Bush-Era EPA Chief Attacking Trump’s Climate Policies Is A Green Energy Lobbyist

Chris White | Energy Reporter

The George W. Bush-era EPA chief who recently criticized President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to head the agency worked for years lobbying various green energy projects, according to documents obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Documents show that former EPA administrator Christine Todd Whitman spent the last ten years lobbying the agency on behalf of a company seeking investment avenues for solar panel companies. The revelation comes shortly after Whitman called Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt a “climate denialist.”

Pruitt is facing a bruising nomination process before becoming the president-elect’s first EPA chief.

Whitman Strategy Group, the firm Whitman started shortly after her tenure with the agency, refutes claims it is a lobbyist. It argues instead that the firm merely helps companies lessen their carbon footprint.

Jane Kenny, a partner with Whitman’s firm, told The Daily Caller News Foundation that “Whitman Strategy Group does not lobby. We work with clients who are trying to improve their environmental footprint from cleaning contaminated sites to supporting clean energy technologies.”

Lobbying reports filed with the Clerk of the House of Representatives Legislative Resource Center suggest otherwise.

Whitman’s firm lobbied the EPA, the Council On Environmental Quality, and the Department of the Interior, among other government agencies, between 2007 and 2009 on behalf of LS Power Development, an energy investment group that emphasizes responsible environmental stewardship. Her group received about $320,000 in seven installments from the green company for its effort.

LS Power operates renewable power plants, such as solar power projects, as well as natural gas-fired and fossil fuel-powered plants. The company sunk a total of $3 billion in capital investment projects, according to the LS Power website.

The former New Jersey governor’s firm raked in another $360,000 from several other environmentally-based companies throughout the mid-2000s — including $100,000 from Locus Technologies, a green tech company specializing in environment, health, and safety compliance.

Evidence of Whitman’s history of providing access to the EPA for green companies comes shortly after the former agency head accused President-elect Donald Trump of potentially torpedoing climate policies.

She believes Trump’s policy objectives — as well as those propagated by Pruitt — could essentially buck the advice and counsel of the entire scientific community. Whitman, who bucked her party and voted for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for president, did suggest that Pruitt will be hampered by reality.

“Once he’s in office, Pruitt will find it’s a lot more complicated than they thought,” Whitman said in an interview with the BBC on Jan. 2. “Hopefully they’ll be able to listen – and then start to moderate. Regulation can go too far and there probably are regulations that have outlived their usefulness and need to be cut back to a degree … but to throw it all out… .”

Trump made axing large portions of the agency’s regulations a cog in his campaign message, especially in so-called “Coal Country,” where Obama’s Clean Power Plan contributed to the shuttering of several coal power plants.

Democrat lawmakers accuse Pruitt of being a “climate denier” and a shill for the fossil fuel industry. Whitman has made similar complaints. NPR’s David Greene, for instance, asked her in December to point to a single time Pruitt denied that climate change is happening. She was unable to answer the question.

Instead, she said Pruitt’s “actions” and criticisms targeting the EPA are a form of denial.

“It’s a little bit like Donald Trump,” Whitman said. “I mean, do you believe what he says or what he does? He says he wants to talk about climate change. But the people he appoints are people who have, time and again, sued the agency or said things that would indicate that they really don’t believe that climate change is a serious issue. It’s concerning.”

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Tags : christine todd whitman donald trump energy environmental protection agency george w bush scott pruitt
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