by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The business arm of billionaire Democrat Tom Steyer’s political advocacy network worked behind the scenes with senior administration officials to undermine a study by a federally commissioned group that criticized environmental regulations, internal emails show.
Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), a Steyer-funded trade association, briefed senior administration officials on ways to preemptively debunk an anticipated study questioning EPA regulations’ impacts on the U.S. power grid.
Leading AEE’s effort was an executive who just months earlier had left a prominent position at the EPA. However, the agency says that he did not meet the statutory definition of a “senior official” and hence was not subject to lobbying restrictions placed on recently departed federal employees.
AEE is one of three politically oriented groups run out of and coordinated by Steyer’s office. While his political and policy efforts garner more press attention, emails obtained by the Energy and Environment (E&E) Legal Institute through Freedom of Information Act requests reveal ways in which his coalition of green energy businesses also affects public policy.
Arvin Ganesan, AEE’s vice president for federal policy, emailed a handful of EPA and White House staffers in January 2015. “Several of us talked last month about rebutting” a November study from the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), a nonprofit tasked by the federal government with monitoring and developing standards for electricity reliability.