This week, Florida’s two U.S. senators–Republicans Marco Rubio and Rick Scott–urged U.S. Department of the Navy Acting Sec. Thomas Harker to repair facilities at Naval Air Station Pensacola (NASP) and to hold Balfour Beatty accountable for failing to repair on-base housing that was damaged by Hurricane Sally.
The full text of the letter is below.
Dear Acting Secretary Harker:
We write with regard to Naval Air Station Pensacola (NASP) and the efforts to rebuild the installation after Hurricane Sally. Specifically, we are deeply concerned about the state of disrepair of the facilities and Balfour Beatty’s lack of action to repair housing on the installation.
Hurricane Sally made landfall as a Category 2 hurricane less than 30 miles from NASP in the early hours of the morning on September 16, 2020. Since then, the base has struggled to make the required repairs to its facilities. Currently, 368 military facilities on NASP are still damaged, and a significant number of those would likely become total losses in the event of another storm. These facilities suffer from stripped roofing, water intrusion, and other forms of severe damage. Simply put, another storm could have a catastrophic operational impact on the installation, which would have massive national security ramifications.
NASP also suffered extensive damage to its on-base housing. We have been informed that 450 of the 549 houses on NASP were damaged. Two housing units sustained such extensive damage that they may be unrepairable. Many of the damaged houses still have temporary roofing more than 200 days after Hurricane Sally made landfall. It is our understanding that Balfour Beatty has failed to make their contractually obligated repairs to many of these houses and is unwilling to use their repair fund until their insurance pays the cost of the repairs to the houses. The impact of Balfour Beatty’s inaction is that our service members on NASP are living in unacceptable conditions.
We urge you to take action to fix these issues at NASP. From our positions on the Senate Committee on Appropriations’ Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies and the Senate Committee on Armed Services, we remain committed to working with you to ensure NASP has the resources it needs to rebuild from Hurricane Sally.