Report on Hydroelectric Power and Related Activities, Missouri River Basin Project, Corps of Engineers (Civil Functions) and Bureau of Reclamation, Fiscal Years 1959 and 1960

B-125042: Published: Apr 30, 1962. Publicly Released: Apr 30, 1962.

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GAO conducted an audit of hydroelectric power and related activities of the Corps of Engineers (Civil Functions), Department of the Army, and the Bureau of Reclamation, Department of the Interior, in the Missouri River Basin Project for the fiscal years 1959 and 1960. We reviewed the basic laws authorizing the activities, and the pertinent Legislative history to ascertain the purposes of the activities and their intended scope. We ascertained the policies and procedures adopted by the Corps and the Bureau and examined into their adequacy and effectiveness. We examined selected transactions to the extent we deemed appropriate with due regard to the nature and volume of transactions and the effectiveness of internal control including internal audits. Our examination of transactions was conducted at the Omaha, Nebraska, district office of the Corps of Engineers, at the Billings, Montana (Region 69, and Denver, Colorado (Region 7), regional offices, and the Casper, Wyoming, and McGook, Nebraska, project offices of the Bureau of Reclamation. Our verification work and the accompanying financial statements relate to the Missouri River Basin Project (including the Fork Peck Project) of the Bureau of Reclamation and the Fort Peck, Garrison, Oahe, Big Bend, Fort Randall, and Gavins Point projects of the Corps of Engineers. For power rate and repayment studies and other purposes, these Bureau and Corps projects are considered as parts of one comprehensive plan, which is referred t o as the Missouri River Basin Project. Other projects of the Corps of Engineers which are considered as part of the comprehensive Missouri River Basin Project, but do .not include power as a purpose, were excluded from our verification work and the accompanying financial statements.

The Missouri River basin consists of those parts of the States of Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, Missouri, Iowa, and Minnesota within and from which waters drain into the Missouri River. The principal Federal water resources development activities in the basin are being conducted under a comprehensive plan approved by the Flood Control Act of 1944 (58 Stat. 891). The term "Missouri River Basin Project" is used to identify Federal water resources development activities conducted pursuant to the comprehensive plan. This report deals principally with the hydroelectric power aspects of the Missouri River Bash Project; generally, other Federal water resources development projects and activities in the Missouri River basin are not included in this report. The Missouri River Basin Project consists of numerous single and multiple-purpose facilities designed primarily to provide benefits from flood control, hydroelectric power, navigation, and irrigation, Other benefits provided include municipal and industrial water supply, recreation, and wildlife conservation. Generally, the Corps of Engineers constructs the multiple-purpose and flood control facilities on the Missouri River and the flood control facilities on tributary streams; the Bureau of Reclamation also constructs the irrigation facilities on the Missouri River and multiple-purpose and irrigation facilities on tributary streams. Each agency operates the facilities it constructs. Reclamation also constructs power transmission lines and markets the power not needed for operation of the facilities. The construction cost of the Missouri River Basin Project when completed is estimated to total about $6 billion, of which about $4 billion has been allocated to irrigation, commercial power, and other purposes for which the law requires repayment to the United States Treasury. Commercial power revenues are expected to repay about 89 percent of all construction costs allocated to reimbursable purposes. The hydroelectric program provides for the construction of power plants with an ultimate installed capacity of about 2,7OO,OOO kilowatts. At June 30, 1960, the installed capacity at plants in operation totaled 871,200 kilowatts and construction work was in progress on additional facilities having a planned ultimate installed capacity of 1,351,000 kilowatts. The activities of the Corps of Engineers in the Missouri River basin are carried out by district offices at Omaha, Nebraska, and Kansas City, Missouri, in the Missouri River Division headquartered at Omaha, Nebraska. The district offices of the Corps are operating offices headed by Army engineer officers, as district engineers, and generally carry out both military and civil works activities within defined areas under the general direction of division engineers. The division engineers are responsible to the Chief of Engineers, Washington, D.C. The activities of the Bureau of Reclamation in the Missouri River basin are carried out by regional offices at Billings, Montana, and Denver, Colorado, and project offices located at Huron, South Dakota, Bismarck, North Dakota, Casper, Wyoming, and McCook, Nebraska. Under authority delegated by the Secretary of the Interior, the management of the Bureau is vested in the Commissioner of Reclamation under the supervision of the Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Water and Power Development.

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