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Questions Arise Over Google's Use Of Moffett Field In Mountain View

MOUNTAIN VIEW (KCBS)— Critics, including a U.S. Senator, have raised concern over Google's use of Moffett Federal Airfield near Mountain View, saying the tech company is getting a sweetheart deal from the federal government.

Iowa Republican Senator Charles Grassley has written a letter to the head of NASA about what he calls "troubling allegations" about planes owned by Google executives at Moffett Field a former U.S. Navy facility now owned and operated by NASA Ames Research Center.

Senator Grassley writes those executives pay $3.7 million a year to use the airfield and he questions whether that is fair market value.

KCBS' Chris Filippi Reports:

The Iowa Republican also raises concerns that the planes housed at Moffett are rarely used for scientific missions and that the executives maybe buying jet fuel from the government at a discount.

John Simpson with the public advocacy group Consumer Watchdog said according a report they put out a year ago, they found Google was getting "absolutely preferential treatment by NASA," and asked Congress to look into the matter.

The planes are privately owned by Google executives under a separate holding company called H211 LLC.

An executive with H211 said the company pays above market rent for hangar space and its planes have been involved in more than "150 scientific missions".

He also said the company is only allowed to use fuel provided by a Defense Department contractor.
(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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