EPA auditors are recommending that federal stimulus funds granted to a Eugene non-profit be taken back. They say Cascade Sierra Solutions, which works to clean up the US trucking industry, has problems with its books.
In 2009, Cascade Sierra Solutions was given a $9 million Diesel Emission Reduction Act grant. The non-profit used the federal stimulus funds to help owners finance the upgrades of trucking fleets to be more environmentally sound.
But when the EPA Inspector General’s Office looked at the books last year, it found the non-profit’s financial management system did not comply with federal regulations, among other issues. It said the EPA should take back the reward.
David Orton is Communications Manager at Cascade Sierra Solutions.
Orton: “This is a very new and innovative program. And it’s not a program that the EPA has funded in the past.”
Orton says the technology upgrade program is not only backed by stimulus funds, but by private banking sources as well. This, he said, raised red flags for the auditors.
Orton: “It’s really more about reporting than misuse of funds I believe.”
The Inspector General’s Office also asked the EPA to consider suspending Cascade Sierra from future awards. The company has been working with the EPA to rectify the issues.
Orton: “EPA has always been one of our key partners, and it would certainly be detrimental to our mission if we were unable to work with EPA in the future. And we certainly hope it doesn’t come to that.”
Auditors released their findings earlier this month.
Copyright 2012 Northwest Public Radio