Budget and Spending:
Funding of Energy Offices and Conservation
B-205270, Apr 29, 1982
GAO was asked to determine whether there had been any unreported impoundment funds for energy conservation. Congress and the President expect departments and agencies to avoid the obligation of funds under continuing resolutions at rates that would impinge on discretionary decisions otherwise available to Congress while it is considering its options. The President's third special message for fiscal year 1982 contained a deferral of approximately $14 million for the Energy Conservation account, including new budget authority and unobligated balances carried forward from fiscal year 1981. Except for the deferred funds, the Office of Management and Budget timely apportioned all available resources to the Department of Energy (DOE). The deferred funds were released to DOE after passage of the third continuing resolution for fiscal year 1982. Only $22 million was allotted to energy conservation programs, and an additional $2 million was allotted for industrial programs. The small amount of the apportionment that was used by program officials stemmed from DOE procedures under which special emergency allotment requests and official verification of unobligated balances were required before program officials would obligate these funds. In addition, there was confusion over how Congress wanted the funds to be allocated. Funding allotment requests contained in the plans for energy conservation programs were based on the most restrictive budget allowance and the Administration's amended fiscal year 1982 budget request. Special emergency allotments could be requested if funds were needed to maintain programs which were to be terminated. After passage of the third continuing resolution for fiscal year 1982, all of the budget authority available for energy conservation was allotted to programs. Since no special requests were submitted, except for the industrial conservation program, funds were not withheld and, therefore, no deferral existed. A substantial amount of funds available to DOE were not made available to program officials. Additional deferrals and rescissions have been submitted in subsequent special messages.