June 27, 2013
The Environmental Protection Agency’s inspector general has launched a new investigation into conduct at storage facilities, following findings of “deplorable conditions” at an EPA warehouse in May.
“As a result of our findings, we are conducting an additional, comprehensive audit at other selected warehouse spaces,” EPA IG Arthur Elkins said.
In its original report, the IG office found secret rooms full of exercise equipment, televisions and couches, as well as numerous potential security and safety hazards, corrosion, vermin feces and pervasive mold. The Landover, Md., warehouse was operated by contractors.
An EPA spokeswoman said the agency has already conducted its own separate reviews and found no other problems.
“During this review, we noted no circumstances that required any review of other contracts or contractors,” the spokeswoman told Government Executive. “The conditions of concern identified at the Landover warehouse do not exist at any other agency warehouse or storage facility, and we will ensure that those conditions do not recur at an EPA facility.”
The inspector general said in a statement he plans to push forward with his investigation.
“My office will continue its efforts to prevent and detect fraud, waste and abuse in the EPA’s programs and operations,” Elkins said. “If the OIG does not provide this level of transparency into agency programs and operations, who will?”
Elkins’ office has not yet completed its investigation, and will not release any further details until it has conducted a full review.
“At this point, I cannot disclose any findings about the current review,” said Jeffrey Lagda, a spokesman for the IG. “It is still in a preliminary stage, so a timeframe for the audit has not yet been estimated.”
June 27, 2013