Three Democratic representatives have requested over $10 million in combined earmarks to be directed to green initiatives in their own districts as part of the upcoming fiscal year 2024 budgetary process, according to records.
Earmarking, a controversial method of spending taxpayers’ money by sending it to specific projects in member districts, has been strongly criticized by conservatives for enabling “corruption” by members of Congress, yet practiced by both Republicans and Democrats alike, according to Americans for Tax Reform. The funding requests for green initiatives, submitted to the House Appropriations Committee, would bankroll a “Green Business Institute,” a watershed for “environmental justice” areas and the expansion of an electric vehicle ride sharing program.
Rep. Glenn Ivey of Maryland has earmarked $10 million for an “environmental justice” watershed in Prince George’s County, according to his website. It would involve building flood control measures in areas where Maryland authorities have deemed the “Environmental Justice” (EJ) scores as being greater than 60 out of 100.
Maryland authorities claim that their EJ scoring works to give preference to “marginalized and disenfranchised communities,” echoing left-wing rhetoric about minority groups being affected by climate change with greater severity than others, per Maryland government webpages. Based on the score, the earmark would see taxpayer dollars sent to areas with greater populations of those groups than others.
Meanwhile, Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia of Illinois, who recently lost a race for mayor of Chicago, has requested $3 million for a “Green Business Institute” in his district that covers the city, according to a letter he sent to the committee. The money would be received by “Cultivate Collective,” a left-wing organization seeking to turn six acres of formerly public land in Chicago into a campus it describes as a “demonstration site” that will promote “environmental justice,” “racial justice,” and “equity,” according to the group’s website.
“This hub is part of a redevelopment project to economically reactivate the region through sustainable and green spaces,” Garcia wrote to the committee, adding that it would support green jobs.
Rep. Nanette Barragan of California has requested $235,000 for building electric vehicle infrastructure in public housing in Los Angeles, according to a letter Barragan sent to the committee. The project seeks to “expand an existing car share program for public housing residents through the purchase of new electric vehicles and the installation of lighting, fencing, and cool pavement at the charging station,” per her letter.
Public housing in Los Angeles is limited to those whose income ranges from $25,050 to $66,750, according to the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles’s website. Concurrently, the average cost of a new electric vehicle in the United States is over $66,000, according to the Kelley Blue Book, a car price aggregator.
Congress had previously imposed a moratorium on earmarks, which was lifted in 2021 by House Democrats.
Barragan, Garcia and Ivey did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
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