The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) didn’t report a staggering $7 billion in award-level obligations and outlays during fiscal year 2022, according to an inspector general audit released this week.
The EPA Office of the Inspector General (OIG) determined that the agency underreported its award-level outlays by $5.8 billion, or 99.9%, and its award-level obligations by $1.2 billion, or 12.9% during FY22, the period between October 2021 and September 2022. The agency further failed to report any of its Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act outlays and under-reported its coronavirus pandemic-related outlays.
“The lack of complete and accurate reporting also led to taxpayers being initially misinformed about the EPA’s spending, and policy-makers who relied on the data may not have been able to effectively track federal spending,” the OIG report concluded.
In response to the audit, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., blasted the EPA and called for increased transparency into its activities.
“It’s outrageous and unacceptable that the EPA cannot keep track of its spending or inform Congress — and the American people — of how it is using taxpayer dollars,” McMorris Rodgers said in a statement Thursday. “This eye-opening report only further highlights the need for more transparency at the EPA.”
“It also raises questions about whether the agency is incapable of managing its record-high budget or if the agency is attempting to hide the amount of taxpayer dollars it is spending to advance the administration’s radical rush-to-green agenda,” she added. “The Energy and Commerce Committee will continue holding this administration accountable for its actions that are driving up costs across the board and hurting Americans.”
The EPA ultimately corrected its FY22 figures in May 2023 as a result of the OIG audit while making configuration changes a month later. Overall, the inspector general made five recommendations which it said the agency agreed to make.
The report, meanwhile, comes as the EPA both manages a massive green energy fund and continues to request a larger budget. The Inflation Reduction, Democrats’ massive climate and tax bill passed in 2022, created the $27 billion Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, which in turn establishes a national green bank to fund green projects nationwide.
And the White House is requesting that Congress approve a FY24 EPA budget of more than $12 billion, a record level. Republicans have aimed to reduce the EPA budget to about $6 billion, which would be the agency’s smallest budget since the early 1990s.
“The Biden administration is using EPA as a pass through for taxpayer dollars to fund left-wing groups that aim to get Democrats elected, not improve the environment,” Mandy Gunasekara, a Heritage Foundation visiting fellow who served as the EPA’s chief of staff during the Trump administration, told Fox News Digital.
“A failure to report $7 billion is absurd and unacceptable, but also symbolic of how Team Biden operates: prioritizing their political goals over the needs of the American people,” she continued. “I’m glad Chair Rodgers is monitoring this and hope the committee brings forth the agency’s Chief Financial Officer to account for this serious oversight.”
The EPA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.