Wednesday, June 24, 2009

House Rules Committee Accepts Smith's Defense Act Amendment to Mandate Earle Cost, Security Analysis by GAO

Great news out of Congressman (District 4) Chris Smith's office in Washington this morning!

The House Rules Committee last night accepted Mr. Smith's amendment to H.R. 2647 (the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2010), requiring the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO, investigative arm of Congress) to report to Congress on a cost analysis and audit of the Navy's security measures in advance of the proposed occupancy by the general public of units of the Laurelwood Housing complex at NWS Earle. (Here is the amendment.)

This approval validates what NOPE argued all along - that NAVFAC's Environmental Impact Statement, on which the decision was based to provide the access route to Laurelwood, was half-baked and poorly drawn and failed to comply with federal mandates for financial and security threat assessments as part of an appropriate EIS.

The Navy made a bad decision based on a non-compliant document, and we suspect the GAO will validate our view that the Navy's decision should be set aside. We will continue to press this issue and provide updates here, so stay tuned. And we again thank Mr. Smith for his continued energy and support in fighting the Laurelwood housing plan.

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