The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) spent $5.3-million of taxpayer dollars allocated for COVID-19 relief, with an additional $2.2-million from its own budget allocated for “environmental justice” to fund a variety of wasteful “environmental justice” projects.
A report by Fox News found that instead of using COVID-19 relief funds to aid small businesses and struggling families, the government agency used its relief funds to promote “green infrastructure” and “environmental justice.”
In various instances, the EPA provided various non-profits with grants to fund such noble endeavours as “storytelling” and “tree walks,” which is an activity designed to increase awareness of “inequitable tree canopy cover.”
The funds, which were appropriated from President Joe Biden’s $1.9-trillion COVID-19 relief package in 2021, provided financial support for projects that had next to nothing to do with the pandemic or its impact on Americans.
The EPA program announced it is using $1.6-million of American Rescue Plan funds to award grants to “federally recognized tribal governments to establish or modify public participation programs where fair treatment and meaningful participation priorities have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
As detailed by Fox, approximately 16 to 20 grants worth up to $100,000 each, will be awarded for each project.
In 2021, under the same program, 99 organizations were selected to receive awards totaling around $7.4-million in grant funding, which was made up of $5.52-million allocated from the Biden relief package, and $2.15-million from the EPA’s “baseline [Environmental Justice] appropriation.”
At the time, the grants provided up to $75,000 per project that addressed “health outcome disparities from pollution and the COVID-19 pandemic,” the EPA claimed. However, a review of the grant recipients shows that program-funded grants for a wide variety of projects that had nothing to do with COVID-19.
The vast majority of the grants were provided to groups defined by the EPA as “small, non-profit organizations,” including a group called “Speak for the Trees.”
As previously detailed, the group uses “storytelling” and “tree walks” to “increase awareness and dialogue surrounding inequitable tree canopy cover and its implications on the health of residents living in [environmental justice] communities.”
A New Orleans-based group called T.R.E.E., or Teaching Responsible Earth Education, received a grant to “establish an empowering, school curriculum-integrated environmental education program for younger students propelling their awareness of problems like climate change and the injustices they create.”
Other grants went to the promotion of so-called green infrastructure, like electric vehicle charging stations, provided that they produced something educational in addition to the facility.
Regardless of the outcome of each of these projects, taxpayers need to be aware that the taxes they are paying are being spent on environmental justice frivolities rather than giving back to the community or addressing those most impacted by the pandemic.