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Feds Spent $850,000 to "Green" Buildings, and then Tore Them Down

(p. 4A) WASHINGTON -- The four drafty buildings had been fix­tures of the Energy Depart­ment complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn., for more than half a cen­tury. They burned energy like 1950s sedans.

The buildings seemed like perfect candidates for a federal conservation retrofit program that relies on private contrac­tors that receive a percentage of the money they save. A deal was struck in 2001. The con­tractor reworked lighting and heating systems, among other things, and began collecting payments.

The project was count­ed among the department's "green" successes -- until auditors discovered that the buildings had been torn down several years ago, and the gov­ernment had paid $850,000 for energy savings at facilities that no longer existed.

The audit findings show the potential for waste and abuse at a time when the department is poised to launch billions of dollars more in stimulus spend­ing on an unprecedented welter of green projects across the country.

. . .

The problems are not exclu­sive to Oak Ridge. The audi­tors, from the department's inspector general's office, also determined that $565,000 had been paid over six years un­der the same arrangement to a contractor in Texas for a high­efficiency laundry that was no longer in use.

The department also paid out $3.4 million on another project without checking whether the conservation measures worked -- and $160,000 for measure­ments that were never taken.

For the full story, see:

THE WASHINGTON POST. "Audit finds 'green' projects resulted in waste, abuse; The findings point to a need for oversight as the government readies stimulus projects." Omaha World-Herald (Sun., Sept. 27, 2009): 4A.

(Note: ellipsis added.)


It is really sad to know that so much money is being spent on “nothing”. It is literally money going down the drain. At a time when we need to make the most of the resources that we have at our disposal, including federal funds, it is unthinkable that so much money is being wasted on non-existent projects. We at Climatarians run a web resource that helps people interested in saving the environment come together for a common cause.

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