President Trump's pick to lead the White House Council on Environmental Quality says her written responses to senators' questions represent “my views," despite some language that's identical to prior submissions from nominees for top EPA jobs.

“[I]t should not be a surprise that I share the views of my fellow nominees on a number of issues. In preparing my responses, I sought to reiterate positions already stated that are reflective of my own," said Kathleen Hartnett White.

Why it matters: White, a former Texas regulator now with the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation, is in line for a key role coordinating administration environmental policy. It's not clear if the allegations will hinder White's nomination, but she already had a somewhat rocky confirmation hearing last month.

White's comment comes in a letter seen by Axios prepared in response to a letter about her written answers from Sen. Tom Carper, the top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, which is the panel that vetted her nomination.

Earlier this week Carper and colleagues highlighted responses on climate change, air pollution, and environmental justice that contained some identical wording to submissions from EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and Bill Wehrum, EPA's top air quality official, when their nominations were pending.

One level deeper: White's brief response says two top Obama-era officials used a similar approach. “My understanding is that this is not unusual and was the case for CEQ Chair Nancy Sutley and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson in responses provided to you and other senators in their confirmation proceedings," the letter states.

White's nomination moved through the EPW Committee on a party line vote late last month. Democrats have strongly criticized White for her statements challenging the dominant scientific views on human-induced global warming.

White has also come under fire from some farm-state GOP lawmakers for her past criticisms of the federal ethanol mandate, but she walked back those comments during her confirmation hearing in November.

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Updated 9 mins ago - World

China says U.S. is "endangering peace" with high-level visit to Taiwan

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar during a June briefing in Washington, DC. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced Tuesday night he will lead a delegation to Taiwan "in the coming days."

Why it matters: It's the highest-level visit by a U.S. cabinet official to Taiwan since 1979. Azar is also the first U.S. Cabinet member to visit the island state in six years. The visit has angered China, which views Taiwan as part of its territory. Chinese officials accused the U.S. early Wednesday of "endangering peace" with the visit, AFP reports.

Updated 53 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3:30 a.m. ET: 18,543,662 — Total deaths: 700,714 — Total recoveries — 11,143,031Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3:30 a.m. ET: 4,771,236 — Total deaths: 156,807 — Total recoveries: 1,528,979 — Total tests: 57,543,852Map.
  3. States: New York City health commissioner resigns in protest of De Blasio's coronavirus response — Local governments go to war over schools.
  4. Public health: 59% of Americans support nationwide 2-week stay-at-home order in NPR poll.
  5. Politics: Trump's national security adviser returns to work after coronavirus recovery Republicans push to expand small business loan program.
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At least 100 killed, 4,000 injured after massive explosion rocks Beirut

Photo: Anwar Amro/AFP via Getty Images

A major explosion has slammed central Beirut, Lebanon, damaging buildings as far as several miles away and injuring scores of people.

Driving the news: At least 100 people have been killed and over 4,000 injured in the blast — and the death toll is likely to rise, the Lebanese Red Cross said, per AP. Prime Minister Hassan Diab said the explosions occurred at a warehouse that had been storing 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate for the past six years.