House Republicans warned Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Wednesday that lawsuits filed against the Pentagon by environmental advocacy groups in the U.S. may be unwittingly helping America’s adversaries, particularly China.
A letter sent by members of the House Committee on Natural Resources warned that “while some lawsuits represent sincere and justified concerns about the effect of federal actions on the environment, others may be maliciously filed to stop, restrict, delay, or impose additional costs on U.S. military activities.”
They wrote that the Navy has been restricted in testing and training due to litigation, citing lawsuits led by the Natural Resources Defense Council focusing on how marine life are impacted by the Navy’s use of active sonar and underwater explosives.
“Accordingly, environmental groups that bring such lawsuits may be knowingly or vulnerable to unwittingly serving as proxies for our foreign adversaries,” the letter states, before warning that such groups “could perform as self-funded, self-sufficient, and perpetual ‘launch and forget’ weapons.”
The letter comes after the committee raised red flags about the NRDC’s advocacy work, suggesting it is at risk of being coerced by China -- suggesting it may even need to register as a foreign agent.