The White House on Tuesday withdrew the nomination of Ann Carlson to lead the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration amid Republican and industry group opposition.
President Biden nominated Carlson, who is currently the acting head of the Department of Transportation subagency, back in February, and her nomination was sent to the Senate Commerce Committee a month later.
Carlson is the third Biden nominee that has faltered upon being sent to the Senate’s commerce panel.
The 80-year-old president’s picks to lead the Federal Communications Commission – Gigi Sohn – and the Federal Aviation Administration – Phillip Washington – were previously withdrawn by the White House.
Carlson faced stiff opposition from Republicans on the Senate Commerce Committee, who earlier this month criticized her role in the development of fuel-economy standards in 2021, arguing they were “consistent with your long career as an environmentalist without traffic safety experience.”
“Based on your record, we are deeply concerned that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 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 [benefiting] China,” Republicans on the Commerce Committee wrote in a letter to Carlson on May 1.
Carlson became acting administrator at the NHTSA after Steven Cliff left in September 2022.
The Biden-Harris transition team hired Carlson in January of 2021 to serve as NHTSA’s chief counsel.
She was previously an environmental law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles.
In April, Fox News Digital reported that Carlson emailed colleagues at UCLA shortly after her hiring by the incoming Biden administration that she would serve in a role focused on combating climate change.
Carlson reportedly boasted that her hiring was “evidence that the Biden Administration is truly committed to a ‘whole of government’ approach to addressing climate change.”
“I’m being appointed along with the deputy administrator as the first NHTSA appointees ever with serious climate expertise,” she said in another email, according to Fox News Digital.
The stated mission of the NHTSA is to “save lives, prevent injuries and reduce economic costs due to road traffic crashes, through education, research, safety standards and enforcement activity.”
More than 40 industry groups representing oil and gas companies called on Senate Commerce Committee Chairwoman Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and ranking member Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to block Carlson’s nomination earlier this month.
Several major agriculture groups on Tuesday also called on the Senate panel to oppose Carlson’s nomination, according to Fox News.
The White House did not provide an explanation for why Carlson’s nomination was pulled and did not respond to The Post’s request for comment.
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