JANUARY 21, 2014
The government agency that’s wasted millions to bring minority communities in the U.S. “environmental justice” announced this month that it’s spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund projects in Mexico.
It marks the latest of many controversial foreign allocations for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), an agency that’s been on a manic spending spree during most of the Obama administration. While a chunk of the cash is being spent in the U.S. to help low-income and minority communities get green, a substantial amount has also gone to programs in other countries.
Since 2009 the EPA has dedicated tens of millions of dollars to environmental causes overseas, including China, Russia and India. In fact, ranking members of a congressional energy committee have blasted the “foreign handouts” during tough times for the U.S. economy and soaring unemployment rates. Examples of the handouts include $1.2 million for the United Nations to promote clean fuels, $718,000 to help China comply with two environmental initiatives and $700,000 for Thailand to recover methane gas at pig farms.
The EPA has kept a steady flow of cash for these sorts of causes, announcing this month that it has awarded $461,368 in grants for various environmental projects along the U.S.-Mexico border. Roughly half of the money will go to cities on the American side and the rest will go straight to Mexico. That’s right, hundreds of thousands of your tax dollars will go to the noble cause of helping Mexican towns like Nogales and Ensenada get green.
The projects include restoration of an important estuary, expansion of a municipal oil recycling program and several efforts to track air pollution in the region, according to the EPA announcement. “These grants will help improve air quality, create a healthier river, and reduce the waste going into local landfills.” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Communities on both sides of the border will receive benefits as their environment and public health are better protected.”
Here is a breakdown of how the money will be spent south of the border; more than $98,000 will go to a Mexican nonprofit called Pronatura-Noroeste that will help restore the Upper Tijuana River Corridor. Another Mexican group called Asociación de Protección y Seguridad Ambiental is getting $63,015 for training on handling of wastewater containing metals and cyanide, $53,610 is going to an organization called Tijuana Calidad de Vida to take air emissions inventory in Nogales and Sonora and $16,508 for used oil collection and management in Nogales.
Why should Americans pay for this? It’s part of a special bi-national environmental program that includes the U.S. and its neighbor to the south. The projects, mainly funded by Uncle Sam of course, address public health and environmental protection goals of yet another project called Border 2020 Program that makes cash available for the California/Baja California and Arizona/Sonora regions. This has been going on for years.
In fact, in 2011 the EPA paid to upgrade outdated Mexican trucks that hemorrhage illegal amounts of exhaust on their trips north to deliver merchandise. The Mexican trucks enter the U.S. under an international trade pact known as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and they’ve created an air pollution crisis. Uncle Sam picked up the cost to replace old mufflers on dozens of trucks at a cost of about $1,600 each and more are scheduled to be fixed. The feds justify the expenditure by claiming that it will improve air quality on both sides of the border, especially in towns that are helpless due to lack of resources.
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