The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) announced that it will be allotting $3.3 million in 22 grants towards conservation efforts to protect the monarch butterfly. This funding comes shortly after allocating a $263,000 grant to prevent marine debris on the U.S. coastline. While the causes are noble, the seemingly small numbers add up quickly. In August, a total of $16 million was allocated to the organization’s largest grants. This $16 million does not include the various “smaller” grants in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. The total number of grants allocated by the NFWF in August is considerably higher. Assuming the amount of grants allocated in August is typical for the rest of the year, total allotted funds would amount to hundreds of millions of dollars annually.
For most of the funds NFWF distributes, grants are composed of both public and private funding. In the case of the grants to save the monarch butterfly, part of the funding came from Monsanto, which produces Roundup Ready, a herbicide that is responsible for eliminating milkweed, a staple in monarch caterpillar’s diet. When private companies responsible for the damages are willing to fund environmental solutions, why is the government also footing the bill? After years of poor economic performance following the financial crisis, massive federal and state deficits, bankrupt cities, and a slew of other problems, the government funding hundreds of millions of dollars annually towards these causes, when non-government entities are willing to issue grants, is irresponsible. A noble cause, be it saving the dwindling monarch butterfly population, or something else, does not justify economic wastefulness; especially at the expense of taxpayers.
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