Biden’s EPA Has Spent Millions on Military Grade Equipment. A GOP Senator Wants to Know Why.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
September 21, 2023

President Joe Biden’s Environmental Protection Agency has spent millions in taxpayer funds arming itself with military grade hardware, such as advanced combat and reconnaissance equipment.

"As of September 14, 2023, the Biden administration EPA has already spent $2,892,770 on these items, which is 143 percent more than what was spent during the entire Trump administration," Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa), ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, disclosed in an oversight letter sent last week to the agency and obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

The climate agency’s spending spree on guns, ammunition, and advanced tactical equipment is the subject of an oversight probe helmed by Grassley, who described the EPA’s militarization as "frightening." The congressional investigation comes just months after a watchdog group found that non-law enforcement agencies in the federal government, such as the EPA and Internal Revenue Service, have spent nearly $4 billion in taxpayer funds since 2006 stockpiling all manner of guns, ammunition, and "military-style equipment."

"The very same EPA that proposed slapping red tape on nearly every farmer’s ditch in Iowa now appears to be armed to the teeth," Grassley told the Free Beacon. "The Biden EPA already has a reputation for overstepping its bounds, and that makes the agency’s militarization all the more frightening. We need to know what exactly EPA is doing with this equipment, and whether it serves the interests of the American people."

The EPA has spent upwards of $10 million amassing advanced armaments since around 2006, according to spending data, "including unmanned aircraft, night vision, and radar equipment." The spending has spanned multiple administrations but appears to have increased during the Obama and Biden administrations.

During former president Barack Obama’s terms in office, when Biden was serving as the vice president, the EPA spent $6,584,473 on guns, armor, radar equipment, mobile command posts, and other types of advanced weapons. Just over $2 million was spent during the Trump administration. Since Biden came into power, nearly $3 million more has been spent arming the EPA.

Over the years, the EPA has stockpiled many types of war fighting arms, according to Grassley’s investigation, including weaponry not typically employed by a government agency tasked with tackling climate change and protecting the environment.

From 2005 to 2023, for instance, the EPA spent $8,193,741 on "motor vehicles, cycles, [and] trailers," according to funding documents obtained by Grassley’s office. "Some of those transaction descriptions include ‘mobile command vehicle,’ ‘mobile command post,’ ‘segway,’ and ‘all terrain vehicles.’ There is also a $61,362 purchase for ‘unmanned ground vehicle.’"

The agency also spent $207,442 on "camouflage and deception equipment" in 2010 and 2011, and another $33,690 on "unmanned aircraft" in 2013. The EPA additionally employs around 200 federal law enforcement officers, who are "armed with 857 guns and approximately 500,000 rounds of ammunition," according to Grassley.

It remains unclear what the EPA is doing with this equipment, prompting Grassley to demand a full accounting of the agency’s armaments and spending records.

The senator wants to know how much military-grade hardware the EPA owns, including a breakdown of "each type of equipment, the volume purchased, the total cost for purchase, and the statutory authority for the purchase," according to the letter.

The agency must also disclose the number of times its personnel have "used or equipped themselves with rifles in field operations."

Grassley also is trying to discern how much hardware—such as unmanned vehicles, radar equipment, and assault ships—the EPA currently owns and what it is being used for.

Questions about the federal government’s militarization have been swirling for years but took on renewed interest earlier this year when a watchdog group, Open the Books, published an audit showing non-law enforcement agencies were spending millions on military-type armaments.

"A culture of militarization has permeated across the federal bureaucracy," Open the Books founder and CEO Adam Andrzejewski told the Free Beacon in May. "In many cases, these agencies are stockpiling the very weapons some politicians seek to ban citizens from owning."