I urge U.S. Sen. Susan Collins to oppose the nomination of Kathleen Hartnett-White to lead the Council on Environmental Quality.

I was relieved to hear that Hartnett-White’s nomination was sent back to the White House, so the president will need to re-nominate her. But when that happens, and a vote goes before the Senate, I hope that Collins will stand up for the environment and vote against her.

Hartnett-White is simply not qualified for this position. She has stated that carbon dioxide is not a harmful gas and is simply a “plant nutrient,” despite clear evidence to the contrary. This is why over 300 scientists wrote to oppose her nomination at the end of November.

She also appears to lack a grasp of basic science, not knowing whether warm water expands. Someone who does not understand fundamentals of science should not be leading this council.

Also, and of particular relevance to Collins, Hartnett-White has attacked the regulations by the EPA to limit mercury pollution from power plants fired by coal. Collins has previously fought to clean up mercury contamination, and for that I thank her.

I hope that Collins continues that fight, and the fight for a healthy environment for the people of Maine and the country, by voting against this nomination.

Erica L. Bartlett