Coming Soon: EPA Foreign Grants Database 2.0

Earlier this week, the House Energy and Commerce Committee began asking Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa Jackson about $27 million in U.S. taxpayer money shoveled into grants for environmental projects in various foreign countries, including Russia and China. 

One of the more headline-grabbing wastes of taxpayer money wasn’t even for anything “scientific” – it was a publicity campaign in Indonesia called “Breathe Easy, Jakarta,” in which $15,000 was spent to tell the residents of that fair city how clean their air has become.

The EPA’s grant information is available at a public database, where investigators noticed some of the numbers didn’t quite add up.  If you check that database today, you’ll see the following message:

“Our Web site will be operating at diminished capacity because of scheduled maintenance from midnight ET on Friday, July 1, 2011 to 8am ET on Monday, July 4, 2011.  We apologize for any inconvenience.”

The EPA is supposed to be sending some revised grant information to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, including a few things that might have been left out of their original accounts.  The amounts involved will surely be trivial, and when the database listing foreign agencies that received your tax dollars from the EPA is re-launched in the evening hours of Independence Day, full transparency and accountability will be achieved. 

Perhaps they will add some graphics to the drab design of the site, like a culturally-appropriate background for each foreign grant recipient.  The least we taxpayers should expect, in return for the millions of dollars we were compelled to spend on these exotic locales, is some photos of the environments we have been improving.  I hear Jakarta is lovely this time of year, now that the air can be easily breathed.