The Biden administration used funds from the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package last year to fund projects that had nothing to do with pandemic relief, according to a report from Fox News.
Last year, “99 organizations nationwide were selected to receive awards totaling approximately $7.4 million in grant funding, which included $5.25 million allocated from the American Rescue Plan and $2.15 million from what the EPA describes as its ‘baseline [Environmental Justice] appropriation,’” Fox News reports. “Those grants were for up to $75,000 for each project that addressed ‘health outcome disparities from pollution and the COVID–19 pandemic,’ the EPA said at the time.”
But several of the projects had nothing to do with COVID relief. For example, a Massachusetts-based organization, Speak for the Trees, received a grant for a project to “increase awareness and dialogue surrounding inequitable tree canopy cover and its implications on the health of residents living in [environmental justice] communities.”
New Orleans-based Teaching Responsible Earth Education (TREE) 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.”
There are many more examples of programs and projects that shouldn’t be getting any grants from the federal government, let alone COVID relief money. Nevertheless, the EPA stands by its screening process.
“These projects all went through a rigorous scoring and approval process to ensure project activities and goals align with our statutory authorities and the language and intent of ARP,” said an EPA spokesperson.
That COVID relief funds have been misused isn’t surprising to some.
Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) sits on the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. “I’m not surprised in the slightest the Biden administration is using pandemic relief funds to foot the bill for ridiculous initiatives like environmental justice, telling people not to eat fish, or other Green New Deal initiatives,” Norman told Fox News Digital. “They have no respect for taxpayers’ dollars and have made a mockery of addressing climate change with their woke agenda.”
“COVID-19 relief money shouldn’t be some cover for the Biden administration to use taxpayer dollars to fund its far-left agenda and to indoctrinate people in environmental extremism,” Daren Bakst, an energy expert at the Heritage Foundation, told Fox News Digital. “But that appears to be happening at the EPA. Taking community tree walks, teaching people how to prevent future marine debris, and similar funded projects have nothing to do with the pandemic.”