By Eric Revell
Republicans say the green bank will be a ‘slush fund’ subject to waste and abuse
(MAINNEWS) – The Biden administration on Tuesday outlined how a “green bank” will provide nearly $27 billion in funding to help finance projects aimed at combating climate change that Republicans are warning will be at high risk for fraud and waste.
The so-called Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, which was created as part of the $739 billion Inflation Reduction Act Democrats enacted along party lines last year, will be tasked with facilitating investments in clean energy projects.
It will emphasize projects in low-income and disadvantaged communities.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plans to award $20 billion in competitive grants for projects that reduce pollution and lower energy costs that will be administered by up to 15 nonprofit groups working with banks and financial institutions.
The other $7 billion will go to states, tribes and local governments for a variety of solar energy projects, including residential rooftop solar, community solar and solar storage.
EPA Administrator Michael Regan said the program will “deliver benefits to all in a transparent and inclusive fashion. With $27 billion from President Biden’s investments in America, this program will mobilize billions more in private capital to reduce pollution and improve public health, all while lowering energy costs, increasing energy security, creating good-paying jobs and boosting economic prosperity in communities across the country.”
Sean Kelly, a spokesman for House Energy and Commerce Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., said the fund “allocates an incredible amount of authority and resources” to the EPA, yet lacks measures to ensure accountability or transparency in how the resources are used.
“In other words, this provision creates a taxpayer-funded slush fund for Wall Street and heightens the risk for overspending, fraud and abuse.”
Rep. Gary Palmer, R-Ala., said he plans to propose a bill to repeal the fund, asking, “Will this $27 billion slush fund lower the cost of heating for these American families.”