September 4th, 2005 7:56 pm
Halliburton Subsidiary Gets Katrina Deal
By Lolita C. Baldor / Associated Press
WASHINGTON - A Halliburton Co. subsidiary that has come under fire for its reconstruction work in Iraq has begun tapping a $500 million Navy contract to do emergency repairs at Gulf Coast naval and Marine facilities that were battered by Hurricane Katrina.
The subsidiary, Kellogg, Brown & Root Services Inc. of Arlington, Va., was awarded the competitive bid contract last July to provide debris removal and other emergency work associated with natural disasters.
Jan Davis, a spokeswoman for the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, said Sunday that KBR will receive $12 million for work at Naval Air Station Pascagoula, Naval Station Gulfport and Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. It will receive $4.6 million for work at two smaller Navy facilities in New Orleans and others in the South.
The company has provided similar work after major disasters in the United States and abroad for more than 15 years, including in Florida after Hurricane Andrew.
But KBR has been at the center of scrutiny for receiving a five-year, no-bid contract to restore Iraqi oil fields shortly before the war began in 2003.
Halliburton has reported being paid $10.7 billion for Iraq-related government work during 2003 and 2004. The company reported its pretax profits from that work as $163 million. Pentagon auditors have questioned tens of millions of dollars of Halliburton charges for its operations there.
Late last month three congressional Democrats asked Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to investigate the demotion of a senior civilian Army official who publicly criticized the awarding of that contract.
Bunnatine H. Greenhouse, who had been the Army Corps of Engineers' top procurement official since 1997, was removed from her position last month for what the Corps called a poor job performance. The lawmakers said the demotion "appears to be retaliation" for her June 27 testimony before Congress in which she detailed her objections to the award of contracts for Iraq projects.
Vice President Dick Cheney headed Halliburton from 1995 to 2000, and Democrats have questioned whether the company has gotten favorable treatment because of his connection.
How much lower can we sink?