FIRST ON FOX: Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Mich., sounded the alarm Monday on the Department of Energy's (DOE) work with a Chinese-connected organization pushing bans on gas stoves.
Huizenga — the top Republican on the House Financial Services Committee's oversight subcommittee — wrote 'with deep concerns' to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, noting that the Biden administration has granted 'elevated access' to the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) since taking office. The group has spearheaded a push to ban gas stoves and has demonstrated significant ties to the Chinese government.
'From the start, the Biden Administration has not been honest with the American people about its desire to ban gas stoves. That is why I introduced the STOVE Act to stop any potential ban,' Huizenga told Fox News Digital.
'Now as we learn more, I remain deeply concerned that the Biden Administration has granted elevated access to an entity with Chinese ties in pursuit of a radical energy agenda that will raise costs on American families and small businesses,' he continued. 'These actions cannot go unchecked and the American people deserve honest answers.'
In June 2021, Granholm privately met with former RMI CEO Jules Kortenhorst, Fox News Digital previously reported. Then, in March 2022, White House climate czar Ali Zaidi hosted three RMI leaders including Kortenhorst for a meeting in the West Wing of the White House, visitor logs showed.
Over the past two years, the federal government has awarded RMI millions of dollars in federal funding for various green energy projects. In March 2022, the same month as the meeting with Zaidi, the DOE awarded RMI with a $4.4 million grant to demonstrate 'an integrated retrofit package of envelope panels, a heat pump pod and innovative financing' in a Massachusetts building.
'Given China's active undermining of our nation's energy independence, RMI's blatant longtime connections to the Chinese government should be alarming to any member of the Cabinet,' Huizenga wrote in his letter to Granholm. 'Their ties are no secret.'
RMI is a member of the China Clean Transportation Partnership, a green group connected to the Chinese government, and its only office outside the U.S. is located in Beijing, China's capital city. And RMI board member Wei Ding previously served as the chairman of the China International Capital Corporation, a bank partially owned by the Chinese government.
The group also collaborated with the Chinese state agency National Development and Reform Commission to study net-zero pathways for the nation and is a member of the China Clean Transportation Partnership, a green group with significant ties to the Chinese government.
Overall, the Colorado-based organization has largely argued in favor of economy-wide electrification to combat climate change. As part of the effort, the group argues against gas stove usage, stating on its website that burning gas in buildings 'is not only a threat to climate action but also to human health.'
RMI recently made headlines after it funded a study that highlighted public health dangers posed by gas stove usage. The study was cited in a Bloomberg article in early January that included comments from a Consumer Product Safety Commission member who told the outlet a gas stove ban was 'on the table.'
Granholm posted about the study on social media, saying 'we can and must FIX this.'
Following widespread criticism of plans to restrict gas stove usage, the White House said it didn't support a ban on the appliance and Granholm called a ban 'ridiculous.'
However, several Republican lawmakers, in addition to Huizenga, have expressed concerns about how the administration has consulted with RMI on multiple occasions. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., said 'Biden’s people are using China-backed talking points to take away gas stoves' and Rep. Wesley Hunt, R-Texas added that 'China’s fingerprints seem to be on everything, including our energy policy.'
'Bureaucratic attempts to ban gas stoves in the United States would present an obvious and unreasonable burden on American families and businesses,' Huizenga concluded in his letter to Granholm. 'Considering RMI's ties to China, agencies should be more cautious in investigating the origin of any related idea that would impose costs on American families.'
In January, he and Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W.Va., introduced the Stop Trying to Obsessively Vilify Energy Act which would prohibit federal agencies from banning gas stoves or other gas-powered appliances.
But the DOE said Granholm's June 2021 meeting with RMI was about infrastructure and the White House said Zaidi's meeting was about jobs.
'This meeting was about adding to President Biden’s historic record of bringing more manufacturing jobs back to America and lowering energy costs, not a debunked conspiracy theory,' White House spokesperson Abdullah Hasan told Fox News Digital on Feb. 11.
'While the cynics try to serve up a story about Zaidi without sizzle or steak, he is working overtime to deliver substance — good jobs, cost savings, and a stronger American energy sector than ever before.'
The DOE didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.