Air Force agents raided the Tinker Air Force Base offices of Balfour Beatty Communities Tuesday, in connection with suspected EPA violations.
The action, first reported by Reuters, was related to a subpoena on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency, connected to the removal of asbestos flooring that was reported at Tinker Air Force Base in September, according to a statement from Balfour Beatty to Military Times. Reuters reported the agents seized computers and other materials.
When the September event happened, Balfour Beatty “promptly and voluntarily reported the incident to the local Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality,” according to the Balfour Beatty response. “The company will continue to cooperate fully with the investigation.”
In June, Reuters reported that at Tinker, one family was dealing with deteriorating asbestos flooring for months after Balfour Beatty’s maintenance records said the problems had been quickly fixed.
Widespread problems with mold, lead paint, rodents and other issues across the services have been reported by Reuters and other media, and spouses testified before Congress earlier this year.
Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., said in a statement that he learned from the Air Force that the Air Force Office of Special Investigations and the EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division had executed the federal search warrant, related to suspected Clean Air Act violations.
"I thank the federal law enforcement for doing their part to investigate any alleged wrongdoing, and I encourage Balfour Beatty Communities to cooperate fully with the investigation.
“While the matter is still very much under investigation, should these or any of the other ongoing federal investigations be substantiated, Balfour Beatty and those who perpetrated any wrongdoing against our military families must be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
Last fall, the Air Force issued a stern warning to Balfour Beatty that unless there is “prompt and substantial improvement” in the company’s performance, service officials will start formal action against the company. In the letter, John W. Henderson, assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, environment and energy, cited a growing list of failures across the company’s 21 Air Force housing projects. He noted the issue at Tinker, where a flooring subcontractor failed to test for asbestos before disturbing floor tiles in occupied houses. This can create asbestos dust that can spread in the home and be inhaled.