(Washington, DC) – Today, House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK) sent a letter to Brenda Mallory, Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), questioning CEQ’s withholding of documents relevant to the committee’s investigation into a controversial proposed emissions rule by the Federal Acquisition Regulatory (FAR) Council.

The committee first raised concerns in a March 2023 letter, noting that the rule would require government contractors to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions and develop emission reduction targets that would be validated and approved by the international non-governmental organization known as the Science Based Target Initiative (SBTi). Science Committee members stressed these requirements would have detrimental consequences for our national security and mission readiness and highlighted SBTi’s potential conflicts of interest, lack of transparency, and manipulation of emissions metrics.

Since the first letter, the Committee has conducted an extensive investigation, including two hearings, several additional letters, and an extensive staff memo detailing evidence that CEQ inappropriately influenced FAR’s development of the proposed rule.

Alarmingly, recent indications from Chair Mallory and CEQ suggest that relevant information and documents have been withheld during the committee’s investigation. In today’s letter, Chairman Lucas expressed frustration with CEQ’s lack of cooperation and noted the committee's discovery of new documents, signaling that key information has clearly been withheld.

CEQ produced over 500 documents in December and gave no indication that any other documents existed. However, in subsequent public comments, you and your office accused the Committee of releasing limited information. This indicated to us that CEQ may have withheld documents, given that the Committee released all the relevant information we had available,” Lucas wrote. “On February 14, 2024, the Committee sent a letter asking for clarification. You still have not responded to this request. Despite your silence, the Committee’s suspicions were recently confirmed when we received documents from an outside source proving CEQ did indeed withhold documents from the Committee.

The documents uncovered confirm that CEQ was significantly involved in the FAR Council’s proposed rule long after what CEQ had initially disclosed to the committee. Furthermore, the documents reveal the inappropriate influence exerted by officials when crafting the rule.

The new documents that the Committee reviewed show previously unseen communications between CEQ officials and the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP)/SBTi. Many of these documents provide further evidence CEQ lacked impartiality and was working from the very beginning to ensure that both CDP and SBTi would be written into the proposed rule,” Lucas wrote. “The withheld communications are not minor in nature: one email, from a senior CDP official, congratulated a CEQ employee for pulling off a ‘coup’ after the proposed rule was published. The Committee can only surmise this was in reference to having CDP and SBTi written into the proposed rule.

Considering these developments, the Chairman requests CEQ cease all further attempts to obstruct and delay the Committee’s investigation and immediately hand over all documents requested in the March 2023 letter.

Read the full letter to Chair Mallory here.