DOE IG Again Calls for DOE Closures and Reprioritization of Cleanup Projects

DOE News:

Testifying before the House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigation Subcommittee at a hearing on “Budget and Spending Concerns at DOE” last Thursday, April 18, DOE Inspector General Gregory H. Friedman reiterated his office’s recommendation that DOE consider:

  • (1) Closing national laboratories
  • (2) Reprioritizing environmental remediation efforts, and
  • (3) Reincorporating NNSA into DOE.

Friedman said DOE may not be able to sustain its complex of 16 Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDC) and should therefore convene a blue ribbon commission to examine the issue.

Further, Friedman said the commission should identity opportunities for laboratory consolidation and realignment.

Regarding EM, Friedman said that future years funding may be inadequate to support a cleanup strategy driven by Federal Facility Agreements and local agreements.

Therefore, Friedman said, EM should revise its environmental remediation strategy by “adopting an approach which emphasizes addressing environmental concerns on a national complex-wide, risk-driven basis.”

Friedman equated this to “using a form of triage,” saying EM would “primarily fund only those projects with a demonstrated near-term impact on health, safety and environment.”

Friedman also recommended examining the reincorporation of NNSA into DOE.

In particular, his office questions whether “(i) the benefits of a semi-autonomous NNSA outweigh the additional costs; and, (ii) this costly arrangement can be sustained given the likelihood of future budget reductions.”

This is not the first time that the DOE IG has made these recommendations regarding the national laboratories, EM’s cleanup strategy, and NNSA.

All three suggestions were also contained in the November, 2011 DOE IG report, “Management Challenges at the Department of Energy.”

In that report, the DOE IG said its recommendations were “intended to assist the Department in dealing with the likely budget reductions facing most agency programs.”

Relevant links:

Friedman’s testimony from April 18 is available here <>

The November 2011 DOE IG report is available here <>

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