Department of Agriculture, Commodity Credit Corporation:

Environmental Quality Incentives Program

OGC-97-50: Published: Jun 12, 1997. Publicly Released: Jun 12, 1997.

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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO reviewed the Commodity Credit Corporation's (CCC) new rule on the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). GAO noted that: (1) the final rule would establish EQIP to assume the functions of the repealed Agricultural Conservation, the Great Plains Conservation, the Water Quality Incentives, and the Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Programs and to replace an interim program; (2) EQIP would be funded by CCC, but administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS); (3) according to NRCS, this single, voluntary program will provide flexible technical, financial, and educational assistance to farmers and ranchers who face serious threats to soil, water, and related natural resources on agricultural and other lands; (4) CCC did not comply with applicable requirements in promulgating the rule, since it ignored the required 60-day delay in the new rule's effective date; and (5) CCC did not make a "good cause" finding for waiving the delay, which in any case was unavailable, since CCC used notice and comment procedures for the rule.

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