The Department of Energy will remain busy in 2010 with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act projects. In addition to $3.1 billion for the State Energy Program, the DOE is also responsible for $5 billion distributed to states for the weatherization of homes. One state has already come under criticism for management of its weatherization program:
Federal stimulus funding has provided $242 million to Illinois to weatherize more than 25,000 homes, but poor oversight of that work puts the funding at risk and in some cases puts the residents of poorly weatherized homes in danger, an audit report warns.
In an interim report released today, the Energy Department’s Inspector General warned that oversight of the Illinois program is failing at many levels.
The inspector general report says the state of Illinois has failed to inspect any weatherized units completed by seven of the 35 local agencies carrying out the work. The state also lacks a system for tracking major findings of its inspections and has not inspected 5 percent of DOE-funded weatherized units, as required by DOE.
The DOE did not escape criticism either as the auditor found the federal agency had not conducted mandatory monitoring visits in the state. The auditor’s findings were part of an interim report, and three other states – North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Virginia – face similar audit reviews. States like California and Illinois will face intense pressure to rigorously monitor, audit, and investigate ARRA green building projects. But federal agencies, like the DOE, also will spend significant resources to monitor ARRA projects. Furthermore, as ARRA projects begin to wind down, the media will begin reporting on the results. This reporting will likely quickly latch on to failed ARRA projects and programs. In short, many entities, all with different interests, will be closely examining ARRA green building projects. Related Links: Poor Oversight Threatens Ill. Weatherization Program, Says DOE IG Audit (NY Times) California Risks Losing Green Stimulus Funds (GBLU) Green Building Industry To Face More Scrutiny (GBLU)