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EPA wastes $3 million on more useless nonsense

Of all the wasteful federal bureaucracies, the Environmental Protection Agency is likely in the news most often for throwing away taxpayer money. 

The Washington Free Beacon has found yet another example.

The Environmental Protection Agency has nearly $3 million tied up with contractors that have not done any work for the agency in a year and a half, according to a new audit.

The agency’s inspector general analyzed multiple unnecessary contracts that taxpayer dollars are still being obligated towards.

“We performed this audit to determine whether the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has adequate controls in place to identify and deobligate unneeded contract, purchase and miscellaneous obligations (such as training, settlement agreements, transit subsidies, and non-competitive sources—utilities); and to determine the potential dollar amount of obligations that could be deobligated,” the audit said. “An unliquidated obligation can be described as an obligation or liability that has not been outlaid, expended, or liquidated.”

“If the final payment request has been received and the obligation is fully satisfied, the obligating official should request a deobligation of any remaining funds in the agency’s financial system

The audit identified $583,875 set aside for purchases on contracts that have had “no activity in the last 18 months,” and estimated an additional $2,962,058 could be saved through closing other contracts.

“When the EPA does not deobligate unliquidated obligations timely, the funds cannot be used for other EPA environmental activities that would benefit human health and the environment,” the inspector general said.

The inspector general said the EPA “did not adequately review or monitor outstanding obligations” on contracts. It is against agency guidelines to not restructure contracts that have had no activity for six months.

More oversight and internal accountability would be great, but the real problem lies deeper. The EPA doesn't care about wasting taxpayer money because they have no incentive to be efficient. Their funding is secure. Congress can spend as much as it wants, and they clearly don't mind if the agencies they supposedly oversee waste a few million (or billion) here and there.

A Convention of States can change the status quo. By proposing constitutional amendments that force the feds to balance their budget and restrict their ability to tax, an Article V Convention of States can offer the change this country so desperately needs.

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