In another entry into the annals of government waste and policy incoherence, as Just the News reports, Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) San Francisco district has been announced as the recipient of grant funding incentivizing the removal of residential wood-burning systems at the very same time the federal government is spending millions on tax credits for those who heat their homes with wood, thanks to the stimuls bill she pushed through Congress.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently publicized a cooperative funding effort with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District – to the tune of $2.1 million – designed to assist with the replacement of residential wood-burning capabilities including fireplaces and stoves with electric heat pumps across the region.
Underlying the initiative, which is part of the broader, multi-year Targeted Airshed Grant program, is the goal of reducing particulate matter emissions with a a focus on prioritizing funds disbursement in “environmental justice communities” serving low-income residents supposedly disproportionately impacted by unhealthy outputs into the air.
Though these grants have typically been issued for periods of just twelve months at a time, the EPA emphasized its authority to negotiate extended time frames for targeted regions, and the grant provided provided for Pelosi’s district is designated to last five years, as Just the News noted.
In an absurd twist, however, it has also been revealed that at the same time the EPA is providing financial support for the elimination of wood-burning capabilities in the Bay Area, wood heat tax credits that were included in the Pelosi-championed COVID-19 relief bill passed late last year are also currently on offer.
That particular incentive provides a 26% credit to taxpayers who install hot water and home heating systems that utilize wood pellets, cordwood, and chips to achieve a certain level of efficiency, according to Energy News.
The blatant inconsistency and counterproductive nature of these conflicting policies caught the attention of Adam Andrzejewski, founder and CEO of the OpenTheBooks.com watchdog group. “It’s duplication nation,” he declared, adding, “Thoughtful and careful legislating is a thing of the past. Simultaneously giving tax credits to install wood-burning devices and grants to replace them…is a great example of congressional insanity.”
Andrzejewski continued, “Congress has created a maze of bureaucracy and overlap. One agency doesn’t know what another agency is doing. Duplicative programs cost taxpayers billions of dollars, and it is government waste and mismanagement as far as the eye can see.”
Pelosi’s obvious ignorance about, or indifference to, the opposing – and wasteful – priorities effectuated in her coronavirus stimulus bill and the EPA grant awarded in her district should alarm the constituents who keep sending her back to Washington time and time again, but the sad fact of the matter is that it almost certainly will not.