Review of Programs for Reimbursement for Public Participation in Federal Rulemaking Proceedings

PAD-81-30: Published: Mar 4, 1981. Publicly Released: Apr 7, 1981.

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Executive Order 12044 encourages public participation in agency rulemaking proceedings, but it contains no specific funding element for the reimbursment of participants. An evaluation was performed to determine which agencies have established public participation reimbursement programs.

Statutes specifically authorize the Federal Trade Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to provide funds to public participants in agency proceedings. In response to requests from a number of regulatory agencies, GAO has held that appropriated funds may be used to reimburse public participants in agency proceedings in the absence of specific statutory authorization to do so. It is within the agency's discretion to determine whether reimbursement of participants is necessary in accomplishing its functions. Three agencies have programs for reimbursement under authority other than specific statutes. Some agencies have no public participation programs because their appropriation acts have expressly forbidden them or because committee reports accompanying their appropriations indicated a congressional intent that their programs be discontinued.

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