Normally, in exchange for a loan, you agree to pay the bank the principal borrowed along with interest. You would never think of then giving the money back to the bank so that the bank could remodel, sweep the parking lot, or buy cases of those squiggly government-approved light bulbs. If the bank wants to do that, they can pay for it themselves.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does things differently. While the People’s Republic of China holds over $1.1 trillion of our debt, EPA is busy giving grants to China (see here, here, here, here , here, and here). The Chinese grantees include their Ministry of Environmental Protection.
The Chinese would be stupid not to take the money and run. They get whatever the EPA is funding for free. Even if the Chinese don’t really want or need whatever it is, it’s revenue or salaries that make them richer and us poorer. On top of that, we pay them interest to take the money.
Could the EPA be less responsible with your hard-earned money? Unfortunately, yes.
The EPA has a history of largesse with tax dollars, as detailed on The Foundry. The agency is giving out tax dollars to green groups that sue the government and environmental justice groups that carry out critical missions like picketing a Harris Teeter grocery store for carrying Smithfield hams. The EPA gives grants to groups like Organizing People Activating Leaders (OPAL). OPAL’s resources are directed at such crucial national issues as its “Bus Riders Unite!” campaign in Portland, Oregon.
Although OPAL’s grant was only $5,000, the EPA’s database indicates that it is “high risk.” Why the EPA considers it high risk can’t be gleaned from the database, but perhaps it followed the strings of this organization back to other groups like the Cascade Resources Advisory Group (CRAG) Law Center.
One of OPAL’s board members is a director at CRAG. CRAG’s Web site regales visitors with their environmental “victories and current cases.” It reports that “opponents of liquefied natural gas…celebrated earlier this year when [Bradwood Landing and Northernstar Energy] announced it was filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.” It reports on their appeal of a “proposed large-scale destination resort.” It reports on the organization’s lawsuit “challenging the approval of permits for a strip mine” and other “groundbreaking climate litigation” against Oregon and the Governor as “part of a hatch of litigation filed around the country and the world.”
A grant of tax dollars to a group like OPAL is by definition “high risk.” The real question isn’t why the EPA considers OPAL’s grant high risk but why so many other EPA grants aren’t as well.