FIRST ON FOX: Former Biden administration officials are entangled in a Michael Bloomberg campaign to block petrochemical projects nationwide while some organizations in the effort have collected millions of dollars in taxpayer-backed federal grants, records reviewed by Fox News Digital show.
The billionaire Democratic donor and former New York City mayor’s charity, Bloomberg Philanthropies, launched its $85 million Beyond Petrochemicals campaign last year in an effort to block the development of proposed petrochemicals projects in Texas, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio. At the time, Bloomberg said the campaign would help combat emissions and the climate crisis broadly.
‘Petrochemical plants poison our air and water — killing Americans and harming the health of entire communities. And with many heavily-polluting new projects planned around the U.S., we’re at a critical moment for stopping them,’ Bloomberg said.
‘Communities around the country are standing up to confront the petrochemical industry and defend their right to clean air and water,’ he continued. ‘This campaign will help ensure more local victories, support laws that protect communities from harm, and reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that are fueling the climate crisis.’
But the California-based Resources Legacy Fund — a left-wing dark money group with a history of funding environmental campaigns — has funneled money to Beyond Petrochemicals, according to Bloomberg’s group. Several individuals linked to the Resources Legacy Fund have served high-level stints in Biden’s administration, with one of them specifying petrochemicals as a primary area of concern.
For example, in early September, Gina McCarthy, President Biden’s former White House national climate adviser, joined the Resources Legacy Fund’s board of directors. The group’s president Avi Garbow lauded McCarthy and said she was among the ‘nation’s most respected voices on issues related to climate change.’
McCarthy’s former role likely affords her a pipeline to Biden’s White House. During her final days in the role, she met with environmental leaders, including at least three individuals at groups now involved with Bloomberg’s Beyond Petrochemicals campaign, such as the Environmental Defense Fund, EarthJustice, and We Act for Environmental Justice.
McCarthy also recently joined the Bloomberg-backed climate change advocacy group America Is All In as its managing co-chair, where she supports ‘cities, states, businesses and institutions to scale climate action across the country,’ the group wrote in August.
The former Biden official has identified the petrochemicals sector as a primary focus area for America Is All In, including the ‘growth of plastics and dealing with plastic pollution,’ E&E News reported.
In addition, Garbow, the president of the Resources Legacy Fund, has also previously served in the Biden administration. Garbow took a six-month role as senior counselor to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan in 2021.
On his LinkedIn profile, Garbow states he took a leave of absence ‘at the request of the White House’ to ‘help ensure that the Administration and EPA were positioned at the outset to successfully pursue an aggressive, protective, durable, and equitable environmental and climate agenda, and return EPA to its mission of protecting public health and the environment for all Americans.’
Under Regan’s leadership, the EPA has taken sweeping actions targeting the petrochemical industry in an effort to curb emissions and fight global warming. And, on behalf of the EPA, the Department of Justice has filed environmental litigation against petrochemical facilities in Louisiana.
‘For generations, our most vulnerable communities have unjustly borne the burden of breathing unsafe, polluted air,’ Regan said in April in St. John the Baptist Parish, Louisiana, upon announcing a slate of new regulations targeting the petrochemical industry.
‘When I visited St. John the Baptist Parish during my first Journey to Justice tour, I pledged to prioritize and protect the health and safety of this community and so many others that live in the shadows of chemical plants.’
Overall, the multibillion-dollar petrochemical industry is particularly prominent in Louisiana where it is a key driver of jobs and investment. The industry is also a central reason why the state is the third-largest consumer of petroleum and largest consumer of petroleum per capita in the nation, according to the Energy Information Administration.
Petrochemicals such as polyethylene, polypropylene, polymer and ethylene glycol are key components of products like cars, ropes, pipes, artifical turf, playground equipment and antifreeze.
However, the petrochemical industry has long been target of environmentalists who argue it is responsible for harmful emissions and pollution negatively impacting surrounding communities’ health.
Mark Kleinman, senior communications officer for Resources Legacy Fund, told Fox News Digital the organization is ‘proud to work with the nation’s leading thinkers and advocates to protect the health of communities and build a cleaner, more prosperous future.’
‘RLF serves as fiscal sponsor for the Beyond Petrochemicals Campaign, which means RLF provides administrative and grantmaking support,’ he added.
The group did not address questions regarding individuals associated with it having worked in the Biden administration.
Furthermore, representatives from Beyond Petrochemicals attended a July meeting with Michal Freedhoff, who serves as the assistant administrator in the EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, to urge them ‘to ban vinyl chloride,’ according to Ohio’s WFMJ.
Broadly, Beyond Petrochemicals seeks to leverage research, litigation, legislation, and stakeholder engagement to achieve its goals, which include blocking ‘the expansion of more than 120 proposed petrochemical and plastic projects’ in Louisiana, Texas, and the Ohio River Valley.’
It also seeks to establish ‘stricter rules for existing plants to safeguard the health of American communities,’ Bloomberg Philanthropies’ website states.
While Bloomberg Philanthropies says ‘over 50 partners’ are involved with the campaign, the website currently only identifies 18 by name. According to records, seven of those groups have garnered a combined $15.3 million in government grants from the Biden administration — with one group receiving a bulk of that sum.
The EPA recently awarded a $13 million grant to the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice, a Beyond Petrochemicals coalition member that seeks to develop ‘minority leadership in the areas of environmental, social, and economic justice along the Mississippi River Chemical Corridor and Gulf Coast Region,’ its website states.
The group received the grant as part of an effort to help ‘underserved and overburdened communities across the country access funds from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda for a variety of activities to advance environmental justice,’ the EPA said in an August announcement.
Bloomberg Philanthropies did not respond to a request for comment.