Cantwell Statement on Inspector General Report on NOAA's Home Porting Decision

STEHEKIN, WA – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) issued the following statement on the June 29 U.S. Commerce Department Inspector General (IG) report (http://www.oig.doc.gov/oig/reports/marine_operations_centerpacific/OAE-19897_6.28.10_OIG_to_Cantwell_Snowe.pdf), which concluded that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) mismanaged the process to select a new home port for its Pacific fleet of ships.
“The Commerce Department’s Inspector General report confirmed what we had suspected all along: That NOAA has completely mismanaged the home porting decision. Inspector General Todd Zinser said in the report that no assurance could be provided that NOAA’s award of the lease to the Port of Newport was the most cost-effective solution. I first called for this investigation back on March 5th after NOAA’s responses to my repeated requests for information on the decision did nothing but raise more questions.
“I am deeply concerned by what the IG report reveals about this entire acquisitions process. As the Inspector General indicates, the process was deeply flawed from the beginning and failed to follow important policies and procedures put in place to protect the American taxpayer. I cannot support this move until I am convinced that every viable option has been seriously considered. The IG clearly states that federally owned properties in Seattle should have been seriously considered before NOAA opted for a private lease arrangement. Meanwhile, construction continues in Newport, Oregon. This is deeply unsettling and I do not support it.”