“The NRDC’s relationship with China has many of the criteria identified by U.S. intelligence agencies and law enforcement as putting an entity as risk of being influenced or coerced by foreign interests,”
Bonner R. Cohen
House Committee Probes Environmental Group’s Ties to China
High-ranking members of the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee are raising questions about the relationship between an influential American environmental group and a key geopolitical and economic rival of the United States.
The House Natural Resources Committee has opened an investigation into ties between the New York City-based Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the government of China.
Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (R–UT) and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chairman Bruce Westerman (R–AR) sent a letter to NRDC President Rhea Suh on June 5, seeking information on the organization’s relationship with China and clarification of its status as a foreign agent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).
“The Committee is concerned about the NRDC’s role in aiding China’s perception management efforts with respect to pollution control and its international standing on environmental issues in ways that may be detrimental to the United States,” Bishop and Westerman wrote.
Indications of Bias
The Bishop and Westerman letter lists several factors the congressmen say raise concerns NRDC may be violating FARA.
“The NRDC’s relationship with China has many of the criteria identified by U.S. intelligence agencies and law enforcement as putting an entity as risk of being influenced or coerced by foreign interests,” Bishop and Westerman wrote. “The NRDC’s involvement in China spans two decades and represents a significant investment of time and resources, [and] [t]he NRDC’s ability to work in China is dependent on the goodwill of the Chinese Government.
“When engaging on environmental issues concerning China, the NRDC appears to practice self-censorship, issue selection bias, and generally refrains from criticizing Chinese officials…”
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