House Oversight, Senate EPW Launch Investigation into Improper NRDC Influence Over EPA

September 2, 2014

Today, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), and U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, along with Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), and Rep. James Lankford (R-Okla.), sent letters to Gina McCarthy, Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Frances Beinecke, President of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). The letters request documents and information regarding the NRDC’s involvement in drafting the Agency’s proposed regulations for carbon emissions from existing power plants, as well as their influence in preventing the proposed Pebble Mine project from moving forward in the permitting process.

“It appears that NRDC’s unprecedented access to high-level EPA officials allowed it to influence EPA policy decisions and achieve its own private agenda. Such collusive activities provide the NRDC, and their financial backers, with an inappropriate opportunity to wield the broad powers of the executive branch,” the Members wrote. “The fact that an ideological and partisan group drafted a rule that places a tremendous cost on everyday Americans through increased electricity prices is harmful and outrageous….Accordingly, these practices must cease immediately.”

Sen. Vitter and Rep. Issa have been engaged in a joint investigation into alleged collusion to craft regulatory policy and shape agency action between national environmental groups and the EPA. The NRDC has received $1,877,907 from EPA in grants since January 2009.  NRDC has also received tremendous amounts of funding from wealthy donors and foundations based out of New York and California.

In July 2014, EPW Republicans published a report entitled, “The Chain of Environmental Command: How a Club of Billionaires and Their Foundations Control the Environmental Movement and Obama’s EPA,” documenting NRDC’s influence at EPA and its close relationships with the Billionaire’s Club.

Sen. Inhofe is the top Republican on the Subcommittee on Oversight. Sen. Barrasso is the top Republican on the Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure. Rep. Jordan is the Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Job Creation, and Regulatory Affairs. Rep. Lankford is the Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Healthy Care, and Entitlements.

Text of today’s letters are below. Click here to read today’s letter to EPA Administrator McCarthy. Click here to read today’s letter to NRDC’s President Beinecke.

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