Better Communication Could Have Enhanced Enforcement of Federal Oil Pricing Regulations

GGD-81-60: Published: May 4, 1981. Publicly Released: Jun 8, 1981.

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The Departments of Energy and Justice have shared the responsibility for enforcing the Federal oil pricing and allocation regulations.

Both agencies can enhance enforcement efforts through better communication and coordination of their investigative and prosecutive activities. Energy can help insure that its district Office of Enforcement officials seek civil penalties in all appropriate cases where remedial orders have been issued and complied with. GAO believes that such steps are necessary, even though the President discontinued controls on crude oil and refined petroleum products, because both agencies are currently pursuing legal actions on violations which occurred prior to the President's action. Justice is maintaining and providing better information on prosecutive declinations.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Energy should disseminate a policy statement instructing district Office of Enforcement officials to forward all cases where remedial orders have been issued and complied with and where civil penalties are deemed appropriate to the Office of the General Counsel for possible referral to Justice for civil prosecution.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  2. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Attorney General should improve Justice's communication with Energy on criminal prosecutive actions by providing written and detailed notification of Justice's preliminary prosecutive decisions in order to provide Energy with as much information as possible while it awaits Justice's final decisions.

    Agency Affected: Department of Justice

 

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