U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield, (KY-01), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power, today announced that he introduced legislation to prohibit foreign grants under the Clean Air Act. This measure, known as the Accountability in Grants Act of 2013, removes the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) authority to award taxpayer-funded grants to foreign countries through the Clean Air Act.
"It is outrageous how EPA has abused its discretion in allocating funds through these grants," Whitfield said. "At a time when our economy is struggling and Congress faces difficult spending decisions here at home, we cannot afford to spend millions in taxpayer dollars for so-called environmental projects in foreign countries. As an example, I just can't understand why we would be sending $180,000 to China for coal mining purposes while EPA is doing everything they can here in the United States to prevent coal from being mined and used. We need to ensure accountability for taxpayer dollars at every level, and this bill reins in irresponsible spending by the EPA."
Section 103 of the Clean Air Act provides the EPA with the authority to issue grants to programs and projects around the world. In addition to grants to foreign governments, grants are also being given to U.S. entities and international organizations to carry out programs across the globe.
Whitfield's legislation removes the EPA's authority under section 103 to award money to programs or activities taking place outside of the United States. It also prevents grant applications in the United States from sub-granting awards to activities or organizations outside of the United States.
Whitfield notes that while millions of dollars in annual grants may seem small compared to the country's nearly $17 trillion debt, there must be accountability for taxpayer dollars at every level of government.
Some examples of the taxpayer-funded grants awarded through the Clean Air Act include:
$141,450 to China to "quantify the environmental impacts from different biogas digesters used to treat swine manures in China";
$150,000 for clean cooking technology in Kenya;
$305,849 to the Science and Technology center in the Ukraine to re-train former Newly Independent States (NIS) weapons scientists; and
$180,000 to train Polish municipalities on landfill gas.