A senior official at the White House Council on Environmental Quality has resigned, days after a newspaper reported he changed some government reports to downplay links between greenhouse gas emissions and global warming.
Philip Cooney, the council’s chief of staff and a former energy industry lobbyist, resigned on Friday, two days after The New York Times reported he edited some descriptions of climate research in a way that cast doubt on links between greenhouse gas emissions and rising temperatures.
White House spokeswoman Dana Perino confirmed Cooney had resigned from the council but said it was unrelated to the Times story.
“Mr. Cooney has long been considering his options following four years of service in the administration,” she said. “He had accumulated four weeks of leave and decided to resign and take the summer off to spend time with his family.”
The Times said it obtained the environmental documents from the Government Accountability Project, a nonprofit group that provides legal help to government whistle-blowers.
The White House has denied Cooney had watered down the impact of global warming.
The newspaper noted Cooney previously worked at the American Petroleum Institute, a lobby group for the oil industry.