Senate Dems challenge Trump's UN nominee on climate change

Senate Dems challenge Trump's UN nominee on climate change
© Keren Carrion

Three Senate Democrats on Friday called on Kelly Craft, President TrumpDonald John TrumpA better VA, with mental health services, is essential for America's veterans Pelosi, Nadler tangle on impeachment, contempt vote Trump arrives in Japan to kick off 4-day state visit MORE’s nominee to serve as United Nations ambassador, to commit to prioritizing U.S. interests on climate change over her financial interests.

In the letter, Sens. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyHillicon Valley: Assange hit with 17 more charges | Facebook removes record 2.2B fake profiles | Senate passes anti-robocall bill | Senators offer bill to help companies remove Huawei equipment Senate passes anti-robocall bill The Hill's 12:30 Report: Pelosi fires back in feud with Trump MORE (D-Mass.), Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyHillicon Valley: Assange hit with 17 more charges | Facebook removes record 2.2B fake profiles | Senate passes anti-robocall bill | Senators offer bill to help companies remove Huawei equipment The Hill's 12:30 Report: Pelosi fires back in feud with Trump Senators introduce bill to end warrantless searches of electronic devices at border MORE (D-Ore.) and Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseOvernight Energy: Democrats push EPA to collect 4K in 'excessive' Pruitt travel expenses | Greens angered over new rules for rocket fuel chemical | Inslee to join youth climate strikers in Las Vegas Democrats push EPA to collect 4K from Pruitt for 'excessive airfare expenses' Overnight Energy: Democrats ask if EPA chief misled on vehicle emissions | Dem senators want NBC debate focused on climate change | 2020 hopeful John Delaney unveils T climate plan MORE (D-R.I.) submitted a series of questions to Kelly Craft, who currently serves as the U.S. ambassador to Canada and was formally nominated for the U.N. ambassador position last week.

The three senators, in the letter, note Craft’s ties to the energy industry through more than $60 million in fossil fuel investments, as well as her husband Joe Craft, CEO of coal producer Alliance Resource Partners.

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“As our U.N. Ambassador, you would be responsible for representing the United States at the United Nations on matters affecting international cooperation and action to address the climate crisis,” the senators wrote.

"[W]e need assurances that, in connection with U.N. activities related to climate change, you will put our nation’s interests ahead of your personal financial interests,” they wrote.

Specifically, the letter asks whether Craft acknowledges climate change exists and is caused by human activity, whether she agrees with Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement and whether U.S. adherence to international climate agreements would impact her financial interests.

The letter also asks whether Craft believes her and her husband’s financial interests will affect her neutrality on climate issues.

“Should the United States fully withdraw from the Paris climate agreement – which President Trump has announced plans to do – the United Nations Ambassador becomes America’s chief diplomat on global climate change issues,” Markey said in a statement.

Craft's views on climate change have come into question before. In October 2017, soon after she was appointed to serve as ambassador to Canada, Craft told Canada's CBC News that she believes "both sides" of climate change science.

The U.S. Embassy in Ottawa did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.