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Energy And Water Development And Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2008

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC


ENERGY AND WATER DEVELOPMENT AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2008 -- (House of Representatives - June 20, 2007)

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Mr. MATHESON. Mr. Chairman, the Department of Energy is currently managing 206 ongoing projects and, unfortunately, the agency has a long record of inadequate management and oversight of contracts. DOE's failure to hold contractors accountable led the GAO to designate DOE contract administration and project management as a high-risk area for waste, fraud, abuse and mismanagement way back in 1990. Although DOE has made some oversight improvements in the intervening years, GAO noted in reports completed this year, 17 years after the 1990 report, that major problems exist in contracting management at the agency.

One quick example: On a project started in 2004 to demonstrate an alternative waste treatment technology at DOE's Hanford site, DOE officials decided to accelerate the project's schedule. As a result, the project was initiated without using key project management tools, such as an independent review of the cost and schedule baseline. After the project experienced significant schedule and technical problems and the estimated cost more than tripled to about $230 million, DOE began requiring that the project be managed consistent with its project management requirements.

Furthermore, on four additional projects, estimated to cost over $100 million each, cost and schedule information was not being reported into DOE's project tracking system, resulting in less senior management oversight.

My amendment would simply require DOE's Inspector General to conduct a root-cause analysis to fully understand the causes of its contract and management problems, as has been recommended by the GAO.

I encourage everyone to support this amendment as a necessary first step in order to better address the contract management challenges faced by the DOE.

Mr. Chairman, I yield to the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. Visclosky).

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