Priority Support for Energy Programs Under the Defense Production Act

ID-82-60: Published: Sep 14, 1982. Publicly Released: Oct 14, 1982.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Department of Commerce procedures which pertain to priorities for acquiring steel to meet future energy requirements. The Defense Production Act of 1950 authorizes the President to give priority support to certain energy programs to maximize domestic energy supplies.

The President is empowered by the Act to delegate authority for administering and implementing the day-to-day program functions to the Department of Commerce and the Department of Energy (DOE). Applicants seeking priority rating support must send their requests to DOE for evaluation. Eligible applications are forwarded to Commerce, which determines whether: (1) the supplies of material and equipment are scarce; and (2) the program or project can reasonably be accomplished outside of the priorities and allocation systems. Commerce makes a final decision when its evaluation is completed. GAO found that both Departments have used their authority sparingly and have not significantly affected producers and suppliers of domestic steel or other materials and equipment.

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