The USDA Approves $500K in Climate Change Money to Repair Parking Lots

(Blaine T. Shahan /LNP/LancasterOnline via AP)

And yet again, another celeb has been busted racking up the miles on a private jet while sitting shiva over climate change. This time it is Harrison Ford. And that stinks, since as a child of the ’80s, I am a big fan of Han Solo and Indiana Jones. According to Fox News, Ford’s jet racked up 5,284 miles and spewed around 35 metric tons of carbon dioxide. Yeah, I know, old news. Another star who has every right to ignore the risks of global warming/cooling/whatever since he has important things to do and is rich and famous.


Obviously, people in power do not have problems with playing fast and loose with the dictates of climate change, but what happens when federal money earmarked for climate change does not go for climate change?

Just the News has the story of $740K in USDA grants for rural Pennsylvania that are designed to help communities fight climate change. In fact, according to a press release, approximately $195,000 in federal funds did indeed go towards decreasing carbon footprints and saving the planet. Much of that money went to solar panels and related photovoltaic systems. Fair enough. Whether or not you agree with the concept of climate change, at least that cash went for projects designed for that purpose.

But the town of Bloomsburg, PA, was the recipient of $500,000 to repave four parking lots. According to the release, this will benefit 30 businesses that occupy the surrounding areas. And there is nothing wrong with that. I’m all for local businesses succeeding. But how do you get $500,000 in climate cash for parking lots? Are they only for EVs and green vehicles? Will there be signs banning cars and trucks with internal combustion engines? Again, nothing wrong with parking lots. Most cities do not have enough of them. But I thought that one of the goals of combating climate change was to cut down on the number of cars and make mass transportation a reality for more people.

Related: Climate Change Is Not a Crisis 

Actually, I have a pretty good idea of how this happened. I have spent a little time in the world of procuring federal grants and believe me, when federal cash is on the table, it is dog-eat-dog. Every agency has a wish list and I have sat in meetings in which I was told to go pound sand because a larger agency than mine wanted it and needed the money. There are no friends in a federal grant meeting.  And in many cases, success or failure can depend on how well you write the grant. I’ve done it before and it is a slice of hell I never want to experience again. And someone, somewhere figured out how to write an application to take money meant for lowering the amount of CO2 in the air and use it to improve parking spaces. Hey, it happens. When it comes to federal grant money, there is a quasi-unspoken maxim that if you don’t use it, you lose it. On one level, the people in Bloomsburg who saw the opening and made their move really can’t be faulted for working the system. And something tells me the system isn’t about to change any time soon.



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