EPA stimulating environmental regulations abroad

John Rossomando Contributor
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China and other foreign interests have been significant beneficiaries of stimulus money through the Environmental Protection Agency, to the tune of some $27 million, since the law passed in February 2009.

Congressional investigators with the House Energy and Commerce Committee found that the EPA engaged in practices such as giving a $718,000 grant to the China State Environment Protection Administration to help it comply with the Stockholm and Long Range Transport of Air Pollutants Convention among others.

The EPA also gave a $150,000 grant to Interpol, the international police organization made famous in countless old movies, in “support of a climate-change project which will ensure that markets operate properly, and that fraud is detected promptly with regard to carbon trading.”

But a 5-year, $1.5 million project known as “Breath Easy Jakarta”, which intends to help implement the city of Jakarta, Indonesia implement air-pollution prevention has raised the ire of House Republicans led by Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton.

The EPA announced the “Breathe Jakarta” program in February 2010 at a meeting between EPA Assistant Administrator Michelle DePass and the governor of Jakarta, and the administration has already pledged an initial investment of $250,000, according to an EPA request for proposal from earlier this year.

“What kind of message are we sending to out of work families when the Obama administration’s response to soaring unemployment and the looming debt ceiling is ‘Breathe Easy, Jakarta,’” Upton told The Daily Caller in an emailed statement. “The days of the EPA acting as a global ATM for the United Nations and foreign governments must come to an end. Our top priority should be helping put folks back to work here in America rather than sending millions overseas to subsidize international companies.”

The EPA defended the program in a press release issued by the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, saying it “recognizes that Indonesia is an essential partner when working to strengthen global environmental protection. (Obama puts Medicare, Social Security cuts on the table)

The United Nations also benefited from the millions in EPA grants, and it’s entities received at least two separate grants. According to the Energy and Commerce Committee, the United Nations Environment Programme received approximately $1.2 million to support a “global initiative promoting cleaner fuels and vehicles in developing and transitioning countries.”

While the World Health Organization received a $469,300 grant to “link together existing institutions and personnel to work on shared goals including sound environmental management.”

“It’s not surprising that the stimulus did nothing to create jobs in this country because it was funding the Obama environmental agenda overseas,” said Mattie Corrao, executive director of the Center for Fiscal Accountability. “This all comes on the heels of the president saying he has two major regrets, and one of them wasn’t the stimulus plan that we have yet to recover from.

“If you look at every indicator that is coming down the pike, every indicator is down.”

According to Corrao, the EPA stimulus grants are a stark example of what the rest of the stimulus was about irresponsible spending.

“What does one expect the Obama administration to do, but to spend money abroad to combat global warming?” asked Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The idea that the stimulus program was about jobs as a big lie used to sell the program, and it’s about giving government more money to spend, increasing their budgets, and that’s all we’ve gotten out of it.”

Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans allege that the EPA has been less than transparent in disclosing its grants, and that not all of them have made it on to the agency’s website.

Upton has cosigned a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson together with Reps. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., chairman of the oversight and investigations subcommittee; Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., chairman of the energy and power subcommittee; and John Shimkus, chairman of the Environment and Economy Subcommittee, demanding answers about why the grants were made.

Longtime EPA critic, Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe, the ranking member of the Senate Energy and Public Works Committee, told TheDC these grants confirm his long-held contention about earmarks.

“These are bureaucratic earmarks, and these people are not accountable to anyone,” Inhofe said. “That’s what our conservative Republicans were too cowardly to admit in talking about this and in telling the public the truth.

“What we’re doing is transferring congressional appropriations to bureaucratic earmarks,” Inhofe continued. “That’s why Obama pulled all of the strings to get congressional Republicans to stop all of the congressional earmarks.”