Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) are conducting an investigation on the “Natural Resources Defense Council’s (NRDC) role in crafting the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA)” new climate rule proposal. The investigation resulted in a set of emails that “show that a green group had inappropriate influence over President Obama’s proposed climate rule for power plants.” The Hill,
“Even though both sides have vehemently denied it, these discoveries clearly demonstrate the EPA and NRDC’s beyond-cozy relationship and force the question — Who is working for whom,” Vitter, the top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, said in a statement.
The latest emails, Vitter said, show a “very close working relationship” between the agency and the group on the rule since 2011, two years before EPA said it started gathering input on the carbon proposal.
NRDC and other green groups sued the EPA in 2010 to force it to develop a power plant rule. The EPA settled in 2011 and agreed to propose the regulation.
The emails show what Vitter characterized as “congratulatory” messages between officials at the EPA and NRDC after the settlement. “This success is yours as much as mine,” wrote Gina McCarthy, who at the time led the EPA’s air pollution work, and now is the agency’s head.
The groups have been under scrutiny since July, when the New York Times reported that the agency borrowed heavily from an NRDC proposal for its rule.