Bloomberg is out with a blockbuster story today: Massachusetts-based companies received twice as much money in federal contracts stemming from the BP oil spill as all five Gulf states combined. The source is data compiled by Bloomberg Rankings from the Federal Procurement Data System.
Of the five states where businesses received the most money, only Louisiana borders the Gulf. The Pelican State’s contracts totaled at least $10.9 million. That amount combined with federal response money paid to companies in Mississippi, Alabama, Texas and Florida, the Gulf states received a grand total of $25.3 million. As it turns out, a single Massachusetts-based firm by the name of Industrial Economics Inc., reported receiving nearly twice as much as all five Gulf states combined – a whopping $47.52 million. And the runner-up firm was based in Colorado, which ranked third for contracts, where Stratus Consulting raked in $22.73 million, Bloomberg reports.
Ah, you know this sort of things leads to our friends at NOAA. Bloomberg quotes a government spokesman as saying the situation happened because of contracts that “… [the] National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has with damage-assessment consultants based outside of the region.” The spokesperson adds: “The contracts are set up in advance to provide support capabilities in response to emergency pollution events. Their expertise is not simply transferable to another firm in the Gulf region nor are the contract mechanisms in place.”
Folks, I can tell you that this is not going to play well in the Gulf – and the story is already going viral.
Beyond the idea that somehow the folks from the Boston area know better how to deal with the Gulf – that “expertise is not simply transferable” nonsense – this will dramatically increase tensions surrounding the BP claims process. While Kenneth Feinberg works from Washington, D.C., he is a Boston native and is famous for having worked with the late Sen. Ted Kennedy. Fair or not, this revelation will add fuel to the fire that out-of-area companies are making millions – and yet the cleanup continues to stumble along.
It’s also another controversy for NOAA, but compared to backing BP on its low-ball spill estimates, announcing “Mission Accomplished” with oil still washing ashore and spinning health concerns to benefit political goals, it’s actually small potatoes.
The Bloomberg initial report is here: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-11-17/massachusetts-companies-get-lion-s-share-of-oil-spill-contracts.html
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