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Project on Government Oversight

GAO Confirms That Bajagua Project Is A Stinky Deal

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April 25, 2008

Yesterday, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) substantiated many of POGO's findings from our 2006 report on the Bajagua project. Follow the link for POGO's report, The Politics of Contracting: Bajagua's No-Bid Deal.

The GAO report detailed numerous aspects of a questionable sweetheart deal to use federal funds to pay a private U.S. company, Bajagua, LLC, for a wastewater treatment plant in Mexico.  Bajagua's proposal faces numerous technical, regulatory and financial challenges.

The report found "that the Bajagua, LLC project includes more unresolved issues than the [South Bay International Wastewater Treatment Plant] upgrade, such as the need to obtain over 30 permits, approvals, and concessions from both U.S. and Mexican authorities; the need to resolve significant issues in its draft fee-for-services agreement with the USIBWC; and other legal and technical issues which could delay its schedule."

The Bajagua project would cost an estimated $200 million more in taxpayer dollars over twenty years than an alternative proposal put forth by the government.

"The GAO's report confirms that the Bajagua project is a stinky deal that is bad for taxpayers and the environment of Southern California," said POGO investigator Nick Schwellenbach.

In 2007, POGO's report also generated two investigative reports in the Wall Street Journal and San Diego Magazine.

Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that champions good government reforms. POGO’s investigations into corruption, misconduct, and conflicts of interest achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.

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