House Oversight Chair James Comer (R-Ky.) is looking into discussions between the office of U.S. climate envoy John Kerry and environmental advocacy groups in relation to its joining a group of countries that want to move away from coal.
Late last year, Kerry announced that the U.S. would join the Powering Past Coal Alliance — committing the nation to not building new coal plants and to phasing out existing coal power.
Comer’s office released an email Friday showing that someone at the State Department wrote to employees of the the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group, asking for their views on the Powering Past Coal group.
It also released correspondence between a State Department official and additional environmental groups — including the Sierra Club, think tank E3G and the World Resources Institute.
Comer, in a letter to the department, said the documents raise “significant concern” about what information is being shared with the organizations.
He asked for communications between the State Department and the alliance, as well as communications between the department, White House and nongovernmental organizations relating to the alliance.
Kerry’s office declined to comment.
Bob Deans, a spokesperson for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in a written statement that in the group’s role as a “non-profit, public interest organization, we advocate publicly and openly for global efforts to curb coal-fired generation.”
“The administration has a duty to protect its citizens against the rising costs and human devastation of dangerous heat waves, withering drought, species collapse and raging wildfires, storms and floods,” Deans added. “That’s what this initiative is all about.”
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