EXCLUSIVE: President Biden’s pick for a top Department of Transportation (DOT) post quietly disclosed a significant stake in an oil and gas development firm despite her past climate activism.
Ann Carlson — an environmental law expert whom Biden nominated in February to lead the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) — owns a financial stake of up to $50,000 in Oklahoma-based upstream fossil fuel developer Eastman Dillon Oil & Gas Associates Partnership, according to her disclosure filed in March and obtained by the American Accountability Foundation (AAF).
Carlson, who was first appointed in early 2021 to oversee climate standards for cars and trucks at NHTSA as the agency’s chief counsel, has for years argued in favor of policies increasing the price of traditional energy to incentivize green alternatives. For example, in 2008, she argued for a cap-and-trade scheme regulating carbon emissions, saying it would increase prices and incentivize industry changes.
“The news about this shift away from coal is mostly good, but the drop in natural gas prices has a significant downside for transitioning to a low or zero carbon electricity sector. Natural gas prices are so cheap that they’re displacing investments in renewable energy, particularly wind,” Carlson wrote in June 2012 blog post.
In addition, in 2017 and 2018, Carlson helped coordinate high-profile climate nuisance lawsuits filed by a dark money-fueled law firm against fossil fuel companies. The firm, California-based Sher Edling, has filed more than a dozen such lawsuits on behalf of cities, counties and several states.
And, in emails previously reviewed by Fox News Digital, Carlson told her past colleagues at the University of California, Los Angeles, that she had been selected to serve at NHTSA in a climate-focused role. She even said in one email that her selection was “evidence that the Biden Administration is truly committed to a ‘whole of government’ approach to addressing climate change.”
“Ann Carlson’s calls for higher energy prices are heartless and extreme, revealing a shocking disregard for the wellbeing of regular Americans,” AAF President Tom Jones told Fox News Digital. “But the fact that she makes these fanatical statements while her own family is invested in oil and gas is not only stunningly hypocritical; she would potentially benefit financially from her own sanctimonious ideas.
“This raises serious ethical concerns regarding her nomination,” Jones continued. “The American people deserve a government they can trust, made up of officials above the suspicion of self-dealing. Ann Carlson must answer these serious questions before her nomination proceeds.”
Eastman Dillon Oil & Gas Associates Partnership, the firm Carlson disclosed an investment in, states in its Texas certificate of limited partnership that it engages generally in “any and all phases of the oil and gas business” and that its partnership has the power “to drill for, produce, save and sell oil, gas and other hydrocarbon substances.” The firm currently has interests in at least five producing gas wells in Texas, state records showed.
Carlson’s husband, Carl Moor, a California Superior Court associate justice, appears to be related to Donell Moor, who is listed as an initial limited partner in Eastman Dillon Oil & Gas Associates Partnership. Carlson’s ethics disclosure from 2021, though, didn’t include any mention of her family’s up to $50,000 stake in the firm.
“Ann Carlson’s repeated calls to raise energy prices have been central to her climate alarmist advocacy, but she’s conveniently left out mention of her financial interest in natural gas well leases,” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, the ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee, told Fox News Digital in a statement.
“Carlson has signaled that she intends to use her role as administrator of the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration to further her crusade against fossil fuels, but with her investment in the oil and gas business, her attacks on American energy reek of hypocrisy,” the top Republican lawmaker continued.
Cruz led a letter signed by every Senate Commerce Committee Republican earlier this month highlighting their concerns about Carlson’s nomination. The Republicans expressed concern NHTSA, under Carlson’s leadership, was poised to pursue vehicle fuel economy standards that “impose higher costs on American families and undermine our national and energy security all while benefiting China.”
NHTSA didn’t respond to a request for comment.