House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA), and Environment Subcommittee Chairman John Shimkus (R-IL), sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt seeking information regarding the process by which EPA closes out its grants.
“For the past decade, investigations and reports by the Committee, Office of Inspector General, and Government Accountability Office (GAO) have uncovered waste and mismanagement in EPA’s grant programs,” write Walden, Murphy, and Shimkus. “This comes in light of a 2016 GAO report that found $994 million in expired grant accounts at the federal entities it reviewed. Because EPA was not among the agencies GAO examined, questions remain about whether EPA properly manages its grant closeouts. This is crucial given that EPA awards almost half of its budget, approximately $4 billion annually, in grants.”
The members continue, “While EPA has made some improvements, recent reports continue to show the need for improved grant practices, including EPA grant money apparently spent by a subgrantee for political advocacy, a state grant recipient accumulating millions of dollars in unspent grant funds while continuing to receive additional money, and concerns that EPA could improve grant monitoring practices.”
The committee requested EPA provide documents to assist in its oversight of whether or not the agency is properly closing out grants in a manner that is timely and efficient. The committee requested:
- Reports from EPA’s cash management systems and grant management systems of all expired grant accounts from FY 2012, FY 2013, FY 2014, and FY 2015.
- All documents relating to expired grant accounts, including how long the accounts have been expired, whether an extension on the period of performance has been given, total monthly banking fees for each expired grant, and any information regarding the reason the grant was not closed out in a timely manner.
- All final reports, performance reports, and progress reports submitted for each of the expired grant accounts.
- A list of all grant applicants and grantees designated as high risk, including information relating to any additional monitoring conducted on high risk grantees.
To read the letter online, click here.