Biden Admin Faces Congressional Scrutiny Over $50 Million 'Environmental Justice' Grant It Awarded to Anti-Israel Group

'Palestinians have been living under a system of apartheid,' says the Climate Justice Alliance

Climate Justice Alliance pro-Palestinian protest (Climate Justice Alliance/X)
May 21, 2024

The Environmental Protection Agency is facing congressional scrutiny for awarding a $50 million grant to the Climate Justice Alliance, a California nonprofit that has accused Israel of committing genocide and encouraged "solidarity protest actions" in opposition to the Jewish state.

Senate Environment and Public Works Committee ranking member Shelley Moore Capito (R., W.Va.) during a press conference Tuesday highlighted the EPA's grant to the Climate Justice Alliance and the group's anti-Israel activism. The top Republican lawmaker also blasted the agency for its ongoing pursuit of its big-money environmental programs and promised to lead oversight of such programs.

"You could ask yourself, is this group really going to be funding climate—again, cleaning up the water and cleaning up the soil and cleaning up the air? Or are they going to be funding things like the protests they had … weeks ago where several of them were arrested?" Capito asked Tuesday.

"Follow the money. We're going to be doing that in the Environment and Public Works Committee," she continued. "And I find it rather startling to me that the EPA and this administration are not doing any better research as to where American taxpayers' dollars are going."

EPA administrator Michael Regan unveiled his agency's grant for the Climate Justice Alliance in December, saying the funding was made possible by the "Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Grantmaking" program established by the behemoth Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. The funding, Regan said, would help "address our country's most pressing environmental justice concerns."

According to the agency, the Climate Justice Alliance will work with several local partners to use the federal grant for various environmental justice programs. The EPA awarded the grant, however, even as the Climate Justice Alliance in early October continued to loudly prioritize its anti-Israel agenda in the aftermath of Hamas's terrorist attacks on Israel.

The Washington Free Beacon first reported the EPA's grant and the Climate Justice Alliance's anti-Israel actions in late December.

On its website, the Climate Justice Alliance highlights its "Free Palestine" actions as one of its three featured projects, which also includes environmental justice work and climate philanthropy. The group further states that a "free Palestine" is a "climate justice issue" and that the "path to climate justice travels through a free Palestine."

It also released a sprawling "ceasefire statement" that accuses the Israeli government of violating international law.

"For generations, Palestinians have been living under a system of apartheid, breathing in toxic air and consuming food grown on soil contaminated by bombs and other tools of destruction," the statement reads.

"With this newest round of genocidal attacks by Israel on the civilian Palestinian population, that has forced thousands to flee and live without water, food and electricity which is continuously blockaded and shut off, the Israel government has defied international law; President Biden must oppose this," it goes on.

In early November, the group organized a large climate justice rally in solidarity with Palestinian people "on the frontlines of genocidal warfare." Days later, it hosted a webinar about how climate change and the anti-Israel movement are interconnected.

Both of the group's actions in November came just weeks before the Biden administration awarded the $50 million environmental justice grant.

The Climate Justice Alliance has also published a collection of artwork and images that it invites activists to use in pro-Palestinian protests. One image depicts the viral image of a Palestinian bulldozer tearing down an Israeli border fence shortly after Hamas's attacks in October. Others call for "intifada" and quote Assata Shakur, an activist who was convicted of murdering a New Jersey police officer before fleeing the country in the 1970s.

While the Climate Justice Alliance has received millions of dollars in contributions in recent years, it is largely unclear where that funding is derived. The group appears to be affiliated with Oakland, California-based group Movement Strategy Center, which according to Influence Watch often works with socialist organizations.

In 2021, the Movement Strategy Center reported sending more than $7.7 million to the Climate Justice Alliance.

Between 2020 and 2023, the Climate Justice Alliance reported a total revenue of roughly $35.9 million, meaning the EPA's grant is worth nearly 40 percent more than the group's total revenue over the course of three years.

Overall, the Inflation Reduction Act earmarked $41.5 billion for EPA programs, which the agency has yet to disburse.

"Consistent with the EPA’s and Administration’s commitment to achieving environmental justice, EPA established the Grantmakers program to distribute competitive grant funding in a timelier manner to communities that need it most," an EPA spokeswoman said in a statement to the Free Beacon. "Federal funding cannot be used for any messaging or activities that are not approved under the Grantmaker workplan and/or in support of administering subgrant funding to communities for specific local environmental projects and activities."

The Climate Justice Alliance didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.