Trump taps Hill veteran for White House environment job
President Trump is nominating Mary Neumayr, a former senior congressional staffer, for a key environmental policy position in the White House.
Neumayr, who currently serves as the chief of staff at the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and has taken on many of the tasks of leading the agency, will be nominated to be its chairwoman, the White House announced late Tuesday.
With Neumayr’s nomination, Trump is looking to avoid the fate of his previous nominee, Kathleen Hartnett White.
After her nomination last year, Hartnett White faced a tough confirmation battle in the Senate, where Democrats went all out against her. She is an outspoken climate change skeptic and had referred to belief in global warming as “paganism” and called renewable energy “parasitic.”
“Your positions are so far out of the mainstream [that] they’re not just outliers, they’re outrageous,” Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said at White’s November 2017 confirmation hearing. “You are a fringe voice that denies science and economics and reality.”
Neumayr took her post at CEQ in May 2017. Before that, she held various senior roles working for Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee for eight years, including most recently as deputy chief counsel for energy and environment.
She previously worked at the Energy Department and the Justice Department under the George W. Bush administration.
The CEQ chair is a key environmental adviser to the president.
CEQ’s other responsibilities can vary widely between administrations, but it has always been assigned the task of coordinating governmentwide compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act.