GOP Probes Radical Green Influence in Interior Department Policies

House lawmakers are preparing for a hearing to look at the influence of what some Republicans are calling “radical” environmental groups in the Department of the Interior. The Natural Resources Committee’s oversight and investigations panel, led by Rep. Paul Gosar, is concerned about the influence of these groups on the Biden administration’s environmental policies.

Republicans claim that Under Secretary Deb Haaland and the Department of the Interior have developed close relationships with what they consider to be “extreme environmental activist” groups. They are worried that these relationships may have led to improper influence over the administration’s environmental agenda. The GOP lawmakers list examples of alleged coordination between Haaland and left-wing activist groups, which they say shows the administration’s ties to organizations with social and environmental justice agendas.

The Republicans on the committee are particularly worried about the informal rule-making process, where they believe these activist groups may have hidden influence over policy decisions. They are concerned that the public may not be aware of the extent of these groups’ involvement in shaping environmental policies.

The committee plans to investigate whether the Department of the Interior has been coordinating with left-wing activist organizations and violating the Administrative Procedure Act during the rule-making process. They are particularly interested in exploring “ex parte communication,” or oral communications during face-to-face meetings between stakeholders and agency personnel related to rulemaking, which are not part of the written comment period.

The committee has invited witnesses to testify about these concerns, but some groups, such as the Wilderness Society and Pueblo Action Alliance, have declined to participate. The hearing will feature testimonies from experts on the influence of activist organizations in government decision-making.

The committee’s focus on the influence of these activist groups reflects the larger conservative concern about the role of outside organizations in shaping government policy. The Republicans are aiming to ensure transparency and fairness in the rule-making process, and to prevent what they see as undue influence from extreme environmental activist groups.

Written by Staff Reports

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