US: Poultry lighting company challenges administration grant procedures
LED lighting technology developer and manufacturer of AgriShift LED Poultry Lights, Once Innovations, is challenging the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (EDC) on its administration and award of a Federal Stimulus grant for Advanced Lighting for Poultry Houses Project.
In a January 19th letter, Once requested that no award funds be distributed until the EDC can resolve serious questions about defects in the bidding, specification, evaluation, and award procedures. Once has raised concerns about the procedures used in both Phase One and Phase Two of the grant, which is intended to help Arkansas poultry growers retrofit their barns with energy efficient LED lighting. Once contends that procedures appear to have been implemented in an arbitrary and capricious manner such that any award of federal funds resulting from these procedures would be improper under the Administrative Procedures Act (APA).
“We urged the Arkansas EDC to re-open Phase One with specifications revised to be within industry norms,” stated Craige Thompson, Chief Legal Officer for Once. “We are very concerned that the specification process for the Commission’s Invitation for Bid may have steered the award toward specific manufacturers and specific lamp designs that are rarely used in poultry production. At the same time the most commonly used lamp design was excluded from bidding.”
Thompson went on to say that it appears that none of the lamps accepted by the EDC for bid met the specifications outlined in the invitation even though the federal grant requires that they must do so.
“We are basing our challenge on procedural grounds and flaws in specifications that are questionable and incomprehensible from a technical standpoint and well outside accepted industry norms for this type of project,” said Zdenko Grajcar, CEO of Once. “We are not challenging the manufacturers involved or the efficacy and performance of their products. We are simply concerned that fair and proper procedures are followed for the best interests of the farmers, the poultry and lighting industries, the EDC, and the taxpayers who ultimately foot the bill. “
Once has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the US Department of Energy for all records and communications relevant to the “Advanced Lighting Technology for Poultry Houses” project grant received by the Arkansas Resource Conservation and Development Councils.
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