Statement on NOAA's ''Practicable Alternatives'' Report

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) released the following statement regarding the release of a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) report, per a Government Accountability Office (GAO) recommendation last December, documenting whether there was a practicable alternative to Newport, OR.
“I’m disappointed but not surprised that NOAA has decided to protect its previous claim that there is no practicable alternative to home porting its Marine Operations Center – Pacific (MOC-P) fleet in Newport, Oregon. However, I am confident that the Inspector General (IG) investigation I requested along with my Republican colleague Senator Olympia Snowe will take a more thorough and serious look at this issue. This is taxpayer money on the line. Until the IG investigation is completed, I still think it would be a prudent step for NOAA to cease all operations in Oregon. I believe what’s called for now is for NOAA to do a full environmental impact statement. I expressed concern before, and I reiterate it now, that for this process to be impartial, it should not be conducted by those same people who conducted the original flawed competition. If it is, as with the practicable alternatives report released today, I fear we will see brazen attempts to preserve the award to Newport rather than any real effort to comply with the spirit GAO’s recommendations and Executive Order 11988.”
For more information, please see the following letters sent to the Department of Commerce and NOAA by Cantwell and others from the Washington delegation: