DOE Favorite: We Received An Additional $10 Million – Because of Sequestration

While the administration has been taking a ‘sky is falling’ approach regarding the effects of the sequestration, one Department of Energy (DOE) contractor has claimed that the financial cuts had little effect on their operations.  In fact, Daniel Coyne, President of the B&W West Valley division for CH2M Hill, claimed that his company actually received an additional $10 million in funding because of it.

CH2M Hill B&W has been chosen for nuclear clean up services at the West Valley Demonstration Project.  In 2011, the DOE announced they had agreed to a contract with the firm for seven years, consisting of $60 million in annual funding.

In a little noticed meeting with Cattaraugus lawmakers in western New York, Coyne provided an update on the project.  During his briefing, he stated the following:

“We’re one of the few sites that benefited from sequestration.  We got an additional $10 million, which brought the project back to the level the U.S. Department of Energy called for under the CH2M Hill contract.”

Clearly sequestration is not affecting everyone in the same manner.  While the White House was busy politicizing the budget cuts through petty and arbitrary savings attempts, DOE cronies such as B&W West Valley were still getting theirs. 

While school children had White House tours canceled, resulting in less than $1 million in savings, a company raking in nearly $500 million was rewarded with additional funding.

The parent company for B&W West Valley, CH2M Hill, received nearly $2 billion in stimulus funds back in 2009.  But when the taxpayer funds dried up, things went south in a hurry.  In the past few years, CH2M Hill has repeatedly announced layoffs that have met and exceeded the number of hires originally created by the stimulus, have slashed the pensions of non-union workers, and eventually demanded wage and benefit cuts from their union employees.

The B&W West Valley arm has fared equally as poorly in performance.  In addition to the 2011 contract, B&W received stimulus funds in 2009 as well – roughly $63 million.  Just prior to the new contract announcement in 2011, the West Valley company had announced 40 layoffs, bringing their workforce back to the pre-stimulus level of 266 employees.  But during the aforementioned meeting with lawmakers, Coyne explained that the number of workers at the West Valley site has dwindled to less than 200.

That said, a significant reduction in work force hasn’t affected Coyne’s cheery response to his own company’s good budgetary fortune.

The Salamanca Press reports:

“Sequestration helped us,” he added, smiling. “Go figure that out.”

It’s not really all that difficult to figure out, however.  The Foundry reported in April that the DOE had handed out cash payments of over $10 million for 29 separate projects, with $1.2 billion in awards overall.

$63 million in stimulus funds, a seven-year $420 million contract; an additional $10 million from sequestration.

And the company still lost a quarter of their workforce.

Mr. Coyne could not be reached for comment despite several attempts.  

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