Air Pollution:

EPA's Efforts To Develop a New Model for Regulating Utility Emissions

RCED-88-57: Published: Jan 22, 1988. Publicly Released: Mar 7, 1988.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reported on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) procurement of the Advanced Utility Simulation Model, an air quality model, specifically: (1) when and how it will be complete and fully operational; (2) why EPA used a cooperative agreement rather than a procurement contract; (3) why EPA did not require the delivery of an operational model and whether it had any recourse, given the contractor's failure to deliver; and (4) whether contracts for computer models include an enforceable obligation to deliver.

GAO found that: (1) EPA estimated that completion of the model will occur in fiscal year 1989 and will cost $5.2 million; (2) EPA stated that it used a cooperative agreement because of the broad national use of the model; and (3) although EPA did not address its failure to require delivery of an operational model, it did acknowledge that its cooperative agreement was not well suited to obtaining such a model. GAO also found that in: (1) nine cases where EPA used contracts to obtain computer models, there were enforceable delivery clauses and clauses precluding proprietary restrictions; and (2) four cases, EPA used interagency agreements that did not require the delivery of a model and potential proprietary problems have occurred.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: On June 21, 1988, EPA issued change 3 to its Assistance Administration Manual to clarify the difference between acquisition and assistance. The revision clearly articulates that a procurement contract is to be used when delivery of an operational model is expected.

    Recommendation: The Administrator, EPA, should designate an appropriate official to complete the guidelines on use of contracts, cooperative agreements, and interagency agreements and ensure that these guidelines are published expeditiously. The revision should clearly articulate that a procurement contract is to be used when a delivery of an operational model is expected.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency


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