Emails Indicate Collusion Between EPA And Progressive Environmental Group

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A progressive advocacy group colluded with Obama administration officials to undermine a report critical of federal power plant regulations.

The Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), a green energy trade group backed by billionaire Democratic donor Tom Steyer, advised government officials on how to stymie a federally commissioned utility group study showing how Environmental Protection Agency regulations could impact America’s power grid. The emails were obtained by the Energy and Environment (E&E) Legal Institute through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Arvin Ganesan, AEE vice president for federal policy and former EPA employee, emailed EPA and White House staffers about ways of thwarting a study done by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), a non-profit group the U.S. government tasked with monitoring the electric grid.

“Several of us talked last month about rebutting,” Ganesan said about the study.

EPA critics have used NERC’s study to lambaste the impact of power plant regulations on the grid.

“NERC’s report underscores the growing reliability concerns with EPA’s unworkable plan,” Kentucky Republican Rep. Ed Whitfield, chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s panel on energy and power, said about NERC’s report.

AEE used its member companies to put the screws to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which overseeing NERC, Ganesan noted in one of the uncovered emails.

The EPA eventually set an appointment in February 2015 for Ganesan to meet with Joe Goffman, one of the principal designers of the agency’s power plant rule and a former colleague of Ganesan’s, as well as EPA administrator Janet McCabe. The visit was meant to hash out ways to thwart the study, according to media reports.

“All sounds very promising. We look forward to seeing the results,” Goffman wrote.

E&E attorney Chris Horner told reporters the entire incident is example of Obama’s unwillingness to crack down on federal employees who also act as industry lobbyists.

“These latest emails help illustrate—whatever executive orders and lobbying restrictions might say about ‘revolving doors’ and the like—the close and indeed enabling relationship between rent-seeking industry and the administration that seeks to ‘bankrupt’ those industries’ competitors,” Horner said about Obama’s relationships with renewable energy and coal companies in an interview with The Washington Free Beacon.

EPA, for its part, argues Ganesan was not technically a “senior official” while at the agency, thereby precluding him from abiding by rules disallowing former federal officials from lobbying past employers, or so-called revolving door laws.

Horner does not buy the regulator’s explanation.

Horner told The Washington Free Beacon in an interview that Ganesan’s machinations with the EPA are part of his overarching political efforts.

“Coming from AEE, this thread must be read as of a part with emails from Team Steyer boasting how groups they ‘founded and fund’ are ‘coordinated’ … to achieve that very same goal,” he told reporter Lachlan Markay in an email.

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