Weatherization Stimulus Report: Fail

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The promise was $5 billion in stimulus funds to weatherize homes - become more energy efficient by upgrading insulation, heating and cooling systems, air filters and windows - for 590,000 low income residents - creating jobs in all 50 states along the way.

CBS News investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reports a new Inspector General's report today has the cold reality: an alarming lack of progress. Despite good intentions, bureaucratic red tape has ruled the day.

Some of the states that got the most money didn't even weatherize two percent of their target homes.

New York has $394 million available and planned to weatherize 45,400 units. But only did 280.

Believe it or not that's better than a lot of states. Cold states like Alaska ($18.1 million available) and Wyoming ($10.2 million available) didn't weatherize a single home. Same with Texas ($326 million available), Rhode Island ($20 million available), Hawaii ($4 million avail), and Washington D.C ($8 million available)

Congress' home town really could've used the help for their snowiest winter ever.

In all, only $368.2 million - less than 8 percent of the money available - has been spent on weatherization. Not surprising, the Inspector General found the jobs impact "has not materialized."

In a statement, the Energy Department (overseeing the program) said:

"We appreciate the work of the Inspector General as we continue to work with states to ramp up their programs. During January, states significantly increased their spending and the number of homes weatherized under the Recovery Act, but additional progress is needed to help states reach their targets and deliver the benefits of energy efficiency to families across the country. As a result of the Department's efforts to address challenges in the program's implementation - including resolving Davis-Bacon wage determinations in all 50 states and clarifying how states should handle historic preservation - states weatherized more than 125,000 homes by the end of 2009 and are on pace to do at least 250,000 homes this year. In fact, since September 2009, we have tripled the pace of Recovery Act-funded home weatherization.

Still, our goal is to improve further. Vice President Biden and Secretary Chu have been discussing additional steps that can be taken to continue strengthening the program, and agreed this morning to move forward with additional new measures that should increase our pace of weatherization. This will require additional reporting, the redeployment of personnel from other agencies to expand federal project oversight, and direct follow up by Secretary Chu and senior Department officials with states that are lagging behind. The Department will remain focused on providing each of the states and local agencies with the resources they need to quickly and effectively implement this program."

The single biggest expenditure in the stimulus weatherization program to date is a lump sum of $270 million. Not to weatherize homes, but given to the Department of Energy to administer the grants.
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    Sharyl Attkisson is a CBS News investigative correspondent based in Washington.

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