Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., makes his way to the U.S. Capitol from the Senate subway. (Photo By Douglas Graham/Roll Call )
Retiring Sen. Tom Coburn is out today with the last edition of his annual Wastebook. The Wastebook offers the Oklahoma Republican, a notorious budget hawk, a creative way to lambast congressional spending habits by pointing out programs that he views as silly and wasteful. It’s quite the hit!
The report highlights the top 100 projects Coburn deems wasteful. Just about every industry earns his ire, but the following pertain to energy and environmental spending.
New York Beer Farm. I initially thought this was a plot by some handle-bar mustachioed hipster in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, who had tricked the federal government into providing seed money to start a microbrewery in his backyard. I even pictured him peddling his fixed gear bike all the way to Sen. Charles Schumer‘s state office to make a pitch– Here man, just try this chocolate chip blueberry pancake stout. But alas, it’s a $200,000 Department of Agriculture grant to New York brewer Empire Brewing to expand from one location in Syracuse to a 22-acre farm in Cazenovia, New York.
Worm Power. A $199,000 grant to farmers to produce compost for Worm Power, a company responsible for creating a process known as “vermicomposting.” According to Coburn, “These earthworms are not just eating through manure. They are also digesting taxpayer dollars.”
Coal to Germany. $638,910 to send anthracite coal to military bases in Germany. The practice was first established in the 1960s by an earmark from the late coal country Rep. Daniel Flood (D-Pa.).
Watching the Grass Grow. This one is exactly what it sounds like. The Department of Interior’s Fish and Wildlife service is spending $10,000 to “cover the cost to monitor grasses, restore two acres as a demonstration and publish a guide on best practices for cultivating the cordgrass, known formally as Spartina alterniflora.”
Perfect Poop Pak. A $50,000 USDA grant to package and market alpaca manure as “Poop Paks.” Just in time for the holidays!