EXCLUSIVE: Senator Ted. Cruz, R-Texas, led a coalition of 12 other Republicans on Monday and wrote to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to express concern about a recent climate rule that could affect the agency’s mission.
In the letter, Cruz — the leading member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation — and all other committee Republicans demanded that NASA Administrator Bill Nelson waive the rule proposed in November requiring federal contractors to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. ) to announce. facts. The 13 GOP lawmakers said the ordinance was not based on science and would lead to political favoritism.
“Congress has never given NASA or the other cooperating agencies the legal authority to set greenhouse gas emission standards for themselves or their contractors,” Cruz and the other Republicans on the committee wrote.
“In terms of environmental benefits, the proposed rule admits that they are difficult to even quantify and that ‘increased public transparency and accountability may prompt suppliers to take action following a ‘what is measured, is managed’ mantra.”
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Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks at a Senate hearing on March 8, 2022. (Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
The letter argued that the “highly politicized regulation” would divert the agency’s attention from its stated mission to “explore the unknown in air and space, innovate for the benefit of humanity, and inspire the world through discovery.”
On Nov. 14, NASA issued the proposed rule in conjunction with the Department of Defense (DOD) and General Services Administration (GSA). In addition to the greenhouse gas disclosure requirement, federal contractors would be required to disclose climate-related financial “risk” and to set “science-based” targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
The rule came days after President Biden announced it at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Egypt. The White House said the rule was part of Biden’s “leadership to implement the first comprehensive, government-wide strategy to measure, disclose, manage and mitigate the systemic risks climate change poses to American families.”
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However, Republicans on the Trade Committee said the rule was unnecessary and would increase costs.
“The ordinance is estimated to increase the total cost of federal agencies and contractors by nearly $4 billion,” continued the Republicans’ letter to Nelson. “If NASA does not need any of these funds to fulfill its mission, then those funds should be returned to the Treasury.”
“The cost to individual contractors, many of which are small businesses, would be hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars upfront and annually thereafter. Smaller companies with limited resource flows compared to larger companies may need to exit the government contracting market or consolidate with other entities.”
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson speaks at a media briefing on Oct. 11, 2022. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Cruz and the other Republicans added that the rule would reduce competition among contractors, warning that it is “a major problem that federal contracts already face.”
Lawmakers also expressed concern that the rule defers judgment on standards to the Science-Based Targets Initiative, an international climate-focused organization. They said the group has not yet published new greenhouse gas emission guidelines for the fossil fuel and mining industries, “making it impossible to comply.”
The NASA, DOD, and GSA ordinance also exempts tribes, nonprofits, universities, state and local governments that Republicans wrote seemed like the Biden administration was less concerned about science and more concerned about political nepotism towards interest groups.
“Besides enriching the political left-wing advisers who will supposedly monitor a company’s impact on greenhouse gas emissions, there is no practical way to verify or verify the validity of these disclosures,” the letter concluded.
“However, this ‘data’ could lead to numerous lawsuits and enforcement actions that will increase costs and delays associated with federal procurement.” They wrote. “The only real beneficiaries of this proposed rule are nonprofits, consultants and litigators who claim to be self-proclaimed guardians against weather-related disasters.”
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson speaks during a visit to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Goddard Space Flight Center on Nov. 5, 2021, in Greenbelt, Maryland. ((Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images))
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“After repeated failed attempts to enact radical environmental policies through legislation, this proposed rule is another example of the government’s strategy of carrying out its agenda through unelected bureaucrats. Such undemocratic policy-making will only serve to raise costs, reduce progress, and have a chilling effect on needed energy investment in the United States.”
Republican Senator John Thune of South Dakota, Roger Wicker of Mississippi, Deb Fischer of Nebraska, Jerry Moran of Kansas, Dan Sullivan of Alaska, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Todd Young of Indiana, Ted Budd of North Carolina, Eric Schmitt of Missouri, JD Vance of Ohio, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming signed the letter.
NASA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Thomas Catenacci is a political writer for Fox News Digital.