In the aftermath of Hamas's Oct. 7 terror attack against Israel, left-wing nonprofit Climate Justice Alliance expressed "unwavering solidarity with the Palestinian freedom struggle" and blamed the attack on Israeli "settler-colonialism." Now, the Biden administration is entrusting the group to distribute $50 million in taxpayer funds.
President Joe Biden's Environmental Protection Agency announced the move in a Wednesday press release, which named Climate Justice Alliance as one of several "national grantmakers" tasked with doling out $50 million to local organizations in the name of "environmental justice." In order to receive the taxpayer funds, those organizations will primarily work with the alliance, not the Biden administration. As a "grantmaker," the left-wing nonprofit is tasked with awarding "subgrants"—which range from $150,000 to $350,000 each—and implementing "tracking and reporting systems."
The decision raises questions as to how Biden's EPA landed on Climate Justice Alliance for the program, given that the group has publicly condemned the administration over its support for the Jewish state. Climate Justice Alliance, a network of nearly 90 left-wing environmental groups from across the country, issued an Oct. 20 statement accusing Biden of using "US taxpayer dollars … to support a policy of genocide."
"With this newest round of genocidal attacks by Israel on the civilian population … the Israel government has defied international law," the group said. "President Biden must oppose this."
In addition to its criticism of Biden over the Democrat's handling of the war, Climate Justice Alliance has worked to justify Hamas's terror attack on the Jewish state.
The "Free Palestine" section of the group's website includes a statement from its sister organization, It Takes Roots, which calls the attack "the most recent escalation in the 75-year history of settler-colonialism and violence across historic Palestine" and expresses "unwavering solidarity with the Palestinian freedom struggle for self-determination and to live freely with their human rights fully intact on their lands."
Climate Justice Alliance has also made clear that it cannot separate its environmental activism from the Palestinian cause. One week ago, the group released a video titled, "The path to climate justice travels through a free Palestine," which "uses an anti-colonial framework to show how Climate Justice and the liberation of Palestine are connected."
"Our hope in creating this new resource is to mobilize additional sectors of the climate movement for the fight to free Palestine," the group said, "and to begin to shift the politics of the mainstream climate movement from carbon fundamentalism to climate justice."
In some cases, groups affiliated with the alliance have broken the law to express their contempt for Israel. One of the group's members, the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, has helped organize illegal anti-Israel protests in the Capitol rotunda and other Capitol complex buildings.
Neither the EPA nor Climate Justice Alliance responded to requests for comment. Vice President Kamala Harris in the EPA's Wednesday press release said the money to Climate Justice Alliance and other groups would "put equity at the center of our nation's largest investment in climate history."
The EPA program that enlists Climate Justice Alliance to distribute taxpayer-funded "subgrants" is called the Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Grantmaking program and is funded through Biden's Inflation Reduction Act. As part of the program, Climate Justice Alliance and 10 other groups will receive $50 million in taxpayer funds that they will then distribute to "community-based nonprofit organizations and other eligible organizations representing disadvantaged communities."
Climate Justice Alliance has significant control over that money. The EPA's press release notes that the group and other "grantmakers" are in charge of designing their own "comprehensive application and submission processes" before they "award environmental justice subgrants, implement tracking and reporting systems, and provide resources and support to communities."
Judge Glock, senior fellow and director of research at the Manhattan Institute, said that while the federal government "does occasionally select grantees to send out subawards," the EPA's new environmental justice program is unique given its "size and the incredible level of discretion given to the grantees to make subawards."
"Something that is on multiple levels an incredibly broad, general program with not very clear goals, and then to designate these grantmakers to make their own grants with even less clear goals, I certainly haven't seen anything like this before," Glock told the Washington Free Beacon. "And it's a lot of money—it's not a little amount of money, and they're going to some pretty extreme groups."
In addition to its anti-Israel activism, Climate Justice Alliance is a staunch supporter of the "Green New Deal movement," which it says stems from "decades of Indigenous/frontline wisdom." The group also touts its efforts to lead a "just transition" toward green energy and away from "the profit-driven industrial economy rooted in patriarchy and white supremacy."
Climate Justice Alliance announced its participation in the EPA program in a Wednesday statement, saying it is "excited and ready to serve as a bridge, model, and catalyst among organizations nationwide to … strengthen the environmental justice movement."
"We look forward to ensuring that thousands of $150,000 to $350,000 EPA grants move to marginalized, environmental justice communities to address historic harms," said Jacqueline Patterson, founder of the Chisholm Legacy Project, a Climate Justice Alliance member.
Jessica Costescu contributed to this report.