Oral Testimony on Extreme Environmental Activist Groups

Testimony before the House Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations

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Oral Testimony

to the

House Committee on Natural Resources
Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations
Rep. Paul Gosar, Chairman

Hearing on

“Examining the Influence of Extreme Environmental Activist Groups in the Department of the Interior”

Scott Walter
President, Capital Research Center

April 30, 2024

Chairman Gosar, Vice Chairman Collins, distinguished members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the honor of testifying. I’m president of the Capital Research Center, where we study radical activists.

I claim no expertise in climate science, environmental policy, and the like, but I am experienced in federal policymaking. That process requires the ability to join in honest debate, to recognize that all policy choices have trade-offs, and to engage rationally with people you may disagree with. Unfortunately, today’s radicals reject all these prerequisites to good public policy.

That’s why Pueblo Action Alliance (PAA) joined other radical groups in a violent protest at the Interior Department that led to over 50 arrests and sent at least one police officer to the hospital, yet Secretary Haaland’s child who works for the Alliance posted photos of this demonstration to Instagram and called her participation “an honor.”[1]

That’s why the Pueblo Action Alliance issued a statement on the death of George Floyd with hysterical language like, “The institution of policing in the United States was created to control, criminalize, and brutalize African and Indigenous peoples on stolen land. Modern Amerikkkan [spelled with three ks] police descend directly from slave patrols and settler militias…. Police and armed US state agents … are working today as they’ve always been designed to – as tools of racist settler-colonial capitalist and imperialist violence, hand in hand with white vigilante terrorists.”[2]

That statement was issued in conjunction with the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party, which seeks “the total liberation and unification of Africa under Scientific Socialism.”[3] This extremist group was founded by an African dictator who received the Lenin Peace Prize from the Soviet Union.[4]

Pueblo Action Alliance is tied to another Communist dictatorship through its alliance with Cuba’s Venceremos Brigades. The Alliance’s “creative strategist” glamorizes Cuban tyranny, saying he “experienced reverse culture shock” when returning to American from Cuba, a country Freedom House rates “Not Free,” because “Cuba’s one-party communist state outlaws political pluralism, bans independent media, suppresses dissent, and severely restricts basic civil liberties.”[5]

This is not idealism. It’s nihilism. The utopian nihilism of extremists often ends in violent bloodshed. It never ends in good policies that sane Americans desire.

So it’s shocking the Interior Department not only treats Pueblo Action Alliance as a source of policy wisdom but also appears to have made official policy with bias toward the Alliance and provided improper assistance to the Alliance.[6] In one notorious case, Interior ignored the Navajo Nation while crafting a policy that costs thousands of Navajos millions of dollars, push tribe members “into greater poverty,” according to the Standing Committee of the 25th Navajo Nation Council.[7]

This Committee’s letters to the Interior Department document multiple meetings between the Secretary and Pueblo Action Alliance officials. The Secretary has promoted PAA by having its insignia appear in public photographs beginning her first day in office. PAA has promoted itself by such means as posting these photographs on its Instagram account.[8] Activists have promoted Secretary Haaland’s involvement[9] in a film produced by the Director of PAA which demands that oil, gas, and mineral leasing outside of the Chaco Culture National Historical Park be ended—a question on which the Secretary officially ruled in favor of PAA’s demand. And finally, there are the many ways that the Secretary appears to be influenced by her adult child, Somah. No wonder the Committee is deeply concerned that PAA may have improperly received nonpublic information from the Department.

The Wilderness Society is another example of environmental extremism influencing Interior. I note it refused, as did the Pueblo Alliance, to testify today. Again, radicals refuse honest debate. The Wilderness Society’s governing council has two leaders from the most notorious source of foreign “dark money” in politics today: Molly McUsic, head of both the Wyss Foundation and its Berger Action Fund “dark money” group, and the foreign national billionaire Hansjörg Wyss himself.[10] The Society has worked with high-ranking Interior personnel on issues like the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge[11] and achieved policy victories.[12]

Other “dark money” actors powerfully influencing Interior include the Arabella network to which Wyss has given hundreds of millions[13] and the League of Conservation Voters, whose extremist founder radicalized Arabella’s founder and who suggested, “someday childbearing will be deemed a punishable crime against society unless the parents hold a government license.”[14]

Clearly, radical environmentalists are exercising considerable sway over the Interior Department. Americans, especially the poor, deserve to enjoy the benefits of inexpensive energy and abundant resources. Please protect them from the radicals.

Thank you.


[1] Paul Farrell, “Interior Secretary’s Daughter Is a High-Ranking Member of a Radical Group Responsible for the Violent Protest at Their Mom’s Department in DC That Was ‘Reminiscent of January 6,’” Daily Mail, March 30, 2023, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11713413/Interior-secretarys-daughter-Deb-Haaland-high-ranking-member-radical-environmentalist-group.html.

[2] Pueblo Action Alliance, “Justice for George Floyd,” https://www.puebloactionalliance.org/blog/justice-for-george-floyd.

[3] All-African People’s Revolutionary Party, “About the A-APRP,” https://aaprp-intl.org/about-aaprp/.

[4] BBC News Pidgin, “Kwame Nkrumah Quotes, Biography and What to Know About de Ghanaian Late Politician and Memorial Day,” September 21, 2021, https://www.bbc.com/pidgin/tori-58639237.

[5] Freedom House, “Cuba,” https://freedomhouse.org/country/cuba.

[6] Bruce Westerman and Paul A. Gosar, letter to Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and Heather Gottry, October 13, 2023, https://naturalresources.house.gov/uploadedfiles/haaland_impartiality_and_misuse_of_office.pdf.

[7] Quoted in Tom Joyce, “Navajo Nation Rejects Proposed Chaco Canyon Buffer,” Center Square, May 3, 2023, https://www.thecentersquare.com/new_mexico/article_5bb6556e-e9f6-11ed-a681-1f3ccee2b6f0.html.

[8] Pueblo Action Alliance (puebloactionalliance), “Greetings relatives. . . .,” Instagram, January 7, 2021, https://www.instagram.com/p/CJwfQ9Wlkvg.

[9] Video Project, “The Indigenous Led Fight to Protect Greater Chaco,” https://www.videoproject.org/our-story.html.

[10] Wilderness Society, “Our Governing Council,” https://www.wilderness.org/about-us/our-team/our-governing-council.

[11] Tommy Beaudreau, “Meeting with Defenders of Wildlife et al RE: Izembek Fri 12/2/2022 04:30 PM – 05:00 PM,” p. 15, https://www.doi.gov/sites/doi.gov/files/beaudreau-calendar-dec-2022-redacted.pdf.

[12] Tim Woody, “Biden Administration Rescinds Land Exchange, Protects Izembek,” Wilderness Society, March 14, 2023, https://www.wilderness.org/articles/press-release/biden-administration-rescinds-land-exchange-protects-izembek.

[13] Americans for Public Trust, “Foreign Influence in U.S. Elections: How Swiss Billionaire Hansjörg Wyss and the Arabella Advisors Network Uses Foreign Dark Money to Sway American Politics and Policy,” July 2023, https://americansforpublictrust.org/document/report-foreign-influence-in-u-s-elections/.

[14] Friends of the Earth, Progress as If Survival Mattered (San Francisco: Friends of the Earth, 1977), pp. 16–17.

Scott Walter

Scott Walter is president of Capital Research Center. He served in the George W. Bush Administration as Special Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy and was vice president at…
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