Cantwell, Snowe Seek Commerce Inspector General Investigation of NOAA Pacific Fleet Home Port Decision

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) sent a letter to the Department of Commerce Inspector General asking for an investigation of the process used to determine the new  home port location for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Pacific Fleet. At issue are the glaring anomalies in the competitive bidding process that was followed in deciding to locate the home port of NOAA’s Pacific Fleet in Oregon instead of Puget Sound, WA. NOAA ships or those of its predecessor Agency, the U.S. Coastal Survey, have been based in Puget Sound for nearly a century. The comprehensive audit Cantwell and Snowe are requesting would be conducted by Commerce Department Inspector General Todd Zinser. Cantwell is Chair and Snowe is Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard, which oversees NOAA.
“When the federal government makes multi-decade financial commitments worth tens-of-millions of dollars, taxpayers have the right to know whether their tax dollars are being put to wise use,” Cantwell and Snowe wrote to Mr. Zinser in the letter. “As stewards of taxpayer dollars, Congress has an obligation to ask the tough questions and provide appropriate oversight where lapses may have occurred.”
View a copy of the letter sent to Inspector General Zinser.
Watch a video of Senator Cantwell’s opening statement on March 3, 2010 at a Commerce Subcommittee hearing, where she first called for the inspector general investigation.
For more information and links to additional background, view the March 3, 2010 press release: “Cantwell Calls For Inspector General Investigation of Controversial Shipyard Move.”
Watch a video of Cantwell’s Q&A on March 3, 2010 with Jane Lubchenco, Commerce Under Secretary for Oceans and Atmosphere, and Mr.  Zinser.