Many have pushed to ban U.S. energy cultivation in areas like fossil-fuel exploration and natural-gas fracking, which would force the U.S. back into foreign-energy dependency.
Because these environmental groups contribute millions of dollars to U.S. political campaigns and spend even more filing lawsuits against policies they dislike, the federal government should ask whether the agenda these groups are pushing is malicious, Cheney said.
“Environmental groups are major contributors to U.S. political campaigns and have filed hundreds of lawsuits against the Trump Administration in an effort to advance their agendas,” she wrote.
“This robust political and judicial activism—combined with the fact that these groups often espouse views that align with those of our adversaries—makes it all the more critical that the Department is aware of any potential foreign influence within or targeting these groups,” she added.
Cheney specifically named the Natural Resources Defense Council, Sea Change and the Sierra Club as groups that could be subject to “Chinese and Russian attempts to influence environmental and energy policy in the U.S.,” the letter states.
A 2017 investigation by Reps. Randy Weber and Lamar Smith, both Texas Republicans, found that “entities connected to the Russian government” were giving thousands of dollars to Sea Change the Sierra Club.
Philanthropist Nat Simons, who helps run the Sea Change foundation, denied the allegations, as did Sierra Club legislative director Melinda Pierce.
The NRDC has a history of working with the Chinese Communist Party, Cheney noted, and has consistently praised the CCP for pushing China to become a “global environmental leader.”
“Malign influence efforts by Russia or China, whether related to U.S. energy policy or politics, are a threat to this nation and must be combated,” Cheney wrote.