Amos Hochstein: Diplomat or Fossil Fuel lobbyist?FOIA request targets polluter involvement with US-EU Energy Task Force
WASHINGTON – Friends of the Earth filed a Freedom of Information request today targeting the fossil fuel entanglements of Amos Hochstein, Senior Advisor for Energy Security at the State Department. Before returning to the State Department in August 2021, Hochstein enjoyed a profitable run in the private sector that included consulting and speaking fees from fossil fuel interests and an executive position at LNG developer Tellurian.
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Hochstein has assumed a leading role in the newly established US-EU Energy Security Task Force, whose mandate includes increasing LNG exports to Europe. The FOIA request filed today by Friends of the Earth, which is being represented by the public interest law firm Eubanks & Associates, PLLC, seeks to uncover the fossil fuel industry’s role in – and influence over – this new Task Force, as well as communications between Hochstein and State Department career ethics officials.
“A former LNG executive presiding over an official effort to increase LNG exports is disturbing to say the least,” said Lukas Ross, Program Manager at Friends of the Earth. “This conflict of interest is flatly at odds with President Biden’s climate commitments.”
According to an ethics disclosure acquired and released by the Revolving Door Project, Hochstein was paid handsomely by Tellurian, including $623,155 in salary, $86,230 in severance, and between $100,001 and $1 million in restricted stock options. He also disclosed a $10,000 speaking fee from Dorian LPG, a liquid petroleum shipper, and $75,000 in consulting from Dana Gas, a natural gas company based in the United Arab Emirates.
“Open government is a central hallmark of our democracy,” said Hallie Templeton, Legal Director of Friends of the Earth. “The importance of this principle cannot be overstated, and Friends of the Earth intends to utilize all available avenues under federal law to uncover potential bias and influence over our country’s response to the crisis in Ukraine.”
Although leading LNG exporter Cheniere recently disclosed to investors that it was an active participant in the new Task Force, the Biden Administration has so far resisted calls from grassroots and climate activists for greater transparency regarding the Task Force’s work and membership.
Communications contact: Brittany Miller, [email protected], (202) 222-0746