EPA Stuffing Russia, China With Millions For Environmental Cleanups

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Ethan Barton Editor in Chief
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President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency awarded nearly $7 million in grants to Russia and China to fund clean-up efforts in two of the world’s dirtiest countries, according to a Daily Caller News Foundation analysis of federal spending records.

Russia was awarded nearly $3 million via nine grants and China received 18 grants worth nearly $4 million between 2009 and 2014, according to the EPA. Under Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, the EPA gave a little over $2 million on Russia and China each.

“Asking American citizens to subsidize Russia and China, both of whom have terrible environmental records, is indefensible,” Open The Books founder Adam Andrzejewski told TheDCNF. “Why should either country do better when America is paying them to do worse?”

An EPA spokesman defended the grants.

“Our limited international investments are focused where we can have the biggest environmental protection return,” EPA spokeswoman Melissa Harrison told TheDCNF. “International grants allow the U.S. to engage internationally and address serious trans-boundary and global environmental problems affecting the public health and environmental quality of the US and its citizens.”

The agency’s overseas grants “can create new business opportunities for US companies,” Harrison said.

Both Russia and China have been criticized for having serious environmental problems.

Shanghai’s drinking water, for example, was threatened after 16,000 diseased pig carcasses were found in Huangpu River tributaries, which created “a picture of a rural region marred by catastrophic environmental damage,” The Guardian reported in 2013.

More recently, “China, the world’s leading emitter of greenhouses gases from coal, has been burning up to 17 percent more coal than the government previously disclosed,” The New York Times reported earlier this month.

Meanwhile, Russia has been criticized for taking little action against climate change. Russian President Vladmir Putin believes global warming is a “fraud,” political analyst and Putin critic Stanislav Belkovsky told Reuters.

The president “has offered only vague and modest pledges of emission cuts ahead of December’s U.N. climate change summit in Paris,” Reuters reported. State-controlled Russian media ignored the wildfires that plagued Siberia this summer, which climate scientists believed was due to the region’s increasing temperatures, the article also noted.

Regardless, the EPA grants to Russia and China serve a variety of environment-related purposes.

One $1 million grant – the largest single grant to either country – was awarded to the Washington state-based Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to “reduce black carbon emissions from diesel sources in the Russian Arctic,” according to the project’s description.

Russia has “almost finished building a new jumbo Arctic military base on Kotelny Island, off the easter Siberian coast,” Russia Today, a government-controlled newspaper, reported in October.

“Please note this project did not examine black carbon emissions from Russian military vehicles,” Pacific Northwest National Laboratory spokeswoman Susan Bauer told TheDCNF. “Researchers identified the leading sources of black carbon emissions in the Murmansk region of Russia were: 1) off-road vehicles, including mining vehicles, 2) on-road vehicles, including heavy-duty trucks and buses, and 3) diesel power generators.”

The largest grant to China was awarded to the Guizhou International Cooperation Center for Environmental Protection for $200,000 to “build a business network” of coal-mine methane “drainage and utilization practitioners” and “will actively connect companies from coal mining and oil and gas drilling industries, banks, funds/investment companies,” and more, including the government, according to the EPA.

A $110,000 grant was awarded to provide engines that combust methane and produce electrical power to three Chinese swine farms. Pig feces emits methane – a greenhouse gas.

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