Speaker Boehner's New Energy Policy Advisor Is A Global Warming Denier

May 03, 2011 1:22 pm ET — Jamison Foser

Speaker John Boehner

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) just announced the appointment of Michael Catanzaro, formerly of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and the Bush administration, as his new energy policy advisor. Boehner's press release announcing the hiring doesn't mention climate change, or any other environmental concern, but that's no surprise given Catanzaro's history of mocking the threat of global warming.

While serving as communications director for the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee during President Bush's first term, Catanzaro's vitriolic attacks on "climate alarmists" frequently appeared on the far-right Human Events website. Catanzaro's pieces cited of the likes of Citizens for a Sound Economy and the Competitive Enterprise Institute — right-wing organizations driven by ideology, not science. (CSE was founded by Koch Industries, the far-right polluters and oil thieves who bankroll much of the conservative movement. CEI has also enjoyed significant funding from big polluters like Koch and Exxon Mobil.) 

Catanzaro's fondness for industry-funded anti-environment propaganda was reflected in his frequent ridicule of concerns about global warming. Here's a small sample:

A March 26, 2003, Catanzaro piece put the phrase global warming inside scare-quotes and blasted then-Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill for warming "alarmism." 

On September 16, 2003, Catanzaro mocked the Union of Concerned Scientists for saying "global warming is real and underway." Catanzaro suggested that humans do not contribute to global warming because a study suggests that fungi may do so. (Catanzaro didn't bother to explain why the two would be mutually exclusive.)

On September 23, 2004, Catanzaro mocked "highly questionable--if not outright silly--theories about the 'linkage' between global warming and extreme weather events." Scientists disagree with Catanzaro's mockery.

On October 31, 2003, Catanzaro wrote a piece for Human Events titled "No Global Warming Consensus" in which he denounced "climate alarmists." 

And on December 1, 2003, Catanzaro published a remarkably misdirected screed accusing environmentalists of being "disconnected from reality," lacking "any command of the issues," feeling "no responsibility to present [their] views with even a thin veneer of fact," and making "bizarre" claims that raise "serious questions about the intellectual character of the modern environmental movement." 

In addition to his work in the Bush administration and the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Catanzaro has served as director of federal legislative relations for PPL Corp, an energy company that owns six coal plants and two oil-burning power plants.

Boehner's selection of Catanzaro is perhaps fitting given the Speaker's own history of downplaying the threat of global warming.