SCHUMER: WESTERN NY COMPANY, ECOLOGY AND ENVIRONMENT, INC., COMPLETED NUMEROUS ENVIRONMENTAL CLEANUP PROJECTS IN KUWAIT & SAUDI ARABIA, BUT HAS YET TO BE PAID NEARLY $7 MILLION FOR ITS WORK – E&E HAS BEEN WAITING 5 LONG YEARS FOR PAYMENT & IS NOW IN DANGER OF LAYING OFF WNY EMPLOYEES – SCHUMER CALLS ON KUWAIT AMBASSADOR & SAUDI OFFICIALS TO RESOLVE CASES IMMEDIATELY
Lancaster, NY-Based Company, Ecology And Environment, Inc., Completed Many Cleanup Projects in Wealthy Middle-East Countries from Post 1991 Gulf War Environmental Damage – Both Kuwait & Saudi Arabia Still Owe E&E Roughly $6.8 Million Combined & Have Yet to Pay
Both Oil-Rich Countries Cite ‘Budgetary Constraints’ As Reasons For Failing to Pay E&E For Its Work Even Five Years After Completion – Schumer Calls on Ambassadors of Both Countries to Get Involved & Close Cases ASAP Before Western NY Workforce is Put At Greater Risk
Schumer: Failing to Pay For Work Completed Could Put Jobs Back at Home in Jeopardy; Kuwaiti & Saudi Arabian Governments Must Pay Up ASAP
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today called on the ambassador from Kuwait and the Deputy Chief of Mission from Saudi Arabia to help to settle outstanding payments to a Western New York-based company that – unless resolved – could potentially put Western New York jobs in jeopardy. Schumer explained that Lancaster, NY-based company Ecology and Environment, Inc. (E&E) successfully completed numerous projects in both countries to help mitigate environmental damage that resulted from the 1991 Gulf War. However, E&E has not received payment for the work it completed in either country, nearly five years later. E&E is owed nearly $7 million. Schumer said this lack of critical payment could threaten the 235 employees that work at E&E in Erie County, as the company is now in danger of laying off workers to make up for the losses in profit. As a result, Schumer called on the Ambassador from both Kuwait and the Deputy Chief of Mission from Saudi Arabia to help close these cases as quickly as possible, before the Western New York workforce is put at greater risk.
“The bottom line here is that this Western New York company, Ecology & Environment, cleaned up post-war environmental damage in oil-rich Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, and they deserved to be paid now – not stonewalled for five, long years by mid-level bureaucrats in a way that puts jobs back at home at risk. E&E finished its environmental cleanup work in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait on time and efficiently, but it has been dragged through the mud for the last five years in its pursuit of payment for hard, honest work. That is why I am strongly urging the Ambassador Al-Jaber Al-Sabah of Kuwait and Deputy Chief of Mission Mr. Sami Al-Sadhan of Saudi Arabia to intervene, and do the right thing to facilitate payment to Ecology & Environment. Any reasonable person taking a clear-headed look at the facts will conclude that this firm deserves to be paid for its work, and I am hopeful the Ambassador and Deputy Chief of Mission, our valued allies will work with us to positively resolve this ASAP,” said Senator Schumer.
Schumer explained that Ecology & Environment, a Western New York-owned company, employs approximately 235 people in the region, and has conducted numerous projects in the Middle East for the governments of Saudi Arabia & Kuwait. E&E completed all of the contracted work on time, which was related to the environmental damage that resulted from the 1991 Gulf War. Since that time, both countries have been awarded a total of $7.2 billion in war reparations. However, Schumer said E&E has yet to receive its nearly $7 million for the work it completed. E&E is owed $4,426,958 from Kuwaiti and $2,430,000 from Saudi Arabia, for a total of $6,856,985. These revenue losses are negatively impacting E&E and putting Western New York jobs in jeopardy.
Specifically, in 2010, E&E entered into a contract with the Kuwait University’s Office of Consultancy and Career Development (OCCD). E&E was contracted to support a planning phase of work the OCCD was doing in conjunction with the Kuwait National Focal Point (KNFP), the governmental entity charged with the management of Iraqi funding awarded to Kuwait by the UN to fund the war related environmental cleanup. In 2010, E&E received a portion of the more than $4 million from Kuwait through Advance Payment, per the contract. However, no further payments were made. Although OCCD pursued payment with KNFP, the KNFP promised payment, procrastinated, and then asserted that work completed required UN approval before any more funding could be dispersed to E&E. According to E&E, this was contrary to the contract, which never stipulated that payment required UN approval. In December 2011, KNFP referred the matter to the Kuwait government legal affairs department, which is responsible for reviewing disputes between governmental entities. Schumer said that this department continues to review the file but refuse payment. There is still $4,426,958 outstanding between E&E and Kuwait. Since 1992, E&E has worked with the government of Kuwait to assess environmental damages from the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and assist in the preparation and prosecution of environmental claims before the United Nations Compensation Commission.
Schumer also said that in 2004, E&E entered into a contract with the Presidency for Meteorology and Environment (PME) in Saudi Arabia to provide additional support with the Saudi claims before the United Nations Compensation Commission (UNCC). E&E performed the required by the contract. E&E invoiced PME following completion of the work in January 2006. However, the Saudi Arabian PME never paid E&E for its services. Schumer explained that, between 2006 and 2010, E&E undertook extensive collections efforts to no avail. E&E has received no further word as to status of payment. There is still $2,430,000 outstanding between E&E and Saudi Arabia. Since 1996, E&E has worked with the government of Saudi Arabia to assess environmental damages from the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and assist in the preparation and prosecution of Saudi’s environmental claims before the United Nations Compensation Commission.
Copies of Senator Schumer’s letters to Ambassador Al-Jaber Al-Sabah of Kuwait and Adel Al-Jubeir of Saudi Arabia appear below:
Dear Ambassador Al-Jaber Al-Sabah,
I am writing on behalf of company in the state of New York called Ecology and Environment, Inc. (E&E). E&E has worked in Kuwait since 1992, providing technical and engineering services in support of Kuwait’s F4 Environmental claims before the United Nations Compensation Commission (UNCC).
As you know, in January 2010, E&E entered into a contract with Kuwait University Office of Consultation and Career Development (OCCD). E&E provided all services ordered and required under the contract. The work, which primarily entailed the development of planning deliverables, was completed by the E&E was done to professional standards. E&E received no notice of deficiency relating to the work completed by E&E on the contract. Furthermore, the UNCC commented favorably on the work E&E completed as part of the contract.
Unfortunately, payment for the work completed on this contact has been outstanding for over or over five years. E&E is presently owed $4,426,985 and has not received any notification about when these funds will be provided. E&E has worked closely with Kuwait University to follow up in the hope that the need for legal recourse could be avoided. As disputes under the Memorandum of Understanding between Kuwait University and Kuwait NFP are to be resolved by the Council of Ministers, I am requesting that you present this matter to the appropriate governmental entities so it can be resolved without further delay.
Your assistance is greatly appreciated. Should you have any questions or require further information, please do not hesitate to contact me or my staff.
Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator
Dear Deputy Chief of Mission Sami Al-Sadhan
I am writing on behalf of company in the state of New York called Ecology and Environment, Inc. (E&E). This company has been working with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia since June 2004, when it entered into a contract with the Saudi Arabian Presidency of Meteorology and Environment (PME) to support the Kingdom’s environmental damage claims submitted to United Nations Compensation Commission.
It is my understanding that you previously interceded to resolve this situation in a meeting with former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Mr. Wyche Fowler. Your inquiry to Mr. Fowler promptly initiated an inquiry with PME.
Since that time, E&E and its subsidiary company, Ecology and Environment of Saudi Arabia Co., Ltd. (EESAL) have responded to numerous inquiries and provided all requested documentation to several committees established to review the claim. Unfortunately, it has been five years since this review process was initiated and Ecology and Environment is still owed $2,430,000. In addition, Ecology and Environment is awaiting an update from the Ministry of Finance on the status of the claim.
I am requesting that you work to bring this case to a successful close as quickly as possible. I look forward to hearing from you and appreciate your assistance. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me or my staff.
Charles E. Schumer
United States Senator