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Lankford, Hoeven, Colleagues Lead Efforts to Stop Defense Department’s Costly Green New Deal Mandates

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) joined Senator John Hoeven (R-ND) and 48 of their colleagues to lead efforts to stop the Department of Defense (DOD) from imposing a new environmental rule on federal contractors, both large and small, that would drive up costs for our national defense. Hoeven was joined by all Republican senators in pressing for DOD to drop the newly proposed rule requiring burdensome greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reporting.

DOD’s proposal would require those receiving more than $7.5 million in federal contracts to provide a detailed accounting of GHG emissions within one year. Additionally, the rule would require those receiving more than $50 million in contracts to develop reduction targets within two years. The proposed rule was published in November and the comment period for the rule goes through January 13, 2023, after which a final rule will be formulated.

In a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, the Senators strongly oppose the rule and outline concerns with the proposal, including: the significant regulatory burden in requiring a company to report not only its own emissions but emissions that occur elsewhere; increased costs resulting in budget inefficiencies at DOD; and the potential use of environmental reports in awarding future contracts.

“DOD’s proposed rule on GHG emissions disclosures is self-defeating. It undercuts our industrial base, drives up costs and puts environmentalism over national security. As such, it is at odds with the DOD’s mission and should be rescinded immediately,” the 50 Senators write.

Lankford also joined Hoeven and Senators Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Roger Marshall (R-KS), James Inhofe (R-OK), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Deb Fischer (R-NE), John Barrasso (R-WY), Rick Scott (R-FL), James Risch (R-ID), Mike Crapo (R-ID), and Ted Cruz (R-TX) in introducing the Focus on the Mission Act to block the rule.

The full text of the letter is available HERE and below:

Dear Mr. Secretary,

We write to express serious concerns with the Department of Defense’s (DOD) proposed rule to require contractors to provide extensive information related to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. We do not believe this rule serves the best interests of DOD, our warfighters or our national security, and therefore ask that you rescind the proposed rule.

On November 14, 2022, DOD, in conjunction with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the General Services Administration (GSA), proposed a rule related to the ‘Disclosure of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Climate-Related Financial Risk.” This rule would require certain Federal contractors to disclose their GHG emissions and climate-related financial risk, as well as to set targets to reduce GHG emissions. We have three broad concerns about the content and implications of the proposed rule.

First, the rule would impose significant regulatory burdens on defense contractors. It would require a company to account not only for its own emissions but for emissions that occur elsewhere if they are associated with the company’s activities under a defense contract. Contractors will incur significant costs in providing this information, and some will decide they are unable or unwilling to meet this regulatory burden. The rule thus threatens to accelerate the decline of our industrial base and is particularly shortsighted at a time when we must ask the defense industry to speed up production of a variety of weapon systems and munitions.

Second, the rule will increase costs on the Defense Department and result in budget inefficiencies. Extensive GHG disclosures will increase contractor costs, and those costs inevitably will be passed back to DOD in the form of higher bids on future contracts. We repeatedly hear DOD leaders talk about the need to wring efficiencies out of every dollar appropriated in the budget, and yet DOD in essence seeks to self-impose cost increases through the proposed rule.

Third, the proposed rule suggests that in making future contract awards, DOD, will prioritize the reduction of GHG emissions over the best value to the warfighter. Under the proposed rule, ‘”major contractors” who receive more than $50 million in contract funding in a given year must develop targets for reducing GHG emissions that are ”in line with reductions that the latest climate science deems necessary to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.” DOD would have no reason to require such targets if it did not intend to use them as a factor in awarding future contracts.

DOD’s proposed rule on GHG emissions disclosures is self-defeating. It undercuts our industrial base, drives up costs, and puts environmentalism over national security. As such. it is at odds with DOD’s mission and should be rescinded immediately. Thank you for your attention to this matter.