Inspector general: EPA ‘did not fully comply with federal laws’ in handling CARES Act funding

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A federal watchdog said Tuesday the Environmental Protection Agency failed to institute adequate risk-assessment procedures – and “did not fully comply with federal laws” – regarding appropriation funding in the recently enacted CARES Act. 

The agency’s inspector general report  states the shortcoming on the high-risk emergency supplemental appropriation created “a risk of fraud, waste, abuse.”

The 14-page report detailed, in one example, how the agency failed to properly distribute three supplemental funds for cleaning separate facilities. The report found that each facility had different needs, therefore the funds should have been divide among the facilities to maximize their use, avoiding potentially waste, fraud or abuse.

In March 2020, the agency received $7.23 million in supplemental funds to “prevent, prepare for and respond to coronavirus, domestically or internationally.”

The CARES Act was passed in March 2020 as a $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief stimulus bill, including unemployment compensations.

The report also found that the agency did not properly disclose monthly expenditures of the funds as the CARES Act requires.

All CARES Act funds expire in September, and the EPA has 39% of its fund unspent, leaving the agency with $2.81 million as of last month.

The inspector general’s office recommend the EPA document when the funds are received by agency divisions and how it will mitigate the risks of fund mismanagement and abuse.

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