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Dozens of energy groups come out against Biden’s NHTSA 'climate change’ recruit

Forty-three energy organizations cited the nominee's history of a "lack of transparency and conflicts of interest,"

Published: May 5, 2023 11:38am

Updated: May 5, 2023 12:15pm

The Western Energy Alliance is leading an effort to block the Senate confirmation of President Biden's nomination to lead the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

President Biden has nominated Ann Carlson to become the next NHTSA administrator. And the alliance has sent a letter, along with 45 other aligned associations, to the Senate, which runs the confirmation process, saying Carlson has been "recruited" by Biden to turn the agency into a "climate change enforcement body."

"Her multiple public statements reveal a clear agenda to go beyond NHTSA’s congressionally mandated mission on vehicle performance and safety standards and turn it into a climate change enforcement body," the letter in part reads. "We are also concerned by Carlson’s lack of transparency about her work promoting spurious climate change litigation."

The American Petroleum Institute and the U.S. Oil & Gas Association are among those who have signed onto the letter.

Carlson, who was nominated in February, has previously boasted that Biden selecting her for the job proves his "whole of government" approach to climate change. And she told her then-UCLA colleagues the agency is "in charge of climate standards for cars and trucks, which is why they have recruited me for the position."

GOP senators have also voiced concerns about Carlson, saying she could follow the Environmental Protection Agency's "lead"  in cracking down on gas-powered vehicles and fast-tracking a transition to so-called green energy, making the United States increasingly reliant on China.

The NHTSA states on its website the ageny's sole mission is to "save lives, prevent injuries and reduce economic costs due to road traffic crashes, through education, research, safety standards and enforcement activity."

The letter Wednesday by the alliance and the other groups also argues Carlson showed a "lack of transparency and a conflicts of interest" when she failed to disclose when becoming the NHTSA's chief counsel her relationship with the Sher Edling law firm and its network of partners.

Carlson will first have a hearing before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, and if the panel gives her a favorable recommendation, the full Senate will vote on her confirmation. 

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