Energy Downsizing:

Criteria for Community Assistance Needed

RCED-96-36: Published: Dec 27, 1995. Publicly Released: Dec 27, 1995.

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GAO examined the criteria that the Department of Energy (DOE) used to: (1) identify and evaluate the economic effects of closing the Pinellas plant; and (2) decide what types and amounts of assistance are appropriate in offsetting the effects of future plant closings.

GAO found that DOE: (1) policy supports economic development that minimizes the impact of closing nuclear weapons facilities on displaced workers and affected communities; (2) has not established specific criteria to evaluate the impact of DOE closings or the types of assistance needed to offset the impact of the closings; (3) is providing $10.75 million for economic development activities to facilitate workers' transition and $6 million for community technology development; and (4) will continue to spend millions of dollars to mitigate the adverse economic effects of downsizing on communities, but it needs specific criteria for identifying these effects to ensure fair and appropriate allocation of DOE resources.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOE issued interim guidance on community transition activities in the Federal Register in February 1997. The guidance is responsive to the report recommendation. It requires a community affected by the downsizing or closing of DOE's defense nuclear weapons facilities to submit an application that identifies the purpose and need for assistance and also contains criteria for evaluating the application.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Energy should direct the Director, Office of Worker and Community Transition, and other cognizant secretarial officers to develop criteria for Energy to identify the adverse economic effects of downsizing or closing its facilities.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOE issued interim guidance on community transition activities in the Federal Register in February 1997. The criteria in this guidance are responsive to the report recommendation because they define the types of transition activities DOE will fund and the amount of funding DOE will provide for the various types of activities.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Energy should direct the Director, Office of Worker and Community Transition, and other cognizant secretarial officers to develop criteria for Energy to define the types and amounts of assistance that it will provide for economic development.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

 

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