DENVER -- Western Energy Alliance and a coalition of 43 associations from across the country today urged the U.S. Senate to reject President Biden’s nomination of Ann Carlson to serve as administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In a letter to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, the groups cited Carlson’s expressed plans to go beyond the agency’s congressionally mandated mission on traffic safety, despite record highway deaths, to instead turn NHTSA into a climate change enforcement body. The associations also noted Carlson’s lack of financial transparency and potential conflicts of interest to date while serving as NHTSA’s acting administrator and general counsel.
“With more than 32,000 highway deaths last year, the most pressing concern facing NHTSA is saving human lives on the roads today, not hypothetically 80 years in the future. Open records investigations reveal that Ann Carlson believes she was recruited to prioritize climate change above all else and force drivers into electric vehicles,” said Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Alliance. “If Congress wanted NHTSA to be a climate change regulator, it would have given the agency that mission. Carlson would ignore her responsibility to improve highway safety and instead use her position to advance a climate change agenda that the American people don’t support. As we point out to Congress, Carlson also sees her role at NHTSA as an opportunity to flood the federal government with so many anti-oil-and-gas policies that it will be impossible for the courts or future administrations to reverse them, including policies on
Carlson began serving as NHTSA’s general counsel in January 2021 and became acting administrator in September 2022. President Biden nominated her to formally lead the agency in February 2023.
“Beyond her overreaching agenda, Carlson has displayed a lack of transparency while serving at the agency. She’s failed to adequately disclose her role in working with dark money organizations behind numerous climate litigation cases across the country seeking damages for alleged climate impacts to roads and infrastructure. In many instances, the legal clients she supported rely on NHTSA grant funding for similar infrastructure projects. It’s a clear conflict of interest and her lack of transparency should disqualify her nomination,” added Sgamma.
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