The Biden administration sent another $1.6 million to a Beijing-backed green energy company even after Republicans warned the administration that the investment “impacts the national security of the United States.”
President Joe Biden’s Energy Department on Thursday announced the seven-figure award to LanzaTech, a carbon capture company that in April 2021 inked a partnership with Sinopec Capital, the clean energy investment arm of a Chinese state-owned oil conglomerate. This is not the first time the department has showered LanzaTech with taxpayer cash—the company received more than $10 million in grant payments in the months after it partnered with China, the Washington Free Beacon reported in December.
Those payments alarmed Senate Republicans, with Wyoming’s John Barrasso urging Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm in a December letter to stop “making the same mistake of enriching China’s technological efforts at the expense of taxpayers.” “The awarding of these grants and loans,” Barrasso wrote, “directly impacts the national security of the United States.” Arkansas’s Tom Cotton similarly implored the Biden administration to stop “handing millions of taxpayer dollars to a Chinese-backed company” and instead encourage “American energy production and energy independence.”
Biden’s Energy Department, however, failed to heed the warnings. For Barrasso, the department’s decision to stand by LanzaTech is “outrageous” given the company’s “direct ties to communist China.”
“This isn’t about protecting the environment,” Barrasso told the Free Beacon. “The White House is using its far-left climate policies as an excuse to send taxpayer money to help countries that hate us.”
Biden’s latest LanzaTech grant could prompt additional inquiries from congressional Republicans, who are threatening to subpoena environmental groups over ties to China and Russia. “If there’s evidence the Chinese government is funding their actions, we have to go after them,” House Natural Resources chair Bruce Westerman (R., Ark.) said in December. “I don’t care what kind of group they are.”
The Energy Department did not return a request for comment. It has chosen to funnel millions in public funds to LanzaTech despite the company’s federal financial disclosures, which note “that the Chinese government may intervene or influence our operations at any time.” LanzaTech’s filings also acknowledge that the company’s partnerships with Sinopec and other Chinese entities could bring “complications” and “restrictions” should the United States bring “sanctions on certain Chinese individuals.”
Beyond LanzaTech’s relationship with Sinopec, the company has raised millions from CITIC Capital, a subsidiary of China’s largest state-run conglomerate. LanzaTech’s board of directors includes Bo Ren, who worked at CITIC’s brokerage arm.
The Biden administration’s affinity with LanzaTech may be explained by the company’s deep political connections to top Democrats. LanzaTech counts billionaire venture capitalist Vinod Khosla as a top investor—Khosla in 2008 led then-presidential candidate Barack Obama’s India policy team and hosted glitzy fundraisers for the Democrat. Jim Messina, Obama’s former deputy chief of staff and campaign manager, went on to join LanzaTech’s board in 2013.