A business coalition is calling on Congress to halt taxpayer subsidies to wealthy, self-styled environmental organizations that sue the federal government to block job-creating projects - including clean energy and renewable projects - until a public accounting can detail how much these subsidies cost taxpayers and a study is completed showing how these tax dollars are impacting job-creating projects in all 50 states.
TheWestern Business Roundtableechoed concerns expressed this week bymore than 20 U.S. Senators and Congressmenabout recent reports that very well funded environmental groups are receiving millions of taxpayer dollars as reimbursement for suing the federal government with no apparent public accounting of the amount of taxpayer dollars involved and who is receiving them.
"Members of Congress are rightfully expressing concern over the fact that millions of taxpayer dollars are potentially going out the door without any public accounting," saidJim Sims, president and CEO of the Western Business Roundtable. "These very wealthy environmental organizations admit to seeking and receiving these reimbursements, so there is no question that public monies are in fact involved. Members of Congress are now saying that there is virtually no public disclosure of who gets what and how much."
There also is no question that these self-styled environmental groups are unleashing an avalanche of lawsuits against virtually every proposed job-creating project in the West," Sims said. "If tax dollars are being used to subsidize these attacks against job creation, then these groups ought to be hauled in front of Congress and made to justify their use of tax dollars in this manner."
According to national news media reports:
"At a minimum, Congress should direct federal agencies to put an immediate halt to these payments until the public can be made aware of the extent of these subsidies and their impact on the Obama Administration's efforts to re-start the economy and create jobs," Sims said. "It also makes sense to have the government conduct a study as to the impact these taxpayer subsidized lawsuits had had on taxpayer subsidized job creation activities."
In Congressional testimony two weeks ago to a joint oversight hearing of two House subcommittees, the Roundtable told Congress that one of the biggest impediments to building new transmission lines in the Western U.S. - desperately needed by new renewable facilities - is "litigious environmental groups."
Source: Western Business Roundtable