(WASHINGTON)—The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is reviewing the Port of Los Angeles’ decision to use $489,000 in stimulus funds awarded by the federal government to install a new propulsion system in a Port-owned yacht used for publicity and educational tours.
Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) wrote February 6 to Dr. Geraldine Knatz, executive director of the Port, requesting information on a hybrid-electric propulsion system designed for the 70-foot motoryacht, Angelena II.
The City of Los Angeles received a $37 million Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Of this grant, the Port received approximately $1.5 million for its Port Technology Advancement program. According to a Port of Los Angeles press release, $489,000 of the $1.5 million grant for the Port of Los Angeles was used to retrofit the Angelena II with the new power system.
“At at time when city, state and federal budgets are at the breaking point, taxpayers should be able to rely on their elected officials making sound decisions about spending taxpayer money,” Issa said. “The Port of Los Angeles owes the public greater transparency about this project and a full accounting of the cost-benefit analysis used to justify spending on this type of project,” Issa added.
Issa requested answers to five questions as part of the Committee’s investigation into “green” energy programs, loans and grants issued by the U.S. Department of Energy, including:
1. When did the Port of Los Angeles apply to DOE to receive reimbursement for the retrofitting of the Angelena II for the hybrid-electric propulsion system? What information did DOE request when you applied for reimbursement for the retrofit?
2. What is the status of retrofitting the Angelena II? Prior to retrofitting, how many hours had the Angelena II ran on its two 350 horsepower diesel engines? What is the typical lifespan, in terms of hours, of the diesel engines that were on the Angelena II? Prior to 2010 when was the last time that the vessel had its engines retrofitted?
3. Regarding the Port Technology Advancement Program, at what priority level did retrofitting the Angelena II rank? How did the Port of Los Angeles use the remainder of the EECBG Program money allocated to it?
4. What discretion did the Port of Los Angeles have in deciding how to allocate the funds given by the EECBG Program?
5. Please provide all documents and communications, including e-mails referring or relating to the decision to use the EECBG Program for the retrofit of the Angelena II.
Issa requested a reply from Dr. Knatz by February 20, 2012. A copy of the letter is here.
|Letter to Dr. Knatz|