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Obama orders cost-cutting, property sales

Associated Press / June 11, 2010

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WASHINGTON — President Obama ordered federal departments and agencies to sell underused properties and merge some operations to cut $3 billion from federal spending.

Along with the property sales and consolidation, Obama wants managers to increase energy efficiency, according to a White House memorandum.

“Both taxpayer dollars and energy resources are being wasted to maintain these excess assets,’’ Obama said in a directive released yesterday. “In total, agency efforts required by this memorandum should produce no less than $3 billion in cost savings by the end of fiscal year 2012.’’

The federal government is the nation’s largest property owner with 1.2 million buildings, structures, and land parcels, Peter Orszag, budget director, wrote on the White House website.

About 14,000 buildings are designated as excess, and about 55,000 of them are underused, he wrote.

The directive is in addition to a separate Pentagon base-closing and realignment commission effort underway that’s expected to save about $5 billion by the end of fiscal 2012.