At the end of June, The Department of Commerce Inspector General confirmed that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s solicitation process was legitimate, but agrees with Senator Cantwell, Congressman McDermott, and the City of Seattle that NOAA should have first considered existing federal facilities, and that choosing an existing federal facility could have saved taxpayer dollars.
Before deciding to move its research fleet from Seattle to Newport, Ore., NOAA failed to adequately consider the less expensive option of existing federal facilities in Seattle, says the Department of Commerce Inspector General Report. The report also explained that, “given the ground rules NOAA set for the competition, Newport would have been the likely winner, regardless of flaws in the selection process. But the report found the fundamental problems with NOAA’s analysis occurred before it set the ground rules.”
In addition to the Lake Union site and the Newport site, NOAA had analyzed the Port of Bellingham and the Port of Port Angeles. NOAA has operated out of Lake Union for at least 50 years, where the 10-vessel fleet is manned and administered by a staff of about 175.
To read Seattle Times’ coverage, please click here.
To read Senator Maria Cantwell’s full press release, please click here.
To view the Department of Commerce Inspector General Report, please click here.
Additional media resources:
“Inspector general: NOAA lease award flawed”
Puget Sound Business Journal
“Report: Process that led NOAA ships to leave Seattle flawed”
“Federal watchdog questions NOAA’s move to Newport over Bellingham, Seattle”
“Rep. McDermott Lauds Inspector General’s Findings on NOAA’s Flawed Decision to Move Marine Center from Seattle to Oregon”
U.S. House of Representatives