Capito grills EPA nominee on "#ResistCapitalism" tweet

Sen. Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoDemocrats aim for maximum pressure on GOP over debt ceiling A billion plan to clean the nation’s water is murky on facts A tale of two chambers: Trump’s power holds in House, wanes in Senate MORE (R-W.V.), the top Republican on the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee, on Wednesday questioned President BidenJoe BidenNewsom easily beats back recall effort in California Second senior official leaving DHS in a week Top Republican: General told senators he opposed Afghanistan withdrawal MORE’s nominee to oversee Superfund cleanup about a six-year-old tweet containing an exhortation to “resist capitalism.”

Carlton Waterhouse, Biden’s nominee for Assistant Administrator for Land and Emergency Management at the Environmental Protection Agency, was one of three nominees that came before the committee Wednesday. Capito raised the 2015 tweet during her allotted time for questioning.

“You said, ‘The ugly truth about energy. The ends don’t justify the means.’ And then you hashtagged a bunch of things, one of which was #ResistCapitalism,” Capito asked Waterhouse. “You are going to be dealing in your position with a lot of private entities…What does ‘Resist Capitalism’ mean to you and how would that interplay with what you would be doing? What does it mean when you say energy ends don’t justify the means?”

Waterhouse responded that he did not recall the context of the tweet, which quoted another user’s tweet that has since been deleted. “I recognize the value of capitalism as a way of making sure goods and services are made available to people, and I think reasonably and responsible regulation allows us to make sure people can be safe and protected in the environment in their daily lives,” he said.

Waterhouse has worked in the EPA’s Office of Land and Emergency Management since February. Prior to his work there, he has frequently spoken and written about the disproportionate impact of pollution on Black Americans and called for reparations for the descendants of slaves.

Conservative organizations and Republican lawmakers have sharply criticized him for that advocacy, including Sen. Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonTrump schedules rallies in Iowa, Georgia The Memo: Texas abortion law could haunt GOP GOP senators call on Biden to release info on Americans, visa applicants left in Afghanistan MORE (R-Ark.), who has called him an “extremist.” They have in particular pointed to a 2006 paper in which he wrote that civil rights legislation in the 1960s and 70s did not do enough to remedy racial discrimination, because it did not compensate the victims of discrimination that took place before it became law.

Mustafa Santiago Ali, who led the EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice under President ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaGensler compares cryptocurrency market, regulations to ‘wild west’ We must mount an all-country response to help our Afghan allies Obamas, Bushes and Clintons joining new effort to help Afghan refugees MORE, defended Waterhouse’s record on environmental justice, telling The Hill “Carlton Waterhouse’s amazing work to protect vulnerable communities is in step with many of our great leaders who fought for civil rights and social justice.”

Waterhouse, Ali told The Hill in a Twitter message, is committed to “unpacking the uncomfortable truths and working to find authentic solutions,” quoting the acclaimed writer James Baldwin: “If I love you I have to make you conscious of the things you don’t see.”

Waterhouse has said the criticism from the right is a “distortion” of his work, telling Buzzfeed News this week that it “just misrepresent[s] really what I’ve fought for and the kinds of things that I’ve been advocating for.”

Senate Republicans have applied pressure to earlier Biden nominees for both their social media use and their history on environmental issues.

Former Center for American Progress head Neera TandenNeera TandenSenate backlog of Biden nominees frustrates White House Harris hosts CEOs, executives at White House to discuss affordable childcare Asian American leaders eager to talk voting rights with Biden MORE withdrew her name from consideration as White House budget chief over her Twitter usage. Meanwhile, every Republican on the committee and Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — GOP senator: It’s ‘foolish’ to buy Treasury bonds Overnight Health Care — Nicki Minaj stokes uproar over vaccines Manchin-McConnell meet amid new voting rights push MORE (R-Ky.) have urged the withdrawal of Tracy Stone-Manning to head the Bureau of Land Management, citing her involvement in a “tree-spiking” case.


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