Former Democratic senators Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) and Mary Landrieu (La.) are joining a group that promotes natural gas.
A press release from the group, called Natural Allies for a Clean Energy Future, said the ex-senators would be joining its leadership council, which seeks to promote the use of the fossil fuel in the energy transition.
While natural gas releases fewer planet-warming emissions than fuels like coal and oil when burned, many climate advocates are critical of it. They note that it still releases greenhouse gas emissions into the air when burned, unlike clean energy sources such as solar, wind and nuclear, and point out that it has additional releases during production and processing.
In an interview, Heitkamp said in the role, she’ll be working toward “changing hearts and minds of people in the climate movement” so that they view natural gas more favorably.
Landrieu said they’d be more focused on supporting natural gas generally than on honing in on specific policies or ideas.
“We’re not lobbying for any federal or state or local policy, just touting the science and the benefits of this really remarkable asset,” she said.
Landrieu’s brother, Mitch Landrieu, was recently named by the White House as a senior adviser and infrastructure coordinator.
The former senator, however, said that her work was separate from her brother’s and did not necessarily reflect his opinions.
“As our siblings will tell you, my influence with my younger brother is limited now and has been since he was about 5 years old!” she said in a follow-up text message.