(Washington, DC) – Today, House Science, Space, and Technology Committee released a staff memo detailing the preliminary results of an ongoing investigation into a Biden Administration proposed rule.  If finalized, the rule will require U.S. contractors to work with third-party private entities to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions and set emission reduction targets. The White House chose two environmentalist groups with significant ties to Democratic donors to conduct this work – the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) and the Science Based Target initiative (SBTi).

After conducting thorough research and holding two hearings on this topic in September and November of 2023, committee staff released a memo today detailing conflicts of interest at the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), inappropriate attempts to influence the development of the proposed rule, and a pattern of misleading Members of Congress on the specifics of the rulemaking process.

Some highlights of the report include:

  • CEQ worked closely with the CDP to inappropriately influence the Federal Acquisition Regulatory (FAR) Council to write federal acquisition regulations to unfairly benefit favored environmental activist groups.
  • The FAR Council did not adequately vet CDP or SBTi. Efforts to communicate with CDP and SBTi were directed by CEQ, with CEQ coordinating with CDP to ensure consistent messaging to executive branch offices involved with the process. Additionally, documents provided to the Committee show conversations between CEQ and CDP may have been conducted outside of official channels via WhatsApp, likely in violation of the Federal Records Act.  
  • CEQ provided misleading testimony during the November 30, 2023, hearing before the Committee. 
  • There are national security concerns surrounding the use of an internationally based company, SBTi, in this proposed rule. This requirement could give foreign adversaries the ability to both influence the selection of contractors and collect potentially sensitive data on both actual and potential contractors via SBTi and its staff.

“I’m deeply troubled by the findings in this report,” Chairman Frank Lucas said. “The rulemaking process was clearly subverted in order to favor certain environmentalist groups. And there were significant conflicts of interest where White House staff were advocating for regulations that would benefit their friends and former employers. Our committee has already exposed many concerns that arise from making U.S. contractors disclose their emissions to a private foreign entity. The findings in this report make those concerns all the more urgent. We will continue to investigate this matter and bring transparency to this process.”

Read the memo here