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December 30, 2007

Millions in Earmarks Purchase Little of Use

Congressman Murtha took a beating in yesterday's Washington Post for obtaining millions in wasteful earmarks.

The National Defense Center for Environmental Excellence opened its doors in 1991 with a $5 million earmark from a powerful lawmaker [Murtha, named in the eighth paragraph]. Operating in Johnstown, Pa., the privately run center has received at least $671 million worth of federal contracts and earmarks since then to research and develop pollution-abatement technology and other systems for the Defense Department.

The center's researchers have examined scores of software systems and other gear, including groundwater monitoring equipment, gun cleaners and ultrasonic devices, according to its managers. They said the center had delivered nearly 500 technology products and tools to protect the environment, improve safety and cut Pentagon costs.

But a months-long examination by The Washington Post, including a review of documents and interviews with Pentagon officials, found that little of the center's work has been widely used or deployed by the Defense Department.

The reason that the NDCEE's programs aren't widely adopted? In more than half the cases the technologies did not save money as promised. I'm even more dubious about the non-profit, "tax-exempt charity" organization that administers the NDCEE and pulls in $250 million in annual revenue. Murtha started that group, too.


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posted by Gabriel Malor at 01:07 PM

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