Air Pollution:

EPA's Process for Planning, Budgeting, and Reviewing Research

RCED-88-47BR: Published: Dec 15, 1987. Publicly Released: Jan 25, 1988.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) planning and budgeting process to determine: (1) whether EPA adequately considered the needs of its regulators in planning and budgeting for research; and (2) the extent to which EPA and outside experts reviewed EPA research programs.

GAO found that: (1) EPA used a three-tiered, 19-step process for planning and budgeting research activities; (2) the first tier identified and documented key issues for determining the EPA research programs for the next 5 years; (3) the second tier defined resources and outputs required for specific scientific issues; and (4) the third tier defined program office research needs for the next year. GAO also found that: (1) EPA designed its planning and budgeting process to incorporate EPA regulators' needs; (2) the process included extensive involvement from research and laboratory managers and from various program offices that will ultimately use the research; (3) EPA subjects planned, ongoing, and completed research to both internal and external review; and (4) the planning and research process and multiple review processes EPA used were not part of official EPA policy.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: An accomplishment report will be prepared acknowledging EPA formal documentation of its research planning, budgeting, and reviewing processes, as recommended by GAO.

    Recommendation: The Administrator, EPA, should plan to incorporate its research planning, budgeting, and reviewing processes in interim guidance for the fiscal year 1990 budget cycle, in an EPA policy statement.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency


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