Proposed Legislation to Authorize the Establishment of a Fishermen's Gear Compensation Fund to Cover Damages Resulting from Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Exploration, Development, and Production

B-127124: Oct 26, 1977

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Decision concerning request for comment on H.R. 8903, 95th Congress. GAO found that H.R. 8903 would authorize the establishment of a fishermen's gear compensation fund to provide compensation for damages to fishing gear and resultin9 economic loss to commercial fishermen due to Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) oil and gas exploration, development, and production. Provisions in H.R. 1614 and S. 9, legislation to amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act would also estab1ish a fishermen contingency fund to compensate for damages to commercial fishing vessels and gear and resulting losses due to OCS oil and gas exploration. development, and production. S. 9 passed the Senate and H.R. 1614 has been voted out by committee and is awaiting House action. If this legislation continues to proceed and is enacted, the purpose of H.R. 8903 would be eliminated.

In addition, also noted that the bill does not specifically provide for an evaluation of the program by the Secretary of the Interior. It is our view that program evaluation is a fundamental part of program administration and that the responsibility for evaluations should rest intia11y upon the responsible agencies. In line with this concept we believe the Congress should attempt to specify the kinds of information and tests which will enable it to better assess how well programs are working and whether alternative approaches may offer greater promise.