Yesterday the Washington Examiner reported that the Office of Inspector General (OIG) has charged that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) violated the Buy America Act that was part of the Recovery Act. This is bureaucracy at its worst.
The article reports:
In March 2011, the OIG inspected the wastewater plant in Ottawa, Ill., and determined several European and Korean-made parts didn’t satisfy the Buy America Act that requires parts to be purchased or “substantially transformed” in the U.S.
The EPA for the past two years has refused to either eliminate the rule or return the stimulus funds spent on the foreign equipment, saying the purchase didn’t violate its own rules.
“In the event that the region decides to retain foreign-manufactured goods in the Ottawa project… the region should either ‘reduce the amount of the award by the cost of the steel, iron, or manufactured goods that are used in the project or . . . take enforcement or termination action in accordance with the agency’s grants management regulations,’ the OIG said. “Neither the region nor the city agreed with our conclusion that the documentation was not sufficient to support Buy American compliance for some items.”
How many man hours did it take to reach this conclusion, how many more man hours will be spent on this before it is resolved, and what difference does it make? How about a law that says you buy the best quality for the lowest price? Wouldn’t that save taxpayers money which would put more money in taxpayers’ pockets that the taxpayers could spend to stimulate the economy?
The article further reports:
The EPA instead blamed its Office of Water for establishing a flimsy test for whether products met the Buy America act. The agency admitted the rule isn’t a good test, but described it as “inartful” rather than wrong.
To me that sounds like a teenager explaining why it was okay to stay out past curfew!