Energy / Environment

Top 5 Most Ridiculous Government Spending Programs: Energy and Environment Edition


5. Overlapping Renewable Energy Subsidies.

Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) estimates that redundancies in government spending alone amount to roughly $250 billion.  That’s three times the cost of sequester cuts.  Right now 23 agencies and 130 sub-agencies are in charge of some 679 renewable energy initiatives, according to the Government Accountability Office.  One would think with all this “oversight” we could have avoided the half a billion dollar failed Solyndra loan. Read more about overlapping initiatives here.

4. Catfish Inspections


The $100 million allotted for catfish inspection in the 2008 farm bill prompted Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) to make some bad jokes. He tweeted “The fishy deal on catfish in #FarmBill needs to get fried.”  …it went downhill from there: “Catfish is one bottom-feeder with friends in high places.” Still, the point is well taken.  The Farm Bill adds the Department of Agriculture to the group of three agencies already inspecting catfish. Read his op-ed (and more catfish one-liners) in Politico here.

3. Most expensive gallon of gas EVER


Think you pay too much for gas? The US Navy spent $12 million on biofuels in the largest biofuel purchase ever made by the government.  Twelve million bucks only gets you 450,000 gallons, by the way. It comes out to about $27.00 a gallon. The “social cost” of carbon emissions are somewhere between $20 and $30 per ton, or $9 per gallon. So, no. It wasn’t worth it.

2. Meatless Monday!


The US Department of Agriculture wanted to go green so badly, it apparently forgot that it’s not the EPA. It sent out an internal memo to staff to avoid eating meat one day a week because it’s bad for the environment. Two weeks later, it purchased $170 million of meat from struggling US ranchers, ironically proving that you can’t have your meat and eat it too. It has since retracted its support for “Meatless Monday.”

And finally…

1. The $2 million Intern


The US Department of Agriculture Office of the Chief Information Officer funded a $2,000,000 internship program. But they only ever hired one full-time intern. Supposedly he still had to bring his own laptop and sit on a busted foldout chair in the hallway, just like every other intern in Washington.