Carper Statement on the Nomination of Brenda Mallory to Lead the White House Council on Environmental Quality

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, released the following statement regarding President-elect Biden’s nomination of Brenda Mallory to serve as chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ).

“After four years and countless efforts by the outgoing administration to undermine our nation’s landmark environmental statutes, there will be few jobs more challenging than restoring the mission of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. In Brenda Mallory, President-elect Biden has chosen a supremely qualified nominee to lead the White House Council on Environmental Quality and coordinate government-wide efforts to address the climate crisis and achieve environmental equity.

“One of my earliest mentors, the former Governor of Delaware, Russell Peterson, served as chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality during both the Nixon and Ford Administrations. Russ often likened the role of CEQ chair to an orchestra conductor—you don’t play the instruments, but you try to ensure that everyone is playing in harmony. The CEQ chair coordinates action across the entire government to ensure federal agencies are working in harmony; that every federal decision advances the objectives of economic growth, better public health and stronger environmental quality.

“But, while the CEQ chair works like a conductor to achieve harmony across federal agencies, it must also pursue harmony between our economy, our society and our shared environment for current and future generations. Those are the clear objectives of CEQ laid out in the National Environmental Policy Act, the landmark environmental law that created CEQ. But sadly, for the last four years, the actions of CEQ have been unaligned with its mission. The agency even worked to undermine the NEPA statute at the core of its foundation. Instead of advancing those three objectives – a more productive economy, a healthier society and a cleaner environment – the outgoing administration repeatedly compromised public health and environmental quality for the sake of ‘less red tape.’ It will be critical for the next CEQ chair to restore balance in CEQ’s mission. That is why I believe there is no better choice than an experienced public servant like Brenda Mallory with the legal expertise to lead CEQ in this critical role at such a critical time for the agency.

“As the former General Counsel for CEQ, Brenda Mallory already knows the agency inside and out. She knows the bureaucratic levers to pull, and she understands the importance of building relationships. And now, Brenda will not only be able to continue the important work she started under the Obama-Biden Administration, but she will also be able to position CEQ for the future. She knows what the agency has been – the statute at its core – and she believes in what the agency can be.

“CEQ is prime to take a leadership role to addressing environmental justice role in climate change, and with Brenda Mallory at the helm, it will. She knows how to ensure federal agencies align their goals to protect our planet and improve environmental outcomes for everyone in this country. She sees the climate crisis for what it is, an existential crisis, and she recognizes the long-term impacts of climate change on everything from air quality to the resilience of our infrastructure. She will be a leader who meets the challenge of the climate crisis while prioritizing the voices of Indigenous communities and communities of color.

“No doubt, the role of CEQ chair will be no easy task given the sheer volume and magnitude of the environmental rollbacks we’ve seen over the last four years. But if anyone understands how to get CEQ back on track, it’s Brenda Mallory. I congratulate Brenda on her nomination and look forward to speaking with her about the work ahead of us to create a safer and healthier country for everyone.”