Tags: VA Scandal | Arkansas | Republicans | Rip | VA | Solar Project | Wasteful

Arkansas Republicans Rip VA's $408M Solar Project as 'Wasteful'

Image: Arkansas Republicans Rip VA's $408M Solar Project as 'Wasteful'

Rep. French Hill and Sen. John Boozman (Photo via Hill.House.Gov)

By    |   Monday, 08 Aug 2016 04:32 PM

Count delayed and still-inoperable solar panel projects are among the ways the Department of Veterans Affairs have wasted taxpayer dollars—spending $408 million from 2010-15—amid a VA scandal that has infamously featured vets dying in wait to see doctors.

"Whether it is a project as complex as hospital construction or one as simple as the proper installation of solar panels, VA continues to waste large amounts of taxpayer funds as a result of its own ineptitude," Rep. French Hill, R-Ark., said in response to an official audit's findings.

The audit, conducted by the office's inspector general and dated Aug. 3, found the VA spent $408 million from 2010-15 and only two of the 11 planned solar projects have been completed as of March 2016. Additionally, only six of the 11 locations were actually producing solar power.

Those numbers have improved to 45 percent complete and 73 serviceable as of July 2016, according to the report.

"This occurred because of planning errors, design changes, a lengthy interconnection process, and contractor delays," Larry M. Reinkemeyer, the assistant inspector general for audits and evaluations, concluded. "As a result, VA did not increase renewable energy for those solar projects in the time frame planned and incurred additional costs through needed contract modifications."

The audit was initiated on request by two Republican congressmen from Arkansas — Sen. John Boozman and Rep. Hill — to look into the solar panel project in Little Rock, Ark.

That site will not be completed until January 2017, four years late and with $1.5 million in unexpected costs, the report stated.

The project is still not generating any solar power either, Reinkemeyer said.

"The clear takeaway is that there is a lack of accountability and oversight at VA when it comes to the Green Management Program," Boozman said in the joint statement with Hill. "This must change. … Steps must be taken to ensure that resources meant to help our veterans are not squandered on wasteful projects."

A report in July found the VA spent $20 million on artwork the past 10 years at its facilities, including $670,000 on sculptures no blind vet can see at a blind rehab center.

 

 

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Count delayed and still-inoperable solar panel projects are among the ways the Department of Veterans Affairs have wasted taxpayer dollars-spending $408 million from 2010-15-amid a VA scandal that has infamously featured vets dying in wait to see doctors.
Arkansas, Republicans, Rip, VA, Solar Project, Wasteful
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2016-32-08
Monday, 08 Aug 2016 04:32 PM
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