COVID-Relief Funds Went to ‘Environmental Justice’ Programs Teaching ‘Acceptance of Trees’, ‘Tree Care Education’, ‘Pruning Workshops’

“While our nation is $30 trillion in the hole and hemorrhaging money on the federal level, news like this should outrage every taxpayer,” said Rep. Ralph Norman.

QUICK FACTS:
  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), headquartered in Washington D.C., used $4.3 million in funds from Joe Biden’s ‘American Rescue Plan’ on environmental justice and climate change programs promoting activities like tree planting, “pruning workshops,” and achieving “greater acceptance of trees” in cities.
  • The EPA’s Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving (EJCPS) last April awarded $200,000 each to a total of 34 organizations for projects “focusing on COVID-19 impacts, as well as climate and disaster resiliency” in “underserved communities.”
WHAT DIFFERENT ORGS DID WITH THE FUNDS:
  • An Indianapolis-based organization called ‘Keep Indianapolis Beautiful’ was given $200,000 for an initiative called “Greening Urban Neighborhoods,” which included educating residents about “the benefits of trees” and improving “acceptance of trees in the City.”
  • New Mexico-based ‘Tree New Mexico’ was awarded ARP funds to plant trees in the “underserved area of the southeast quadrant of Albuquerque” and to conduct “pruning workshops” and provide “tree care education,” which aimed to make residents become “citizen tree stewards committed to caring for newly planted trees and older trees.”
  • Houston, Texas-based ‘Black United Fund’ obtained funds for designing “a shipping container farm, residential gardens, green technology, tree and native habitat planting, workforce development, and public education.”
  • St. Paul, Minnesota-based ‘Hourcar’ was given EJCPS funds to launch “Evie Carshare, a new all-electric carsharing program featuring 150 shared electric vehicles supported by 70 curbside charging stations, with a focus on service to low-income and BIPOC communities.”
  • Massachusetts-based organization ‘Speak for the Trees’ used funds for “storytelling” and “tree walks” for the purpose of increasing “awareness and dialogue surrounding inequitable tree canopy cover and its implications on the health of residents living in [environmental justice] communities.”
  • Charlotte, North Carolina-based ‘Clean Air Carolina’ received a grant for installing a public Level 2 EV charging station and to create an educational video as a way for “community members to get involved to mitigate air pollution.”
OPPOSITION TO THE CLIMATE CHANGE FUNDING:
  • Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC), a House Committee on Oversight and Reform member, said: “While our nation is $30 trillion in the hole and hemorrhaging money on the federal level, news like this should outrage every taxpayer,” adding that these examples “are not appropriate functions of government, and are just the tip of the iceberg. The EPA – and I would argue every agency – must be held to account for how they’re utilizing public funds.”