Oklahoma Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe is challenging the White House’s latest order on how federal agencies take global warming into account in reviews of government actions or projects.
Inhofe argues the White House guidance has no force since the Council on Environmental Quality’s chairman has not been confirmed by the Senate. CEQ hasn’t had a Senate-confirmed chairman since 2014, which means their guidances have no force under federal law.
“Under the Vacancies Reform Act, no person may perform the duties of the vacant CEQ Chairman position until the President has nominated a candidate who is subject to Senate confirmation,” Inhofe said in a statement.
White House officials released a new guidance on how federal agencies should consider global warming when conducting environmental reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA. Inhofe has been pushing back on CEQ’s guidance for months since there’s no confirmed chairman.
The last CEQ chairman, Nancy Sutley, resigned in 2014, and was followed up by Michael Boots, but Boots left the White House in 2015. Inhofe says lower officials, led by Managing Director Christy Goldfuss, have no authority under federal law without a confirmed chairman.
“With no Senate-confirmed chairman, or even a nominee, today’s guidance can have no force or effect as CEQ staff have no authority to take any official action,” Inhofe said.