Control Specialists is seeking to expand this site to “store” deadly high-level radioactive waste, a goal that Perry championed. The U.S. Department of Energy will write the rules that will determine where this waste can be stored.
To be fair, Perry has supported renewable energy in Texas because it creates jobs through infrastructure development. When the Republican political leadership in West Texas got behind renewables because of the jobs they created, Perry signed legislation that led to a $6.8 billion program to build the infrastructure needed to get wind energy to Texas cities. He later bragged that this investment created more than 100,000 jobs.
On Kathleen Hartnett White:
Kathleen Hartnett White would be one of the worst environmental disasters the nation has every experienced if she were appointed to run the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. She was a disaster as the chair of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). She voted for almost every industry-supported project, ignored the impact on public health from pollution, failed to reduce ozone emissions to safe levels, supported new coal plants that would have worsened pollution in our most polluted cities, failed to clean up or shut down the cement kilns that were the largest source of pollution in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and ignored global warming. She actively sought to restrict citizens’ rights to intervene and provide critical local insight into permits.
Since leaving the TCEQ, she has worked for the Texas Public Policy Foundation, which is supported by the Koch brothers and a who’s who of polluters. As director of the foundation’s energy and environment program, she has issued report after report spouting the wonders of oil gas and coal, and ignored or dismissed the environmental impacts of those fuels.