More Layoffs For Environmental Project That Received $2 Billion in Stimulus Funds

Despite having received nearly $2 billion in stimulus funding, contractors at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation cleanup project in Richland, Wash., have consistently hemorrhaged jobs over the past couple of years as taxpayer dollars dried up, and companies had to return to more realistic budgets.  And while this has been a consistent pattern established for years now, a new round of a couple hundred layoffs at the site is being attributed to – you guessed it – sequestration.

According to the Department of Energy, layoff notices went out to 235 workers on Monday at the Hanford site, with another 2,500 employees expected to be furloughed, all due to budget cuts caused by sequestration.

Now, whether or not these cuts can truthfully be attributed to sequestration at all, or if it is simply a continuation of poor budgeting post-stimulus, can be debated another day.  How the DOE can discern between the two will be interesting.

Even so, by these numbers, this makes the sequestration a ringing success when compared to the Obama stimulus plan.  The Hanford cleanup project has already lost thousand of jobs prior to the sequestration.  Roughly three times as many employees had already been laid off by one contractor at the site alone.  

Funny, I don’t recall the administration making an announcement about those layoffs.

In 2009, the company charged with the bulk of the cleanup operation, CH2M Hill, celebrated the announcement of billions in taxpayer dollars via the stimulus, by holding a job fair. That job fair led to nearly 1,300 employees being hired.  

Two years later, CH2M Hill was again hosting a job fair – this time to try and place employees that were going to be laid off.  As communications director Dee Milliken explained, when the stimulus money finally ran out, “those jobs ended up going away”.

They went away, and then some.  

In January of 2011, 1,600 layoffs were announced at the Hanford site, with 1,350 of those coming from CH2M Hill alone.  In other words, the entire stimulus job fair gain had been wiped out, with dozens of additional jobs lost. But it didn’t stop there.

In August of 2012, the company announced an additional 95 workers had been laid off, and that one month later another 340 would lose their jobs.

That was just one company.  Post-mortem on the stimulus showed that thousands of people lost their jobs at the Hanford site, all told.

This is a budgeting microcosm.  Nearly $2 billion in spending led to a net loss of 2,000 jobs at the nuclear cleanup project.  For one company and their employees, CH2M Hill, $1.3 billion led to nearly 500 layoffs.

What’s more – the company is claiming that they have to cut $29.8 million from their budget, hence the new round of layoffs.  By comparison, $29.8 million equates to merely 2.3% of the entire package of taxpayer money awarded to them through the stimulus.  

But it’s the minimal budget cuts, not massive wasteful spending that caused the damage.

The stimulus in the end, was nothing more than a short-term band-aid on a long-term wound.  And after the bandage was ripped off, employment opportunities bled out.

Nowhere has this been more evident than with Hanford and CH2M Hill.

You probably have heard very little of this, however, in the mainstream media. Compare that to the myriad of sob stories that will be drummed up regarding the ‘pain and loss’ of sequestration.

As for Hanford – Despite all of those jobs lost at the hands of the stimulus, to the tune of thousands of displaced workers, the administration wants you to believe that spending cuts have led to a couple of hundred workers being laid off.

Michelle Malkin refers to it as “squirrel politics” – the politics of distraction.

Ignore those thousands of lost jobs over there, and focus intently on hundreds here.  Ignore the massive spending which led to significant job loss, and instead focus on the spending cuts.

The administration continues to focus on messaging in the form of misinformation over jobs.  What will you be focused on?

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