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Report to Congressional Requesters:

August 2003:

Energy Task Force:

Process Used to Develop the National Energy Policy:

[Hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-03-894] GAO-03-894:

GAO Highlights:

Highlights of GAO-03-894, a report to congressional requesters 

Why GAO Did This Study:

On January 29, 2001, the President established the National Energy 
Policy Development Group (NEPDG)—a group of cabinet-level and other 
senior administration officials, chaired by the Vice President—to 
gather information, deliberate, and recommend a national energy 
policy. The group presented its final report to the President in May 
2001. GAO was asked to (1) describe the process used by the NEPDG to 
develop the National Energy Policy report, including whom the group 
met with and what topics were discussed and (2) determine the costs 
associated with that process. 

Although appointed NEPDG Chair, the Vice President elected not to 
respond to GAO’s request for certain factual NEPDG information. 
Accordingly, as authorized by GAO’s access-to-records statute, and 
after exhausting efforts to achieve a resolution and following the 
processes specified in that statute, GAO filed suit in U.S. District 
Court to obtain the information. The district court later dismissed 
GAO’s suit on jurisdictional grounds, without reaching the merits of 
GAO’s right to audit and evaluate NEPDG activities or to obtain access 
to NEPDG records. For a variety of reasons, GAO decided not to appeal 
the district court decision.

DOE, Interior, and EPA reviewed the draft report and chose not to 
comment. OVP declined an offer to review the draft and comment.

What GAO Found:

According to the best information that GAO could obtain, the National 
Energy Policy report was the product of a centralized, top-down, short-
term, and labor-intensive process that involved the efforts of several 
hundred federal employees governmentwide. In the 3 ˝ months between 
the inception of NEPDG and its presentation of the final report, the 
Principals (the Vice President, selected cabinet-level and other 
senior administration officials) and their support staff (Support 
Group) controlled most facets of the report’s development, including 
setting meeting schedules and agendas, controlling the workflow, 
distributing work assignments, rewriting chapters, and approving 
recommendations. Senior agency officials served on a select 
interagency Working Group, while the majority of agency staff working 
on the NEPDG effort played a tributary role, helping their agencies 
fulfill their NEPDG-related obligations and responding to the Support 
Group’s subsequent requests for information, review, or comment. 

In developing the National Energy Policy report, the NEPDG Principals, 
Support Group, and participating agency officials and staff met with, 
solicited input from, or received information and advice from 
nonfederal energy stakeholders, principally petroleum, coal, nuclear, 
natural gas, and electricity industry representatives and lobbyists. 
The extent to which submissions from any of these stakeholders were 
solicited, influenced policy deliberations, or incorporated into the 
final report cannot be determined based on the limited information 
made available to GAO. NEPDG met and conducted its work in two 
distinct phases: the first phase culminated in a March 19, 2001, 
briefing to the President on challenges relating to energy supply and 
the resulting economic impact; the second phase ended with the May 16, 
2001, presentation of the final report to the President. The Office of 
the Vice President’s (OVP) unwillingness to provide the NEPDG records 
or other related information precluded GAO from fully achieving its 
objectives and substantially limited GAO’s ability to comprehensively 
analyze the NEPDG process.

None of the key federal entities involved in the NEPDG effort provided 
GAO with a complete accounting of the costs that they incurred during 
the development of the National Energy Policy report. The two federal 
entities responsible for funding the NEPDG effort—OVP and the 
Department of Energy (DOE)—did not provide the comprehensive cost 
information that GAO requested. OVP provided GAO with 77 pages of 
information, two-thirds of which contained no cost information while 
the remaining one-third contained some miscellaneous information of 
little to no usefulness. OVP stated that it would not provide any 
additional information. DOE, the Department of the Interior, and the 
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provided GAO with estimates of 
certain costs and salaries associated with the NEPDG effort, but these 
estimates, all calculated in different ways, were not comprehensive. 

www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-03-894.

To view the full product, including the scope and methodology, click 
on the link above. For more information, contact Robert A. Robinson at 
(202) 512-3841 or robinsonr@gao.gov.

Contents:

Letter:

Results in Brief:

The National Energy Policy Report Was the Product of a Centralized, 
Top-Down Process:

Federal Agencies Did Not Track the Amount of Public Money Spent on 
NEPDG Activities:

Agency Comments:

Appendix:

Appendix I: GAO Contacts and Staff Acknowledgment:

GAO Contacts:

Acknowledgment:

Table:

Table 1: NEPDG Principals' Meetings from January 29 to May 16, 2001:

Figure:

Figure 1: Structure Used in Developing the National Energy Policy:

Abbreviations: 

DOE: Department of Energy:

EPA: Environmental Protection Agency:

NEPDG: National Energy Policy Development Group:

OVP: Office of the Vice President:

Letter August 22, 2003:

Congressional Requesters:

As one of the new administration's first major actions, on January 29, 
2001, the President created a group of cabinet-level and other senior 
federal officials, chaired by the Vice President, to develop a national 
energy policy. The President charged the group, called the National 
Energy Policy Development Group (NEPDG), with developing "a national 
energy policy designed to help the private sector, and government at 
all levels, promote dependable, affordable, and environmentally sound 
production and distribution of energy for the future."[Footnote 1] 
NEPDG presented its final report to the President on May 16, 
2001.[Footnote 2] The report contained over 100 recommendations for 
executive actions or new legislation. The Congress is now considering 
the energy-related legislative proposals.

You asked us to examine the process used by the President's energy 
policy taskforce.[Footnote 3] Specifically, our objectives were to (1) 
describe the process used by NEPDG to develop the National Energy 
Policy report, including whom the group met with and the topics 
discussed at these meetings, and (2) determine the costs associated 
with that process. In order to close out this request, we are providing 
a limited analysis based on the best information that has been made 
available to us.

To address our objectives, we followed a two-pronged information 
gathering effort. First, starting in the spring of 2001, we began 
gathering information from several federal agencies involved in the 
report's development--the Department of Energy (DOE), the Department of 
the Interior (Interior), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 
At each of the agencies, we interviewed senior agency officials that 
were involved in the NEPDG effort and received written correspondence 
and other materials from them providing detailed responses to our 
questions. Agency officials based most of their answers on their best 
recollections or on information reconstructed from electronic 
schedules. Our meetings with officials yielded information regarding 
the meetings that Cabinet-level agency officials attended and meetings 
that agency officials held with NEPDG support staff (Support Group). 
Officials also provided us with selected information on meetings held 
with nonfederal energy stakeholders to discuss issues related to energy 
aspects of their agency's activities.

Second, also starting in spring of 2001, we initiated contact with the 
Office of the Vice President (OVP), as NEPDG Chair, to obtain NEPDG 
records responsive to your request. From the outset, OVP did not 
respond to our request for information, including descriptive 
information on the process by which the National Energy Policy report 
was developed, asserting that we lacked statutory authority to examine 
NEPDG activities. We were also denied the opportunity to interview 
staff assisting the Vice President on the NEPDG effort. As a result, 
throughout the spring and summer of 2001, we engaged in extensive 
attempts to reach an agreement with OVP on our information request in 
an effort to fulfill our statutory responsibilities in a manner that 
accommodated the Vice President's asserted need to protect certain 
executive deliberations. Importantly, we significantly narrowed the 
scope of our review by, among other things, withdrawing our initial 
request for minutes of NEPDG meetings. We also offered flexibility in 
how we would access certain documents. Despite our concerted efforts to 
reach a reasonable accommodation, the Vice President denied us access 
to virtually all requested information, with the exception of a few 
documents purportedly related to NEPDG costs that OVP provided to us. 
The Vice President's denial of access challenged GAO's fundamental 
authority to evaluate the process by which NEPDG had developed a 
national energy policy and to obtain access to records that would shed 
light on that process. As authorized by GAO's access-to-records 
statute, after exhausting the processes specified in that statute for 
achieving a resolution and receiving a request from two senate full 
committee chairs and two senate subcommittee chairs to pursue our 
evaluation,[Footnote 4] we filed suit in the U.S. District Court for 
the District of Columbia on February 22, 2002, to obtain 
the limited factual NEPDG information that we had requested.[Footnote 
5] On December 9, 2002, the district court dismissed GAO's suit on 
jurisdictional grounds, without reaching the merits of GAO's authority 
to audit and evaluate NEPDG activities or to obtain access to NEPDG 
records.[Footnote 6] After considerable bipartisan outreach efforts to 
the Congress, GAO decided not to appeal the district court 
decision.[Footnote 7] A detailed chronology of our efforts to obtain 
access to NEPDG records can be found on GAO's Web site.

OVP's unwillingness to provide NEPDG records and other related 
information precluded us from fully achieving our objectives in 
accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards and 
substantially limited our ability to answer the questions you asked and 
the depth of our analysis. Yet, given the unique circumstances 
surrounding this request, our protracted attempts to acquire this 
information, and the availability of certain related documents in the 
public realm, we gathered and analyzed available information on the 
NEPDG effort to provide as robust an account as possible under the 
circumstances. Specifically, in order to more fully analyze and 
describe the NEPDG report development process, beginning in March 2002, 
we obtained, reviewed, and analyzed NEPDG-related information from 
federal agencies involved in the NEPDG effort that was released under 
court order in four other ongoing lawsuits filed under other 
statutes.[Footnote 8] The agencies releasing documents included DOE, 
Interior, and EPA, as well as the Department of Transportation, 
Department of Commerce, Department of Agriculture, and the Office of 
Management and Budget. We could not independently verify some of the 
information contained in these documents because the agencies had 
redacted data from more than one-third of the pages. The agencies 
asserted that the redacted information was exempt from production under 
the Freedom of Information Act because it reflected deliberative 
processes among other things. For the thousands of pages that contained 
some information responsive to our objectives, we compared and 
contrasted their contents, sought corroboration from other sources, and 
pieced together a general description of the National Energy Policy 
report development process. Included in these pages were several 
hundred E-mails and other documents generated by OVP or the Support 
Group. Some of these documents revealed information about the process 
used to develop the NEPDG report, but none of them contained cost 
information beyond that which we had previously obtained.

Results in Brief:

According to the best information that we could obtain, the National 
Energy Policy report was the product of a centralized, top-down, short-
term, and labor-intensive process that involved the efforts of several 
hundred federal employees governmentwide. NEPDG--comprised mostly of 
cabinet-level officials (Principals)--and its Support Group--comprised 
mostly of select DOE officials detailed to OVP--controlled most facets 
of the report's development. Officials from each participating agency 
served on a select interagency working group (Working Group), which 
prepared draft report chapters for the Principals' review. Agency staff 
played a tributary role, helping their respective agency complete its 
NEPDG-related assignments, providing draft outlines and chapters to the 
Working Group and Principals, and responding to the Support Group's 
subsequent requests for information, review, or comment. In developing 
the National Energy Policy report, the Principals, Support Group, and 
participating agency staff also met with, solicited input from, or 
received information and advice from nonfederal energy stakeholders, 
principally petroleum, coal, nuclear, natural gas, and electricity 
industry representatives and lobbyists. To a more limited degree, they 
also obtained information from academic experts, policy organizations, 
environmental advocacy groups, and private citizens. The extent to 
which submissions from any of these stakeholders were solicited, 
influenced policy deliberations, or were incorporated into the final 
report is not something that we can determine based on the limited 
information at our disposal. Nor can we, because of OVP's unwillingness 
to provide us with information, provide a comprehensive listing of the 
dates or purposes of these meetings, their attendees, or how the 
attendees, when solicited, were selected. NEPDG held periodic meetings 
and conducted its work in two distinct phases: the first culminating in 
a March 19, 2001, briefing on challenges relating to energy supply and 
the resulting economic impact; the second ending with the May 16, 2001, 
presentation of the final report to the President.

None of the federal entities involved in the NEPDG effort that we 
contacted provided us with a complete accounting of the costs that they 
incurred during the development of the National Energy Policy report. 
The two federal entities responsible for funding the NEPDG effort--OVP 
and DOE--did not provide us with the comprehensive cost information 
that we requested. Instead, OVP provided us with 77 pages of 
information, two-thirds of which contained no cost information or were 
essentially blank, while the remaining one-third contained some 
miscellaneous information--such as a meal receipt or telephone bills--
of little to no usefulness. In response to our requests seeking 
clarification of the provided information, OVP stated that it would not 
provide any additional information. DOE, EPA, and Interior provided us 
with estimates of their costs associated with the report development 
process, but these estimates, all calculated in different ways, were 
not comprehensive. DOE provided us with selected cost information, 
including salary estimates for its employees detailed to OVP, printing 
and publication costs, and other incidental expenses. EPA and Interior 
provided salary cost estimates for some of their senior officials 
involved in the report's development. The precision of these estimates 
varied. Although most of the identified costs were salary-oriented, 
officials noted that employees did not specifically record the amount 
of time spent on NEPDG-related tasks because many of them already 
worked on energy policy and thus would have likely conducted a 
substantial portion of the work even without the NEPDG project taking 
place. One agency cautioned us not to expect its salary estimate to be 
precise, noting that it had been primarily based on employee 
recollection and guesswork.

The National Energy Policy Report Was the Product of a Centralized, 
Top-Down Process:

The National Energy Policy report was the product of a short-term, 
labor-intensive process that involved the efforts of several hundred 
federal employees governmentwide. In the 3˝ months between NEPDG's 
inception and its presentation of the final report, the Principals and 
Support Group controlled most facets of the report's development, 
including setting meeting schedules and agendas, controlling the 
workflow, distributing work assignments, rewriting chapters, approving 
recommendations, and securing the report's contents from premature 
disclosure. Senior agency officials served on a select interagency 
Working Group, while the majority of staff working on the NEPDG effort 
played a tributary role, (1) helping their agency fulfill its NEPDG-
related obligations, (2) providing NEPDG with analytical information, 
and (3) responding to the Support Group's subsequent requests for 
information, review, or comment. In developing the National Energy 
Policy report, the NEPDG Principals, Support Group, and participating 
agency staff also met with, solicited input from, or received 
information and advice from nonfederal energy stakeholders, primarily 
petroleum, coal, nuclear, natural gas, electricity industry 
representatives and lobbyists. To a more limited degree, they also 
received information from academic experts, policy organizations, 
environmental advocacy groups, and private citizens. NEPDG met and 
conducted its work in two distinct phases: the first phase culminated 
in a March 19, 2001, briefing on challenges relating to energy supply 
and the resulting economic impact; the second phase ended with a May 
16, 2001, presentation of the final report to the President. Figure 1 
depicts the top-down process and its participants.

Figure 1: Structure Used in Developing the National Energy PolicyA:

[See PDF for image]

[A] All of the tiers shown here to some extent met with, solicited 
input from, or received information and advice from nonfederal energy 
stakeholders.

[End of figure]

Cabinet-Level Officials and Support Group Staff Controlled the Report 
Development Process:

In a January 29, 2001, memorandum, the President established NEPDG--
comprised of the Vice President, nine cabinet-level officials, and four 
other senior administration officials--to gather information, 
deliberate, and 
make recommendations to the President by the end of fiscal year 
2001.[Footnote 9] The President called on the Vice President to chair 
the group, direct its work and, as necessary, establish subordinate 
working groups to assist NEPDG. The President requested NEPDG to submit 
two reports: the first, an assessment of the difficulties experienced 
by the private sector in ensuring that local and regional energy needs 
are met; the second, a report outlining a recommended national energy 
policy designed to help the private sector, and as necessary and 
appropriate, federal, state, and local governments, to promote 
dependable, affordable, and environmentally sound production and 
distribution of energy for the future. More specifically, the 
memorandum mentioned four areas of concentration: (1) growing demand 
for energy; (2) the potential for disruptions in energy supplies or 
distribution; (3) the need for responsible policies to protect the 
environment and promote conservation; and (4) the need for 
modernization of the energy generation, supply, and transmission 
infrastructure.

NEPDG Principals:

The 14 NEPDG members--the Vice President, 9 Cabinet-level officials, 
and 4 other senior administration officials--were responsible for 
developing the National Energy Policy report. In a series of formal 
meetings convened by the Vice President, the group presented briefings, 
received assignments and the latest drafts, and discussed agenda items 
and recommendations. The following list shows the NEPDG members.

* The Vice President, NEPDG Chair;

* The Secretary of State;

* The Secretary of the Treasury;

* The Secretary of the Interior;

* The Secretary of Agriculture;

* The Secretary of Commerce;

* The Secretary of Transportation;

* The Secretary of Energy;

* The Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency;

* The Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency;

* The Director of the Office of Management and Budget;

* The Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy;

* The Assistant to the President for Economic Policy; and:

* The Deputy Assistant to the President for Intergovernmental 
Affairs.[Footnote 10]

NEPDG formally convened 10 times between January 29, 2001, and May 16, 
2001. Meetings were held on the following dates: January 29, February 9 
and 16, March 12 and 19, April 3, 11, and 18, May 2 and 16, 
2001.[Footnote 11] All but two of the meetings were held in the Vice 
President's Ceremonial Office. According to OVP staff and other federal 
officials who attended these formal meetings, attendance was strictly 
limited to officers and employees of the federal government. These 
officials indicated that none of the Principals' meetings was open to 
the public nor did any nonfederal participants attend. However, no 
party provided us with any documentary evidence to support or negate 
this assertion. Due to space constraints, the Principals' meetings 
typically included the Vice President, the Principals and their 
accompanying staff, the Support Group, and members of the Vice 
President's staff. For meetings that took place when the Principals 
could not be present, or when the Principal had yet to be appointed, 
another agency official would attend instead. Agency officials 
participating in these meetings could not recollect whether official 
rosters or minutes were kept at the meetings.

The 10 Principals' meetings covered a variety of topics, depending on 
the status of efforts on the report and concerns raised about these 
efforts. The Support Group developed the meeting agendas and sent them 
out to agencies shortly before the meetings commenced. According to the 
proposed meeting agendas and our discussions with agency officials, the 
meetings generally lasted between 1 and 2 hours, and nearly all of them 
included a brief update on the California energy situation. The early 
meetings involved more procedural discussions than the later meetings, 
which focused more on a discussion of specific policy recommendations. 
(See table 1.):

Table 1: NEPDG Principals' Meetings from January 29 to May 16, 2001:

Meeting date: January 29, 2001; Location: The Vice President's 
Ceremonial Office, Eisenhower Executive Office Building (EEOB); Meeting 
agenda: A brief, ceremonial event at which the President announced the 
formation of NEPDG, its mission, membership, and chair.

Meeting date: February 9, 2001; Location: The Vice President's 
Ceremonial Office, EEOB; Meeting agenda: (1) Status report on the 
California crisis, (2) Discussion of Senator Murkowski's and 
Congressman Barton's pending legislative initiatives, (3) Discussion of 
the seven working subgroups to be established: short-term energy 
supply; programs for consumers and low-income households; economic 
impact of energy; development of alternative and renewable energy 
sources; conservation and increased energy efficiency; increased 
production of traditional energy sources; infrastructure investment, 
integrity, and safety; and national energy security and international 
affairs.

Meeting date: February 16, 2001; Location: The Vice President's 
Ceremonial Office, EEOB; Meeting agenda: (1) Briefing on California/
Western electricity and natural gas situation, (2) Energy Information 
Administration briefing on its Annual Energy Outlook 2001, and (3) 
Review of final report outline.

Meeting date: March 12, 2001; Location: The Vice President's Ceremonial 
Office, EEOB; Meeting agenda: An Energy Information Administration 
briefing, distribution of final draft interim report, discussion of 
rollout, and status update on final report.

Meeting date: March 19, 2001; Location: The White House, Cabinet Room; 
Meeting agenda: Oral presentation of interim report to the President.

Meeting date: April 3, 2001; Location: The Vice President's Ceremonial 
Office, EEOB; Meeting agenda: Discussions of the following issues/
recommendations: Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards; a multi-
pollutant strategy; nuclear energy; Outer Continental Shelf/Arctic 
National Wildlife Refuge; safe drinking water/hydraulic fracturing; 
energy efficiency. A last-minute agenda item was added shortly before 
the meeting.

Meeting date: April 11, 2001; Location: The Vice President's Ceremonial 
Office, EEOB; Meeting agenda: Discussions of the following issues/
recommendations: carbon dioxide, hydropower licensing, Coastal Zone 
Management Activities, tax credit issues, and permitting.

Meeting date: April 18, 2001; Location: The Vice President's Ceremonial 
Office, EEOB; Meeting agenda: (1) Update on California energy 
situation; (2) update on final written report to the President; (3) 
discussion of key report issues and proposed recommendations: energy 
policy principles, tax credit issues, New Source Review reform, 
reformulated gas, and electricity deregulation; and (4) an executive 
session without staff to further discuss proposed recommendations.

Meeting date: May 2, 2001; Location: The Vice President's Ceremonial 
Office, EEOB; Meeting agenda: Agenda items: (1) Update on California 
energy situation; (2) Update on final written report to the President; 
(3) Discussion of following energy issues: spiking gasoline prices, 
refineries, New Source Review, boutique fuels, final report rollout 
status. An executive session followed for further discussion.

Meeting date: May 16, 2001; Location: The White House, Cabinet Room; 
Meeting agenda: Presentation of final report to the President.

Source: GAO.

[End of table]

NEPDG Support Group:

A support staff of seven--six DOE employees assigned to OVP and one 
White House fellow--assisted NEPDG in developing the National Energy 
Policy. The Support Group consisted of an executive director, a deputy 
director, two senior professionals, a communications director, the 
fellow, and a staff assistant.[Footnote 12]

The Support Group served as the hub of the overall NEPDG effort and 
coordinated its workflow. Among its many tasks, the Support Group 
assigned specific responsibilities and chapters to individual agencies; 
established and presided over an interagency Working Group; scheduled 
and attended NEPDG-related meetings and determined their agendas; set 
internal deadlines; controlled the workflow; served as a central 
collection and distribution point for participating agencies' draft 
outlines, report chapters, comments, and recommendations; and drafted 
the final report. The executive director and deputy director also held 
meetings with various agency staff to discuss their agencies' input to 
individual chapters, conduct peer review sessions, and discuss other 
issues.

The Support Group did not generally discuss its activities with staff 
at the agencies. Instead the Support Group frequently used meetings as 
a forum to unveil new assignments, drafts, topics, and guidance for 
Working Group members to deliver back to their respective agencies. The 
Support Group staff, specifically the executive director and deputy 
director, provided instructions to the Working Group participants and 
coordinated the activities of each participating agency. Agencies 
transmitted their work product to other Working Group members largely 
through the White House.

NEPDG Interagency Working Group:

To coordinate the day-to-day work of developing the National Energy 
Policy report, the NEPDG executive director established an interagency 
Working Group, comprised of staff-level officials from each 
participating agency and several White House and Support Group staff. 
The NEPDG executive director and deputy director oversaw the Working 
Group's activities, instructed participating agencies on their roles 
and assignments, and facilitated communication among the Working Group 
participants. The Working Group developed a draft outline for the 
energy policy report and relayed work assignments to the agencies 
responsible for particular areas. Available information did not allow 
us to determine the number of Working Group meetings held or the number 
of attendees at any given meeting.

NEPDG members were free to assign one or more staff to the Working 
Group. The Working Group met frequently in February and March 2001 to 
review the latest outlines and drafts, report on the status of their 
specific assignments, represent agency views, provide comments to other 
agencies, and obtain further instructions. For example, the first 
Working Group meeting held on February 9, 2001, concentrated on the 
group's approach to developing a national energy policy and the 
milestones for completing the process. The second meeting held on 
February 13, 2001, focused on determining the chapters that would be 
included in the final report. Subsequent meetings typically involved a 
review of drafts in which the lead authors would lead discussion on a 
chapter's main points. Attendees would comment on the chapters or 
propose new or revised text for the group's discussion. The Working 
Group considered various alternatives in language, tone, and 
recommendations for the report and then decided on a particular course 
of action to recommend to the Vice President.

The Working Group met often in February and March 2001, generally 
several days before and immediately following the Principals' meetings. 
Most of these meetings took place in the Vice President's Ceremonial 
Office, although several had to be rescheduled elsewhere. Working Group 
meetings were frequently cancelled or postponed as a result of 
scheduling conflicts. In a sworn declaration submitted to the court in 
one of the 
lawsuits seeking NEPDG records,[Footnote 13] the NEPDG deputy director 
stated that all attendees at the Working Group meetings were federal 
employees, with one exception--a contractor, who engaged in providing 
technical writing and graphic design services, worked with the group 
and sat in on portions of no more than three of the meetings. However, 
attendance lists and minutes of these meetings, if kept, were not made 
available to us, nor were members of the Support Group allowed to 
discuss these meetings with us. Thus we were unable to verify any 
assertions about the composition of personnel at the meetings or about 
the general subjects discussed.

The Working Group met with Support Group staff for the last time on 
April 3, 2001. For the remainder of April 2001, the Support Group 
worked alone, condensing the list of potential recommendations for 
NEPDG discussion and recasting the chapters to fit the recommendations. 
During this period, the Support Group contacted agencies primarily to 
verify facts or rewrite specified sections of the report. Agency 
officials rejoined the process after April 30, 2001, when the Support 
Group released the draft chapters for final comment.

Staff from Multiple Federal Agencies Participated in the NEPDG Effort:

The development of the National Energy Policy report involved hundreds 
of staff from nine federal agencies and several White House offices. 
Agencies had considerable latitude in determining how to staff their 
NEPDG assignments. Most agencies developed a multilevel, top-down 
process coordinated by the agency's lead NEPDG contact or Working Group 
member. Generally, the NEPDG Support Group forwarded specific writing 
assignments, information requests, meeting times and agendas to the 
agency contacts, who then disseminated the information to a 
coordination team. The coordination team distributed assignments to 
lead officials in offices or bureaus throughout the department. These 
officials then assigned staff to complete the tasks. When the completed 
work had interoffice concurrence, it was then passed back up the chain 
of command. The NEPDG agency staff contact then reviewed and approved 
all agency submissions before releasing them to the Principals, the 
Support Group, or other agencies for review or comment. Agency staff 
contacts also held regular update meetings with the coordination team 
and provided assorted updates and briefings to the agency Principal. 
Not all agencies experienced the same workload. For example, DOE, which 
was assigned the lead role in developing multiple chapters, had greater 
responsibilities, more meetings to attend, and larger efforts to 
coordinate than some other agencies, such as Interior, that played more 
of an advisory role. Frequent interaction also took place between 
agencies in developing the report chapters.

More than 80 DOE employees from eight departmental offices had direct 
input into the development of the National Energy Policy report, 
including science specialists and representatives with significant 
science expertise. DOE's Senior Policy Advisor to the Secretary led the 
department's internal effort to develop information for an interim and 
final report, and to identify policy recommendations for the report. 
The official joined the Acting Director of the then Office of Policy in 
periodic meetings with the Support Group staff and other agency 
officials to discuss drafts of specific chapters. In addition, the 
official joined DOE Office of Policy and program officials to relay 
comments from NEPDG meetings and to coordinate writing activities 
within DOE. The Acting Director of the Office of Policy, who was 
responsible for the day-to-day coordination and management of the 
process of producing DOE's contributions to the NEPDG effort, led a 
coordination team of senior managers from the department's Office of 
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Office of Nuclear Energy, 
Office of Fossil Energy, Office of Policy, Office of International 
Affairs, Energy Information Administration, and the Bonneville Power 
Administration. The team was charged with coordinating the writing of 
chapters, and each office formed a similar group within their areas of 
expertise to write its respective chapters. The Office of Policy took 
the lead on chapter 1 (Taking Stock), Energy Efficiency took the lead 
on chapter 4 (Using Energy Wisely) and chapter 6 (Nature's Power), and 
Fossil Energy took the lead on chapter 5 (Energy for a New Century). In 
addition, DOE contributed draft sections to chapters for which other 
agencies had been assigned the lead role. Each office developed 
recommendations and, after internal discussions, forwarded them for 
high-level review within DOE before they were released to the NEPDG 
Principals for review.

DOE staff researched historical information about energy and energy 
markets; identified key energy issues; examined and analyzed the 
current situation in energy markets; discussed likely energy issues, 
such as energy production, conservation and energy efficiency, energy 
prices, renewable and alternative energy sources, and national energy 
security; and prepared issue papers, memoranda, and talking points 
relating to these subjects. They also assisted with writing and 
reviewing drafts of report chapters, providing supporting statistical 
and other information, reviewing and responding to comments from other 
executive branch components, fact-checking, developing citations and 
graphics, and briefing the Secretary on energy policy issues.

Interior was not assigned a lead role in writing any of the report 
chapters. The department's relationship with NEPDG, including the 
Working Group and Support Group staff, therefore consisted of the 
discussions at Principals' and Working Group meetings, comments on 
drafts, provision of an options paper, and responses to questions from 
NEPDG staff. To support the NEPDG effort, Interior's Office of Policy 
Analysis formed an energy task force comprised of 11 issue teams to 
examine opportunities to make more energy available from public lands 
and to streamline and improve various planning and permitting processes 
for facilitating energy development. Approximately 100 Interior 
employees, representing 13 departmental offices or bureaus, helped to 
develop information for the NEPDG effort. These teams helped develop an 
internal paper that agency officials used during Working Group 
discussions of other agencies' draft chapters.

EPA's general role was to ensure that environmental issues were 
accurately and adequately addressed and reflected in the development of 
the report. More than 110 EPA employees participated in the agency's 
internal NEPDG efforts. EPA's Associate Administrator for Policy, 
Economics, and Innovation served as the lead manager of the agency's 
NEPDG activities, overseeing its role in drafting the report chapter on 
the environment (Protecting America's Environment) and analyzing 
environmental issues contained in the other draft chapters of the 
report. This EPA official and two senior managers from the Office of 
Air and Radiation worked closely with senior staff from other offices 
within EPA and senior officials from other contributing agencies. The 
office leads circulated the draft to others, usually to staff within 
their particular office, as they deemed appropriate. The managers 
reviewed documents each time EPA staff prepared or revised them. Upon 
approval, EPA's draft was then conveyed to the Support Group.

Nonfederal Energy Stakeholders Contributed to the NEPDG Effort:

The NEPDG Principals, Support Group, Working Group, and participating 
agency officials met with, solicited input from, or received 
information and advice from a variety of nonfederal energy stakeholders 
while developing the National Energy Policy report. According to our 
analysis of agency documents produced under court order, stakeholder 
involvement in the NEPDG process included private citizens offering 
general energy advice to the President, industry leaders submitting 
detailed policy recommendations to NEPDG, and individual meetings with 
Principals as well as the Vice President. The extent to which 
submissions from any of these stakeholders were solicited, influenced 
policy deliberations, or were incorporated into the final report is not 
something that we can determine based on the limited information at our 
disposal. Nor can we provide a comprehensive listing of the dates or 
purposes of these meetings, their attendees, or how the attendees, when 
solicited, were selected, because of OVP's unwillingness to provide us 
with information.

The Principals met with a variety of nonfederal entities to discuss 
energy issues and policy. DOE reported that the Secretary of Energy 
discussed national energy policy with chief executive officers of 
petroleum, electricity, nuclear, coal, chemical, and natural gas 
companies, among others. The Secretary of Energy also reportedly asked 
nonfederal parties for their recommendations for short-and long-term 
responses to petroleum product price and supply constraints. Several 
corporations and associations, including Chevron, the National Mining 
Association, and the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association, 
provided the Secretary of Energy with detailed energy policy 
recommendations. EPA reported that agency managers--including the EPA 
Administrator--held many meetings with outside parties, where the issue 
of energy policy was raised. For example, according to the 
Administrator's schedule, the Administrator and agency staff met 
separately with the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the Edison 
Electric Institute, and a group of environmental and conservation 
leaders. Interior reported that the Secretary of the Interior and staff 
attended meetings with private industry to discuss energy issues, 
including one meeting with Rocky Mountain-based petroleum companies 
interested in leasing federal lands and another meeting with an Indian 
tribe from Pyramid Lake, Nevada interested in building a power plant on 
its lands. In addition, in its response to a congressional inquiry, OVP 
reported that the Vice President met with the chairman and chief 
executive officer of Enron Corporation to discuss energy policy 
matters.[Footnote 14] The Vice President also received a lobbying 
group's appeal to stop treating carbon dioxide as a pollutant and 
policy recommendations from a coalition of utilities, coal producers 
and railroads calling itself the Coal-Based Generation Stakeholders. We 
cannot determine the extent to which any of these communications with 
NEPDG Principals affected the content or development of the final 
report.

In response to another congressional inquiry,[Footnote 15] the NEPDG 
executive director reported that the Support Group staff held meetings 
with individuals involved with companies or industries, including those 
in the electricity, telecommunications, coal mining, petroleum, gas, 
refining, bioenergy, solar energy, nuclear energy, pipeline, railroad 
and automobile manufacturing sectors; environmental, wildlife, and 
marine advocacy; state and local utility regulation and energy 
management; research and teaching at universities; research and 
analysis at policy organizations; energy consumers, including 
consumption by businesses and individuals; a major labor union; and 
about three dozen Members of Congress or their staffs. However, the 
NEPDG executive director did not specify the frequency, length, or 
purpose of the meetings, or how participants were selected to attend. 
In addition, OVP reported that the Support Group staff also met with 
numerous nonfederal stakeholders during the development of the final 
report, including a meeting with representatives of various utilities 
and two meetings with representatives of Enron Corporation.[Footnote 
16]

Finally, senior agency officials participated in numerous meetings with 
nonfederal energy stakeholders to discuss the national energy policy. 
Based on our analysis of the agency documents produced under court 
order, senior DOE officials, in addition to attending meetings with the 
Secretary of Energy, met with a variety of industry representatives, 
lobbyists, and energy associations, including the American Coal 
Company, Small Refiners Association, the Coal Council, CSX, 
Enviropower, Inc., Detroit Edison, Duke Energy, the Edison Electric 
Institute, General Motors, the National Petroleum Council, and the 
lobbying firm of Barbour, Griffith & Rogers. These senior DOE officials 
also solicited recommendations, views, or points of clarification from 
other parties. For example, one senior DOE official solicited detailed 
energy policy recommendations from a variety of nonfederal energy 
stakeholders, including the American Petroleum Institute, the National 
Petrochemical and Refiners' Association, the American Council for an 
Energy-Efficient Economy, and Southern Company. This official also 
received policy recommendations from others, including the American Gas 
Association, Green Mountain Energy, the National Mining Association, 
and the lobbying firms the Dutko Group and the Duberstein Group. Senior 
EPA officials, in addition to accompanying the Administrator to 
meetings with nonfederal energy stakeholders, discussed issues related 
to the development of an energy policy at meetings with the Alliance of 
Automobile Manufacturers, the American Public Power Association, and 
the Yakama Nation Electric Utility. Interior told us that senior agency 
officials met with nonfederal parties to discuss energy policy or other 
energy-related issues, but provided us with no further details about 
these meetings.

In addition to the meetings listed above, the agency documents reveal 
that the NEPDG Principals, Support Group, and agency staff received a 
considerable amount of unsolicited advice, criticisms, meeting 
requests, and/or recommendations from other parties, including private 
citizens; university professors; local, state, and international 
officials; regional energy stakeholders; and a variety of interest 
groups representing energy-related causes. Again, because of the 
limited information available to us, we cannot determine the extent to 
which these communications affected the content or development of the 
final report.

The National Energy Policy Report Was Developed in Two Distinct Phases:

The National Energy Policy report was developed in two distinct phases, 
in accordance with the general criteria defined in the President's 
January 29, 2001, memorandum. The first phase involved the development 
of an outline; the distribution of research and writing assignments to 
participating agencies; and the development of narrative, topical 
chapters that ultimately formed the basis of the final report. The 
first phase culminated in a March 19, 2001, presentation to the 
President on energy supply disruptions and their regional effects. In 
the second phase, agency officials reviewed and finalized draft 
chapters; consolidated a list of options and recommendations and 
discussed them with the Working Group; and developed short position 
papers on each of the recommendations that the Working Group considered 
to be controversial. These papers served as the primary basis for 
discussion at subsequent Principals' meetings. After the final meeting 
of the Working Group on April 3, 2001, the Support Group took the 
provided materials under consideration and drafted the final report. 
Agency officials had a final opportunity to review the partial draft of 
the recommendations before the report was finalized, published, and 
presented to the President on May 16, 2001, as the National Energy 
Policy.

NEPDG Drafted Chapters and Prepared an Interim Report in the First 
Phase:

In the first week of the administration, the Vice President worked with 
the soon-to-be-named NEPDG executive director to define the process for 
developing a proposed national energy policy. They decided that a group 
of senior federal officials would generate an interim report that would 
detail energy supply problems and a final report that would outline 
solutions. The President's memorandum, released on January 29, 2001, 
reflected this work plan.

In early February 2001, the NEPDG executive director distributed a 
memorandum at the first Working Group meeting detailing the group's 
mission, reporting requirements, and a proposed structure of seven 
targeted interagency workgroups to review specific issue areas. At the 
meeting, the Support Group named lead agencies to coordinate the 
development of each of the 10 assigned chapters.[Footnote 17]

The Support Group tasked the lead agencies--DOE, DOT, EPA, Treasury, 
and the State Department--with developing a report outline for each of 
their assigned chapters to be forwarded to the White House for final 
approval. The Support Group instructed agencies to write chapters 
without proposing improvements, noting that the draft chapters would 
not be sent to the President, but would serve as the basis of a more 
detailed version that NEPDG would use when drafting the final report. 
While the drafting of chapters for the final report continued, the 
Support Group, Working Group, and participating agency staff focused 
much of their collective effort throughout February on developing 
sections of an interim report. The Support Group released the interim 
report to the Principals for review in early March 2001, then shifted 
its attention to the second phase of the process--finalizing the draft 
and making recommendations. The interim briefing, which took place at 
the White House on March 19, 2001, mostly consisted of oral 
presentations on the energy supply and demand situation and short-term 
regional energy supply disruptions.

NEPDG Selected Recommendations and Finalized the Report in the Second 
Phase:

Immediately following the March 19, 2001, presentation of the interim 
report to the President, the Working Group met to refine the chapters 
of the final report and to discuss potential recommendations that 
agencies had accumulated. The Support Group provided the agencies with 
a copy of the Bush-Cheney energy-related initiatives developed during 
the presidential campaign, asking them to ensure that they incorporated 
these initiatives when developing their respective recommendations. 
They asked each agency in the Working Group to prepare an "option 
paper" that included proposals for streamlining energy production and 
steps to implement them.

In March 2001, the Working Group continued to develop chapters and 
discuss recommendations, and pared down each agency's list of potential 
recommendations. The Support Group prepared five one-page issue paper 
summaries of the recommendations that the Working Group considered to 
be controversial--a multi-pollutant strategy, fuel efficiency 
standards, energy efficiency, nuclear energy, and the moratoria on 
Outer Continental Shelf leasing--to the Principals for further 
discussion. Shortly before the April 3, 2001, Principals' meeting, the 
Support Group added a last-minute agenda item to be discussed with the 
other recommendations. The actual agenda item, however, had been 
redacted from the documents that we reviewed.

In early April 2001, the Support Group stopped accepting comments on 
the proposals and began sorting through them, asking agencies to 
incorporate what the Support Group deemed to be the less controversial 
recommendations into the draft chapters. For the remainder of April 
2001, the Support Group mostly worked alone, selecting recommendations 
to present to NEPDG Principals and rewriting the chapters to fit the 
recommendations. The Principals met to discuss several of the 
potentially more controversial recommendations and to decide which 
proposals to add to the chapters. In some cases, agencies were told to 
rewrite sections of the chapters to incorporate the proposed 
recommendations.

The agencies continued to draft their chapters and incorporate various 
other agencies' comments until the Support Group issued a deadline and 
requested the final submission of chapters for editing. The Support 
Group then released the drafts to all of the agencies for a cursory 
review, informing agency officials that the drafts were now considered 
"final" and that only high priority comments would be accepted.

The Support Group asked agencies to protect their lists of proposed 
recommendations, instructing officials to hold all proposals closely 
and not to circulate them. The Support Group then sent the draft 
chapters to the agencies without any recommendations. On April 30, 
2001, the Support Group invited each agency's Principal or chief of 
staff to visit the White House for an on-site review of the final draft 
recommendations. The Support Group continued to make last-minute 
alterations to the report to incorporate revised recommendations, 
called on the agencies to verify facts and to provide citations, and 
ushered the final draft through the editing and printing processes. On 
May 16, 2001, the Vice President presented the final National Energy 
Policy report to the President. The final report contained over 100 
proposals to increase the nation's energy supply. The presentation 
brought the National Energy Policy report development process to a 
close.

Federal Agencies Did Not Track the Amount of Public Money Spent on 
NEPDG Activities:

None of the key federal entities involved in the NEPDG effort provided 
us with a complete accounting of the costs they incurred during the 
development of the National Energy Policy report. Several agencies 
provided us with rough estimates of their respective NEPDG-related 
costs; but these estimates, all calculated in different ways, were not 
comprehensive. The two federal entities responsible for funding the 
NEPDG effort--OVP and DOE--did not provide us with the comprehensive 
cost information we requested. OVP provided us with 77 pages of 
information, two-thirds of which contained no cost information, while 
the remaining one-third contained miscellaneous information of little 
to no usefulness. In response to our requests seeking clarification on 
the provided information, OVP stated that it would not provide any 
additional information. DOE, EPA, and Interior provided us with their 
estimates of costs associated with the NEPDG effort, which aggregated 
about $860,000. DOE provided us with selected cost information, 
including salary estimates, printing and publication costs, and other 
incidental expenses. EPA and Interior provided salary cost estimates 
for some of their senior officials involved in the report's 
development. DOE and Interior officials reported that although most of 
the identified costs were salary-oriented, employees had not 
specifically recorded the amount of time they had spent on NEPDG-
related tasks because many of them already worked on energy policy and 
thus would have likely conducted a substantial portion of the work, 
even without the NEPDG project taking place. An Interior official 
cautioned us not to expect a precise estimate, noting that the estimate 
primarily had been based on employee recollection and guesswork.

DOE and OVP Were Responsible for Funding NEPDG Activities:

In his January 29, 2001, memorandum that established NEPDG, the 
President instructed the Vice President to consult with the Secretary 
of Energy to determine the need for funding. DOE was to "make funds 
appropriated to the Department of Energy available to pay the costs of 
personnel to support the activities of the Energy Policy Development 
Group." The memorandum further stated that if DOE required additional 
funds, the Vice President was to submit a proposal to the President to 
use "the minimum necessary portion of any appropriation available to 
the President to meet the unanticipated need" or obtain assistance from 
the National Economic Council staff.[Footnote 18]

OVP Provided Limited Cost Information Responsive to Our Request 
Regarding NEPDG's Receipt, Disbursement, and Use of Public Funds:

In response to our inquiry about the NEPDG's receipt, disbursement, and 
use of public funds, OVP provided us with 77 pages of "documents 
retrieved from the files of the Office of the Vice President responsive 
to that inquiry."[Footnote 19] The Vice President later referred to 
these documents as "responsive to the Comptroller General's inquiry 
concerning costs associated with the Group's work."[Footnote 20] Our 
analysis of the documents, however, showed that they responded only 
partially to our request.

The documents that OVP provided contain little useful information or 
insight into the overall costs associated with the National Energy 
Policy development. Of the 77 pages that we received, 52 contained no 
cost information while the remaining 25 contained some miscellaneous 
information of little to no usefulness. For example, OVP provided us 
with two pages illustrating a telephone template and four pages 
containing indecipherable scribbling, but no discernible cost 
information. OVP also provided documents that contained some 
miscellaneous information, predominantly reimbursement requests, 
assorted telephone bills and random items, such as the executive 
director's credit card receipt for pizza. In response to our requests 
seeking clarification of the provided information, OVP stated that it 
would not provide us with any additional information. Consequently, we 
were unable to determine the extent to which OVP documents reflected 
costs associated with the report's development.

DOE Did Not Comprehensively Track Overall NEPDG Costs:

DOE reported spending about $300,000 on NEPDG-related activities, more 
than half of which was used for the salaries of its employees detailed 
to OVP and two designated DOE staff contacts for the period from 
January 29, 2001, through May 29, 2001. DOE reported spending most of 
the remaining funds to print and produce 10,000 policy publications and 
graphic support, pay for 16 large briefing boards, and reimburse the 
NEPDG executive director for his lodging and per diem expenses. DOE did 
not provide any information on the Support Group members' requests for 
the reimbursement of taxi, parking, meal, or duplicating expenditures 
contained in the 77 pages of OVP documents. However, DOE officials 
noted that the department did not pay for furniture, telephones, or 
other expenses that DOE employees on the Support Group may have 
incurred setting up their offices, saying that they assumed that the 
White House paid these costs.

EPA Provided Estimates of Its NEPDG-Related Salary Costs, but Did Not 
Include Its Incidental Expenses:

EPA reported spending an estimated $131,250 in NEPDG-related costs to 
pay the salaries of the officials most involved in NEPDG activities. 
EPA officials calculated this estimate by taking the number of full-
time equivalents, the officials' average annual salaries, and prorating 
the amount for the 3˝ months they spent working on the NEPDG effort. 
EPA officials also reported that the agency incurred multiple 
incidental expenses in helping to prepare the NEPDG report, such as 
taxi fares, duplication costs, and courier fees, but they neither 
itemized these expenditures nor provided us with any further 
documentation.

Federal Employee Salaries Accounted for All of Interior's Reported 
NEPDG-Related Costs:

Interior reported spending an estimated $430,000 on salary-related 
costs associated with the NEPDG report development. It also reported 
that it did not incur any NEPDG-related contracting costs. The agency 
official who provided us with the estimate warned that although it was 
the best possible, its precision was uncertain because it had been 
based on employees' personal recollections and guesswork as to the 
amount of time they spent working on NEPDG-related activities. The 
official then added an additional 20 percent to the estimated sum to 
reflect the employee benefits that accrued during the period. Interior 
did not create a unique job code or accounting process to track the 
time that Interior employees spent on developing the NEPDG report. 
According to one official, many of the staff involved with the NEPDG 
effort already worked on energy policy for their respective bureaus or 
offices and thus a substantial portion of the work would likely have 
been conducted, even without the NEPDG project taking place.

Agency Comments:

We provided DOE, Interior, and EPA with an opportunity to review and 
comment on a draft of this report. Representatives from each of these 
three agencies reviewed the report and chose not to provide written 
comments. Interior and EPA provided several technical clarifications 
orally, which we incorporated, as appropriate, into the final report. 
We also provided OVP with an opportunity to review and comment on our 
draft report, but the office did not avail itself of the opportunity.

We conducted our review from May 2001 through July 2003. We plan no 
further distribution of this report until August 25. On that date, we 
will send copies of this report to interested congressional committees. 
This report is also available on GAO's home page at 
[Hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov] http://www.gao.gov.

If you or your staffs have any questions about this report, please call 
me at (202) 512-3841. Key contributors to this report are listed in 
appendix I.

Robert A. Robinson 
Managing Director, 
Natural Resources and Environment:

Signed by Robert A. Robinson: 

List of Congressional Requesters:

Senate: 

The Honorable Joseph I. Lieberman[A]
Ranking Minority Member 
Committee on Governmental Affairs 
United States Senate; 
The Honorable Henry A. Waxman 
Ranking Minority Member 
Committee on Government Reform 
House of Representatives.

The Honorable Ernest F. Hollings[A] 
Ranking Minority Member 
Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation 
United States Senate; 

The Honorable John D. Dingell 
Ranking Minority Member 
Committee on Energy and Commerce 
House of Representatives.

The Honorable Carl M. Levin[A] 
Ranking Minority Member 
Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations 
Committee on Governmental Affairs 
United States Senate; 

The Honorable Byron L. Dorgan[A] 
Ranking Minority Member 
Subcommittee on Competition, Foreign Commerce, and Infrastructure[b] 
Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation 
United States Senate; 

[A] At the time of their joint request to GAO, the four senators were 
chairmen of their respective committees or subcommittees.

[B] This subcommittee was formerly called the Subcommittee on Consumer 
Affairs, Foreign Commerce, and Tourism.

[End of table]

[End of section]

Appendixes:

Appendix I: GAO Contacts and Staff Acknowledgment:

GAO Contacts:

Robert A. Robinson (202) 512-3841 Peg Reese (202) 512-9695:

Acknowledgment:

In addition to the individuals named above, Doreen Feldman, Lynn 
Gibson, Richard Johnson, Bob Lilly, Jonathan S. McMurray, Susan Poling, 
Susan Sawtelle, Amy Webbink, and Jim Wells made key contributions to 
this report.

(360086):

FOOTNOTES

[1] Pres. Memorandum (Jan. 29, 2001). 

[2] National Energy Policy: Report of the National Energy Policy 
Development Group. U.S. Government Printing Office (Washington, D.C. 
May 2001).

[3] In April 2001, Representatives Henry A. Waxman and John D. Dingell 
asked us to examine the process and costs associated with the NEPDG. 
Subsequently, Senators Joseph I. Lieberman, Ernest F. Hollings, Carl M. 
Levin, and Byron L. Dorgan, chairs of their respective committees or 
subcommittees at the time of their request, also requested this 
analysis.

[4] 31 U.S.C. § 717(b)(3) requires GAO to conduct evaluations requested 
by chairs of congressional committees of relevant jurisdiction.

[5] As authorized by 31 U.S.C. § 716(b)(1), the Comptroller General 
sent a formal request for the NEPDG records to OVP on July 18, 2001. 
After a requisite 20-day period passed without any meaningful action, 
the Comptroller General reported on August 17, 2001, to the Congress, 
the President, the Vice President, and other officials, that OVP had 
not provided the requested information. After a second requisite 20-day 
period passed, again without any meaningful action, and subsequent to a 
reasonable amount of time after the tragic events of September 11, 
2001, and additional attempts to reach resolution of this matter, the 
Comptroller General filed suit on February 22, 2002, as authorized by 
31 U.S.C. § 716 (b)(2). The executive branch chose not to invoke the 
"safety valve" certification mechanism in 31 U.S.C. § 716 (d)(1)(C) 
that would have precluded GAO from taking the unprecedented step of 
going to court. Furthermore, the President did not seek to protect the 
information from disclosure by claiming that it was subject to 
executive privilege. 

[6] Walker v. Cheney, 230 F. Supp. 2d 51 (D.D.C. 2002).

[7] Although GAO believes the district court's decision is incorrect, 
as detailed in the Comptroller General's statement on February 7, 2003, 
continuing to pursue GAO's access request through the courts would have 
required significant time and resources over several years. At the same 
time, several private litigants are seeking much of the same NEPDG 
information from OVP that GAO sought, and we plan to obtain those 
records, if these cases are successful. Moreover, because the district 
court's decision in GAO's case did not reach the merits of GAO's audit 
or access authority, the decision in no way diminishes these 
authorities or the obligation of agencies to provide GAO with 
information. The court's decision is confined to the unique 
circumstances posed by this particular case and does not preclude GAO 
from filing suit on a different matter involving different facts in the 
future. 

[8] These suits have since been consolidated into two lead suits: 
Natural Resources Defense Council v. Department of Energy, No. 
1:01CV2545 (D.D.C.) (filed under the Freedom of Information Act 
(FOIA)), and Judicial Watch, Inc. v. NEPDG et al., No. 01-1530 (D.D.C.) 
(filed under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) and other 
statutes). OVP has refused to produce any documents to date in either 
litigation and the Vice President filed an action in the U.S. Court of 
Appeals for the D.C. Circuit seeking to have the latter district court 
case dismissed. See In re Cheney, No. 02-5354 (D.C. Cir.). On July 8, 
2003, the D.C. Circuit denied the Vice President's petition in the D.C. 
Circuit; the Vice President is seeking rehearing of this denial. As 
part of the court proceedings in the consolidated FACA cases, DOE, 
Interior, and EPA produced interrogatory responses, which were provided 
to us. Certain documents generated by OVP personnel were produced in 
the NRDC v. DOE FOIA cases, but these were produced by other agencies, 
not by OVP.

[9] In the Judicial Watch FACA litigation now pending in district court 
(see footnote 8), the plaintiffs contend that NEPDG membership was not 
limited to these federal officials but also included certain nonfederal 
parties. The court has not yet decided this issue, and this report 
takes no position on it.

[10] The President originally named the Assistant to the President for 
Intergovernmental Affairs as an NEPDG member. However, because the 
President had not appointed anyone to serve in this position, the Vice 
President instead invited the Deputy Assistant to the President and 
Director of Intergovernmental Affairs to attend the meetings.

[11] NEPDG Principals met one more time on July 13, 2001, after the 
publication of the final report. We did not include this meeting in our 
total because it lay beyond the scope of our review.

[12] Two members of the Support Group staff joined the NEPDG effort in 
April 2001: a senior professional, who was brought in to help draft the 
final report, and the communications director, who was brought in to 
develop a marketing strategy for rolling out the final report.

[13] Declaration of Karen Y. Knutson, Judicial Watch, Inc. v. NEPDG et 
al., No. 01-1530 (D.D.C.) (Sept. 3, 2002).

[14] David S. Addington, Counsel to the Vice President, to the 
Honorable Henry A. Waxman, U.S. House of Representatives (Jan. 3, 
2002).

[15] Responses of Andrew Lundquist, Executive Director for the National 
Energy Policy Development Group, to questions from the Ranking Minority 
Members of the House Committee on Government Reform and the House 
Committee on Energy and Commerce (May 4, 2001).

[16] Addington to Waxman (Jan. 3, 2002).

[17] The number of chapters was later reduced from 10 to 8, as several 
chapters were consolidated during the writing process. 

[18] Pres. Memorandum (Jan. 29, 2001).

[19] Letter from David Addington, Counsel to the Vice President, to 
Anthony Gamboa, General Counsel, the U.S. General Accounting Office 
(June 21, 2001).

[20] Letter from the Vice President to the U.S. House of 
Representatives (Aug. 2, 2001). 

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General Accounting Office, 441 G Street NW, Room 7149 Washington, D.C.

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