Nov 29, 10:50 AM EST

Trump environmental picks headed to Senate confirmation vote

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Republican senators used their majority to advance two of President Donald Trump's picks for key environmental posts over the objections of Democrats who say the nominees are unfit for office.

The Environment and Public Works Committee voted along party lines Wednesday to send the nominations of Kathleen Hartnett White and Andrew Wheeler for votes before the full Senate.

White is an ardent champion of fossil fuels nominated to chair the White House's Council on Environmental Quality. She claims that carbon dioxide is a harmless "plant nutrient" and conceded she was unfamiliar with basic scientific principles related to climate change, such as the fact sea water expands as it gets warmer.

Wheeler is a former coal-industry lobbyist selected to serve as the second-highest ranking official at the Environmental Protection Agency.

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