Kalpana Kotagal wants the Senate to Believe she is no Longer a Radical Climate Activist, but her Recent Rhetoric Tells a Different Story.
In Questions For The Record from Senators Murkowski and Braun, Kalpana Kotagal was asked about her work with the group USPIRG, a group that wants to "retire coal-fired power plants, oil-based transportation systems and other fossil fuel infrastructure."
Kotagal responded, "My personal views from over 20 years ago related to fossil fuels will not impact my ability to treat employers in the fossil fuel industry fairly. In the event I am so fortunate as to be confirmed as a Commissioner, my personal views on climate issues would not impact my enforcement of federal workplace non-discrimination laws."
Her comments seem to be meant to indicate that her work "20 years ago" with an anti-fossil fuel group should be ignored as something of a youthful indiscretion and more importantly have nothing to do with workplace enforcement issues. Unfortunately, that is just not accurate. Ms. Kotagal continues to support anti-fossil policies and spoke just two years ago on how the two are intimately connected.
At the Sustainability Symposium 2020, Ms. Kotagal delivered remarks on "Sustainability for All: The Nexus Between Sustainability and Social Justice" Her comments are illuminating and should provide insights into how she could use her position on the EEOC if she were confirmed. She commented:
"Many of you are probably asking yourselves what on earth is a civil rights lawyer doing here? What does her work have to do with the work of innovation and excellence in green building?"
She then tells them:
"The connection between our built environments including where we live and discrimination is tangible and the connection between addressing climate change and adapting to its effects and furthering social justice and equity is a crucial one. There is an immediate connection between your daily work and that effort provided that you bring it into focus and I'm so glad that Rihanna gun night will be here to talk about the Green New Deal later today - I think that's such a central part of that conversation."
Ms. Kotagal makes it clear in her speech that she believes that connecting anti-fossil fuel policies like the Green New Deal with "social justice and equity" (which would be her focus at the EEOC) is "crucial."
When Nominee Kotagal tells Senators that her work with USPIRG is ancient history and would not influence her work on the EEOC the Real Kalpana Kotagal makes it clear that she's the same old environmental activist she was 20 years ago and she would use her perch at the EEOC to prosecute the climate agenda to further social justice.