Environmental Protection:

EPA's Science and Technology Funds

RCED-99-12: Published: Oct 30, 1998. Publicly Released: Oct 30, 1998.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) budget justifications for its Science and Technology account for fiscal years 1998 and 1999, focusing on: (1) identifying EPA's Science and Technology requested funds by the agency's strategic goals and objectives; (2) determining for each of EPA's program offices the amount of Science and Technology funds they plan to administer in fiscal year (FY) 1999; and (3) providing a crosswalk of funds appropriated for FY 1998 by program components to strategic goals and objectives and determine the process or information available that can be used to readily compare the funds that are requested for EPA's Science and Technology account in future years.

GAO noted that: (1) EPA organized its request for $633 million for its Science and Technology account for FY 1999 according to the agency's strategic goals and objectives in its budget justification provided to the appropriations committees; (2) these funds are divided under all 10 goals and further segmented into 25 to 45 objectives that are identified under the strategic goals; (3) 71 percent of the Science and Technology funds is proposed to fund two of EPA's strategic goals--Sound Science and Clean Air; (4) the funds in this account are divided among nine objectives under these two goals; (5) in FY 1999, 6 of EPA's 14 program offices will administer the requested Science and Technology funds; (6) two program offices, the Office of Research and Development and the Office of Air and Radiation, will administer $485 and $132 million, respectively, or over 97 percent of all the Science and Technology funds requested; (7) the remaining 3 percent of these funds will be administered by four other program offices; (8) EPA did not maintain financial records by both program components and strategic goals and objectives for all 1998 appropriated Science and Technology funds; (9) estimates of the 1998 appropriated amounts were subsequently developed by EPA, at GAO's request, to fully compare that year's amounts to the FY 1999 requested amounts; (10) EPA plans to submit future budget justifications and maintain appropriated amounts for FY 1999 in the format of its strategic goals and objectives; (11) this format will facilitate comparisons of future requests with the FY 1999 budget justification; and (12) EPA also plans to provide additional information in the FY 2000 justification to facilitate comparisons of strategic goals and objectives with major components of its programs.

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