DAVE GALLAGHER - THE BELLINGHAM HERALD
Washington state lawmakers are asking the Obama administration to stop the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's plans to move its Pacific Marine Operations Center to Newport, Ore.
On Thursday, Aug. 5, U.S. Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray and Congressmen Adam Smith, Dave Reichert, Norm Dicks, Jim McDermott, Jay Inslee, Brian Baird and Rick Larsen sent a letter to the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, saying the plan to relocate the research ships risks wasting taxpayer dollars.
"In our view, it is totally unacceptable that the federal government would enter into a 20-year lease worth tens of millions of dollars and not be able to guarantee to the American taxpayer that it is the most cost-effective solution based on a coherent and rigorous process," the lawmakers wrote in a joint statement.
NOAA and the Port of Newport began construction of the new facility earlier this year. NOAA selected Newport over Bellingham, Seattle, and Port Angeles in August 2009.