For many years CHQ Chairman Richard A Viguerie has been preaching to conservative leaders and activists that “personnel IS policy” and giving the credit for that import insight
to Morton Blackwell, founder of the Leadership Institute. It is #26 of Morton Blackwell’s Laws of the Public Policy Process and can be found in the Appendix of Mr. Viguerie’s 2014 book TAKEOVER: The 100-Year War for the Soul of the GOP and How Conservatives Can Finally Win It.
So, if personnel is policy, what should Americans make of Joe Biden’s decision to nominate Ann Carlson to be Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), after our friends at the American Accountability Foundation ferreted out a law review article she published calling for higher energy prices?
Carlson, like her predecessor Steve Cliff, was part of the “Day One” team of first-wave Biden appointees announced on January 21, 2021. Ms. Carlson came to NHTSA from an air pollution background, not an auto safety background. She was an environmental law professor, founder of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, and co-edited a book called “Lessons from the Clean Air Act.”
It will surprise no one reading this article that Ms. Carlson’s cheerleading section consists of all the Far Left anti-fossil fuels crowd in Congress, such as avowed socialist Rep. Jan Shakowsky of Illinois.
Republican Senators are already expressing concern that Carlson will hijack the transportation safety agency to push electric vehicle mandates and other policies that will drive up the cost of operating a motor vehicle.
The Washington Examiner reported 13 Republicans signed a letter addressed to Carlson on May 1, outlining criticisms of her policy record at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and fears of expanding electric vehicle mandates on automakers.
“Based on your record, we are deeply concerned that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will follow the EPA’s lead and propose similarly radical vehicle fuel economy standards that run contrary to the law, diminish vehicle choice, impose higher costs on American families, and undermine our national and energy security all while benefitting China,” the letter reads.
The lawmakers cited a rise in EV mandates across the country, saying those rules would violate the Supreme Court case West Virginia v. EPA, and would cause “vast economic and political significance” requiring “clear congressional authorization.”
“As NHTSA finalizes a proposal for new fuel economy standards for model years 2027 to 2032, we urge you to reject the EPA’s economically destructive regulatory overreach,” the letter reads.
The letter mentions California's ban on gas-powered vehicles by 2035, which creates a path for other states to follow suit.
According to reporting by The Washington Examiner’s Eden Villalovas, Republicans are also battling new environmental standards advanced by the Environmental Protection Agency that would also raise prices for consumers.
Thomas Catenacci of Fox News reported, Carlson privately boasted that she would use her position at the agency to push aggressive climate policies. The former law professor boasted in 2021 that she was recruited by the administration to oversee climate standards for cars and trucks, according to emails obtained by the watchdog group Government Accountability & Oversight (GAO) and shared with Fox News Digital.
"With agenda-obsessed banks collapsing, a new and constant threat of winter and summer electricity blackouts and an absentee Transportation Secretary waving off disasters when he isn't ignoring them, even the most blinkered White House might discern a sign that, just maybe, government appointments are jobs with responsibilities, rather than taxpayer-financed activist platforms," Chris Horner, a lawyer who represented GAO in a case involving the emails, told Fox News Digital.
In early January 2021, Catenacci reported, the Biden-Harris transition team hired Carlson, who at the time was a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), to serve as NHTSA's chief counsel, the emails showed. While the position didn't require Senate confirmation, Carlson has overseen key agency initiatives like the modification of fuel economy standards and has served as acting administrator since September.
"I have been appointed by the Biden administration to serve as the chief counsel for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration," Catenacci further reported Carlson wrote to fellow UCLA Law staff in an email on Jan. 18, 2021. "The agency is in charge of climate standards for cars and trucks, which is why they have recruited me for the position."
She echoed the language, that she was selected for the NHTSA role to oversee vehicle emissions standards, in her sabbatical and leave of absence form filed with UCLA one day later.
"NHTSA has authority over fuel economy for cars and trucks and has been at the center of the standards to reduce [greenhouse gas emissions] from the transport sector," she wrote to other colleagues on Jan. 19, 2021. "I'm being appointed along with the deputy administrator as the first NHTSA appointees ever with serious climate expertise."
Days later, reported Catenacci, on Jan. 21, 2021, her colleague Norman Abrams congratulated her on being selected to be NHTSA's chief counsel, saying it proved the Biden administration would be "really serious about their climate goals and are choosing the very best people." Carlson responded saying, "no question that the Biden team is very serious about climate."
And that same day she wrote to board members of UCLA's Emmett Institute on Climate Change & the Environment where she served as faculty director at the time, similarly boasting of the climate policymaking potential at NHTSA.
"I view my appointment (and a number of others) as evidence that the Biden Administration is truly committed to a 'whole of government' approach to addressing climate change," Carlson wrote, according to Mr. Catenacci’s reporting.
As the summer vacation driving season approaches with the Memorial Day holiday gas prices are up steeply. The Capitol Switchboard is (202-224-3121), call today and tell your Senators to reject Joe Biden’s plan to use the “whole of government” to raise energy prices and to vote NO on the confirmation of Ann Carlson to be Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Paris climate accord
Joe Biden energy policy
Blue state gas prices
Democrat energy policy
Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
Lessons from the Clean Air Act
Electric Vehicle mandates