Michael Bastasch, DCNF
A federal agency created in the wake of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster spent the next five years reorganizing itself instead of figuring out ways to prevent another major offshore oil spill, according a report on government waste.
Oklahoma Republican Rep. James Lankford put out this year’s government “Wastebook,” which highlights how the Obama administration spent billions of taxpayer dollars on duplicative programs, questionable studies and onerous regulations.
“In this book you will see many examples of wasteful, duplicative and inefficient use of your tax dollars,” Lankford wrote.
“Unfortunately some of the spending you will read about comes through one-time expenditures — like a grant to purchase custom Snuggies or a study to find out that kids do not like to eat food that has been sneezed on,” he wrote.
One of Lankford’s energy-related examples of government waste centers on the bureaucracy set up to regulate offshore drilling.
The Department of Interior created the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) in 2011, about a year after a BP oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico exploded, killed workers and spilled nearly 5 million barrels of crude into the ocean.
“A GAO report from early 2016 states that while the Bureau underwent its own reorganization in 2013, over the last five years of its existence, it has ‘made limited progress’ in developing the tools necessary to complete its mission,” according to Lankford’s report.
“Additionally, the Bureau’s incomplete development of oversight policies means that its own employees and the public do not know how the Bureau’s enforcement authority, specifically warnings and fines, might be used,” reads the report.
And that’s not all. Lankford also criticizes the Obama administration for giving $500 million dollars to the United Nations Green Climate Fund, despite Congress not explicitly appropriating any money for such spending.
The National Institutes of Health also spent $1.6 million on a five-year program to improve the health of immigrants and refugees in a Minnesota town. NIH-backed researchers will watch immigrant families over two years to see if exercise and eating healthy foods makes them healthier, Lankford wrote.
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