The White House climate czar met privately with an environmental group pushing for a ban on gas stoves
FIRST ON FOX: White House climate czar Ali Zaidi, who is also President Biden’s aide, met privately with three officials from the Colorado-based Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), an environmental group that is pushing for a ban on gas stoves .
Zaidi met Jules Kortenhorst, then CEO of RMI; John Coequyt, director of government affairs at RMI; and Sarah Ladislaw, former RMI chief executive and U.S. program manager, on March 17, 2022, in the West Wing of the White House, according to visitor logs reviewed by Fox News Digital. The three officials have extensive records in favor of net-zero emissions and climate policies aimed at weaning the United States from fossil fuels.
“This meeting was meant to add to President Biden’s historic record of bringing more manufacturing jobs back to America and lowering energy costs, not a debunked conspiracy theory,” the White House spokesperson said, Abdullah Hasan, at Fox News Digital. “While cynics try to tell a story about Zaidi without sizzle or steak, he is working overtime to deliver substance – good jobs, cost savings and a stronger-than-ever American energy sector.”
Topics covered in the four-person meeting were not included in the visitor logs. RMI did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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The revelation that Zaidi, who heads the White House Office of Climate Policy, met with RMI leaders comes shortly after Fox News Digital reported that Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm met with Kortenhorst a year earlier. The Department of Energy said the June 2021 meeting focused on building support for the infrastructure law passed later that year, not appliances.
But the White House meeting indicates how the Biden administration has developed a close relationship with RMI, an influential nonprofit that works to accelerate the global transition to green energy, including through electrification at home. economy scale.
White House visitor records also showed that Kortenhorst and Coequyt also attended the White House ceremony celebrating the passage of the Cut Inflation Act. The RMI Twitter account thanked Biden for inviting members of RMI’s public policy team to the White House for the event.
RMI staff also raised $13,132 for Biden’s 2020 campaign, according to election documents. And Ladislaw, who was one of the officials who participated in the March 2022 meeting with Zaidi, left RMI last month to join the White House National Security Council in a climate and energy role.
Another former senior RMI official, Elizabeth Hartman, joined the Department of Energy as head of the strategic innovation and outreach program this month. Hartman had worked at RMI in a variety of roles, including chief of staff and director of the group’s electrical practice.
“Across the United States, millions of homes and apartments depend on gas appliances for heating and cooking,” RMI says on its website. “The burning of gases in buildings is not only a threat to climate action but also to human health, as these devices are sources of indoor air pollution.”
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RMI recently made headlines after funded a study that found public health hazards posed by the use of gas stoves. The study was cited in a Bloomberg article in early January that included comments from a member of the Consumer Product Safety Commission who told the outlet that a ban on gas stoves was “on the table “.
After much criticism from industry groups and Republican lawmakers, the White House finally came out against a ban on gas stoves, saying it would not support such a move.
A White House official told Fox News Digital on Saturday that natural gas production is at record highs and is on track to continue growing.
The DOE and other federal agencies have, however, moved forward with hundreds of actions regulating appliances, including gas stoves, as part of the Biden administration’s broader climate agenda over the past year. The actions, which have been backed by pro-electrification groups like RMI, were championed at the White House Electrification Summit in December.
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“Are we going to get ahead and exploit all the economic opportunities that are available to us?” Zaidi remarked during the summit.
“We’re talking about electric heat pumps, we’re talking about electric tractors now, we’re talking about electricity literally in all sectors of the economy,” he added. “Industrial processes go electric, agricultural processes go electric, buildings go electric.”
Despite the White House’s reluctance to support a ban on gas stoves, Democratic-led cities and states have already approved measures banning natural gas hookups in new construction.
In addition, RMI maintains important ties with the Chinese government and authorities. For example, the group has collaborated with the Chinese state agency’s National Development and Reform Commission to study pathways to net zero for the nation and is a member of the China Clean Transportation Partnership, a green group with ties. important with the Chinese government.
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Wei Ding, a member of RMI’s board of directors, was previously chairman of China International Capital Corporation, a bank partly owned by the Chinese government.
“Who benefits from all this? Communist China,” Sen. JD Vance, R-Ohio, told the Washington Free Beacon in January. “I think it’s time for the Chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission to answer a few questions before Congress, under oath.”