Congressional reports accuse Clinton administration and the Department of Energy of squandering hundreds of millions of dollars
Two Congressional reports have slammed the cancellation of a 50-year timber contract, costing Americans $750 million, and Department of Energy attempts to clean up contaminated nuclear sites, resulting in the possible waste of “billions” of dollars.
Both reports were compiled by staff members of the House Commerce Committee’s Republican majority, but had no Democratic participation. Department of Justice Defending The Indefensible: A $750,000,000 Clinton-Gore Giveaway to ‘Green Group’ Lobbyists, charges that the Clinton-Gore Administration’s cancellation of a 50-year contract to provide timber from the Tongass National Forest in Alaska was an unwise political decision that will cost taxpayers $750 million.
The report alleges that “politically motivated decisions” led to a judge agreeing that the government breached a contract with the business conglomerate, Alaska Pulp Corporation (APC), after “an intense political lobbying campaign by special interest environmental groups shaped the government’s decision to cancel the contract and to obscure the fact that the taxpayers will be heavily exposed to huge damages for breaching the contract”.
The contract had authorised a 50-year logging programme in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest, but it was terminated 17 years early at the behest of the Clinton Administration in 1994. Environmental groups had applauded the decision as they wanted the area to be protected as wilderness.
“Urged on by the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Southeast Alaska Conservation Council, the Sierra Club and the Wilderness Society, the Administration constructed a hollow legal argument for cancelling a long standing timber sale to further its radical environmental agenda,” said the House Resources Committee Chair, Representative Don Young, an Alaska Republican.
“In addition to the people of Sitka and Southeast Alaska who lost their jobs, the American taxpayers will end up paying for the political decision made by the Clinton-Gore Administration to put the fate of the contract with APC into the hands of environmental extremists and take it out of the hands of the experts,” he continued.
Incinerating Cash accuses the Department of Energy (DOE) of wasting much of the $3.4 billion that it has spent since a Congressional order in 1989 for the agency to clean up sites used for decades of nuclear weapon production. The report says that hundreds of millions of dollars were spent on technologies that “have not proved useful” in the clean up mission, and that those which have been deemed to be useful were not effectively used.
The report found that of 918 technologies funded by the DOE has funded, only 31 have been utilised more than three times at contaminated nuclear sites, and more than 50% have been deployed only once. The report puts the failure of the remediation programmes down to an “ongoing pattern of mismanagement and lack of focus”, a claim refuted by the DOE. “One out of every five research and development projects have resulted in a viable technology being used by the department,” said the DOE’s assistant secretary for environmental management, Carolyn Huntoon, said.
Congressmen say that the DOE’s own estimates place the cost of cleaning up its 113 waste sites nationwide at between $151 and $195 billion over the next 70 years, excluding $51 billion already spent over the last 10 years.
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