Energy Reorganization Legislation

Gao ID: 101911 April 19, 1977

Before a Department of Energy is established, Congress should address the issues relating to data, conservation, regulation, leasing, coordination, and GAO oversight of the Department's activities. The Professional Audit Review Team's continued existence should be discussed in the bill (H.R. 4236). The legislation should require the Department of Energy to have the same responsibility for automobile fuel economy standards as for energy conservation performance standards in new buildings. The administration's bill would place all economic regulatory functions in the Department of Energy, but omit the health and safety functions of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the Department of the Interior, and other agencies. There are three options available to the Congress in dealing with the issues of how to treat energy regulatory functions: include economic and health and safety energy regulatory functions in the new Department; include only economic regulations and create an independent Energy Health and Safety Regulatory Agency; or continue to seperate energy regulation from energy policy formulation. GAO favors the second option. The administration's proposal transfers the responsibility for leasing policy to the Department of Energy in the areas of fostering competition, setting rates of production, and establishing diligence requirements. The Department of the Interior would retain responsibility for implementing leasing programs. There is a need for a high-level coordinating council in the executive office. (db/sw)

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