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Miscalculation To Give Idaho National Lab Contractor Big Bonus

Jessica Robinson


A new federal audit criticizes the way the U.S. Department of Energy calculated costs of clean-up work at the Idaho National Laboratory. The report finds that a contractor may end up getting large bonuses as a result.

You may remember the term "shovel-ready." Back in 2008 the Department of Energy spent federal stimulus money to clean up Cold War-era waste at the Idaho National Lab near Idaho Falls. It contracted with a company, known as CWI, that was already doing clean-up at the site.

Now, an audit from Energy's Inspector General's office says the company may end up getting $29 million in bonus fees meant to reward coming in under budget.

But, the audit says, the Department of Energy used an old budget estimate to calculate those bonuses instead of an updated one that was much lower.

Brad Bugger is an Energy spokesman. He says the audit misses the big picture.

"Yeah, the company will make more money by using the original contracted amount or cost, but you can't look at that one piece of work and across the whole contract they've been saving money," he says.

The bonuses, known as incentive fees, are given to contractors who save the government money by keeping costs down.

Copyright 2011 Northwest News Network