On February 25, 2021, Fox News reported the ranking Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, raised concerns about the work of President Biden’s Energy Secretary, Jennifer Granholm, with a group pushing for a ban on gas stoves.
Rodgers claimed the group has ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), raising questions about potential foreign influence on US energy policy.
Controversy arises over Chinese-linked Energy Foundation
The group in question is the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), a Colorado-based think tank that advocates for clean energy solutions.
RMI has been leading a campaign to phase out gas stoves and other gas appliances in homes and businesses, arguing they contribute to air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
The campaign has been gaining momentum in cities across the country, with several local governments considering bans or restrictions on gas appliances.
Rodgers’ concerns stem from the fact that RMI has received funding from the Energy Foundation, a nonprofit organization that has been linked to the CCP.
According to a report by the National Legal and Policy Center, the Energy Foundation has received millions of dollars from a Chinese billionaire, Ye Cheng, who has close ties to the CCP.
The report also alleges the Energy Foundation has funded RMI’s efforts to promote electric vehicles and renewable energy, as well as its campaign against gas appliances.
While @POTUS is focused on a “command and control” transition to unreliable and weather-dependent energy, @HouseCommerce is leading today for American energy to build a prosperous future – a future that is more secure, clean, and affordable. pic.twitter.com/SHPAwHEpdM
— CathyMcMorrisRodgers (@cathymcmorris) February 28, 2023
Rodgers has called for an investigation into the matter, stating, “we cannot allow China to use our own environmental policies against us and gain an economic advantage.”
Granholm defends association with RMI amid accusations of foreign influence
Granholm has defended her association with RMI, stating the organization has “done great work” on energy efficiency and she shares its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The Secretary of Energy likewise emphasized the Energy Department does not have the authority to put ban gas appliances, which would require action by state and local governments.
In response to the criticism, the White House clarified it did not support a ban on gas stoves and Granholm called the idea “ridiculous.”
However, some Republican lawmakers have raised concerns about the administration’s relationship with RMI.
Sen. Josh Hawley accused the Biden administration of using “China-backed talking points” to support the ban on gas stoves. He also raised concerns about RMI’s ties to the Energy Foundation.
Hawley has called for an investigation into the matter, stating “we need to know if foreign governments or entities are influencing our energy policy.”
The energy policies of the Biden administration are a national security risk. Dismantling our hydrocarbon infrastructure is playing right into the hands of China. No nation should be dependent on an adversarial nation for its energy supply. pic.twitter.com/ZlAJAoc87S
— Gary Palmer (@USRepGaryPalmer) February 28, 2023
Rep. Wesley Hunt has also expressed concerns about foreign influence on US energy policy, stating, “China’s fingerprints seem to be on everything, including our energy policy.”
Hunt has called for greater transparency and oversight to ensure environmental policies are driven by the best interests of the American people.