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Pelosi district gets $2.1M to remove wood-fired devices as Congress offers tax credits for wood heat

Emissions reduction program spends taxpayer dollars to replace wood-burning stoves, fireplaces with electric heat pumps in district represented by House Speaker, who shepherded through Congress relief package that incentivizes wood heat.

Published: May 29, 2021 5:14pm

Updated: June 4, 2021 12:20pm

This week's award goes jointly to the Environmental Protection Agency and Congress for spending millions to remove wood-burning devices in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's district — while providing tax credits in the COVID-relief bill in December to incentivize the installation of wood-burning systems.

The EPA is spending $2.1 million in a cooperative grant with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District to replace residential wood-burning systems such as stoves and fireplaces with electric heat pumps in the San Francisco Bay Area. The BAAQMD will be kicking in $205,000 toward the program.

The project — part of the EPA's Targeted Airshed Grant program — aims to reduce particulate matter emissions, and funding will be prioritized for "environmental justice communities," "low-income residents," and those most impacted by these emissions. The grant program has spent tens of millions of dollars over the past several years.

While the EPA claims on its site that it normally issues grants and funds cooperative agreements  under this program for a 12-month period, there are exceptions, and it can negotiate project periods with each applicant.

This grant for Pelosi's district is an exception, and the projected period is for five years.

While the EPA is adding to the millions it has already spent on removing wood-burning devices, wood heat tax credits were part of the $900 billion COVID relief package Pelosi helped shepherd through Congress in December.

A 26% credit will be given for the installation of home heating and hot water systems that use wood pellets, chips and cordwood at a certain efficiency. The credits will decline slightly after the first year, Energy News reported.

"It's duplication nation,” said Adam Andrzejewski, CEO & Founder of the public spending watchdog group, "Thoughtful and careful legislating is a thing of past. Simultaneously giving tax credits to install wood-burning devices and grants to replace them (to save the environment) is a great example of congressional insanity.

"Congress has created a maze of bureaucracy and overlap. One agency doesn't know what another agency is doing. Duplicative programs cost taxpayers billions of dollars, and it is government waste and mismanagement as far as the eye can see."

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