Natural Resources and Environment:

Status Report on Executive Branch Implementation of the National Materials and Minerals Policy, Research and Development Act of 1980

EMD-82-27: Published: Nov 18, 1981. Publicly Released: Nov 18, 1981.

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GAO provided a status report on the National Materials and Minerals Policy, Research and Development Act which requires that the Executive Branch submit reports and a program plan to Congress by October 21, 1981. In addition, the Act requires that: (1) the Departments of Commerce, Defense, and the Interior make available to Congress individual reports on specific materials issues by that date; (2) the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) prepare an assessment of national materials needs relative to scientific and technological changes over the next 5 years; and (3) OSTP review such an assessment annually.

The Administration has not yet met the October 21, 1981, reporting requirements of the Act. The agencies that have specific reporting responsibilities under the Act have largely completed their work on their requirements, but the release of the reports is being delayed while the reports are reviewed and the Administration's materials policy program plan is prepared. The Administration hopes to release the plan and the agency reports under one cover, but it could not give a precise date when this will occur. GAO could not determine whether the contents of the program plan will meet the specific requirements of the Act. OSTP indicated that it has taken no new initiatives in response to the Act, but continues to perform several functions relevant to the Act. These functions include: (1) reviewing, along with the Office of Management and Budget, individual agency budgets in minerals and materials research and development; and (2) participating in policy discussions on minerals and materials issues as part of the Cabinet Council working group on strategic minerals. OSTP has taken the position that a formal assessment of materials needs is not appropriate until the President has issued a minerals and materials policy statement and has commented on individual agency reports. Moreover, OSTP has indicated that it is bound by no specific timeframe under the Act.

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