GOP senators: GHG regulation would needlessly burden defense contractors

By Ben Dupont / January 9, 2023 at 12:07 PM

Republican senators are urging the Pentagon to reverse course on a proposed rule that would mandate detailed tracking and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions for defense contractors, which they contend would drive up costs and prioritize "environmentalism" over national security.

The proposed rule would “require those receiving more than $7.5 million in federal contracts to provide a detailed accounting of GHG emissions within one year,” Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) said in a statement last week.

Published on Nov. 11, 2022, the proposed rule would classify every company receiving between $7.5 and $50 million in federal contracts as a “significant contractor” that must follow the guidelines. Those receiving more than $50 million would be considered major contractors and, in addition to meeting the regulation, must “set science-based targets to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.”

In a Dec. 19, 2022 letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, all 50 GOP senators in the 117th Congress said the rule would “impose significant regulatory burdens on defense contractors,” requiring that a company “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.”

The letter also contends the rule would increase costs and “result in budget inefficiencies” and might lead DOD, in future contract awards, to “prioritize the reduction of GHG emissions over the best value to the warfighter.”

The proposed rule is “self-defeating,” the letter adds. “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 As such, it is at odds with the DOD’s mission and should be rescinded immediately.”

Lankford last year joined Hoeven and 14 other Republican senators in introducing a bill that would prevent the GHG rule from being implemented.

Public comments on the rule, which was proposed by the Defense Department, the General Services Administration and NASA, are due on Jan. 13.