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Emails Suggest Green NGOs Influence The EPA’s Agenda

Michael Bastasch, The Daily Caller

Emails released by congressional Republicans suggest environmentalists have used their cozy relationship with top Environmental Protection Agency officials to exert influence on public policy.

Republicans in the House and Senate have launched investigations into collusion between the EPA and the Natural Resources Defense Council, an influential environmental group. (RELATED: Republicans To Investigate Coziness Between The EPA And Enviros)

Louisiana Sen. David Vitter, who launched the investigation with California Rep. Darrell Issa, released emails Wednesday to bolster the case for their investigation.

“The EPA is clearly allowing the NRDC to assist in drafting federal regulation, with a heavy-hand in numerous economically destructive policies,” Vitter said. “This influence is putting American families and future generations on the hook for years of lost opportunity and regulatory burden.”

Issa and Vitter’s investigation stemmed from news reports that the NRDC essentially wrote the blueprint for the EPA’s latest global warming rule — which aims to cut carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants 30 percent by 2030.

The power plant rule is one of the most far-reaching rules ever proposed by the agency and could force some states to completely restructure their energy sectors. The rule has come under intense criticism from the Republicans, the coal industry and many other groups who are worried electricity prices will spike.

New emails released by Vitter suggest a level of collusion between federal officials and activists. The most telling email, one from 2011, contains no words in its body but contains the subject line, “Accepted: Meeting with NRDC on Section 111 Standards for Power Plants.” The meeting was set as NRDC was crafting a policy proposal to limit carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants.

NRDC lobbyists David Doniger, David Hawkins and Daniel Lashof “worked with a team of experts to write a 110-page proposal, widely viewed as innovative and audacious, that was aimed at slashing planet-warming carbon pollution from the nation’s coal-fired power plants,” The New York Times reported in July.

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