Department of Energy:

Fiscal Year 1998 Budget Request

RCED-97-171R: Published: Jul 21, 1997. Publicly Released: Jul 31, 1997.

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GAO provided information on its review of the Department of Energy's (DOE) fiscal year (FY) 1998 budget request, focusing on: (1) FY 1998 budget requests for funds that may not be needed; and (2) funding balances remaining from prior years, carryover balances, that may be available to reduce the FY 1998 funding requests.

GAO noted that: (1) GAO questioned about $400 million in funding requested for FY 1998 that may not be needed or is based on questionable justifications; (2) specifically, the Environmental Management (EM) program's FY 1998 privatization request included $47.4 million in funding for five projects that is not needed; (3) in addition, the justification for funding other privatization projects was questionable because: (a) eight projects worth $225.1 million had projected cost savings based on very preliminary assumptions; and (b) three projects worth $44.4 million were not required by any existing compliance agreements and could be postponed; (4) GAO also identified $34.1 million in FY 1998 requests for individual EM and Defense Program projects that may not be needed; (5) EM's $50-million Technology Deployment Initiative request for FY 1998 is not based on any detailed study of project needs; (6) DOE's major program areas may have $1.1 billion in potentially available carryover balances for operating and capital equipment funding at the beginning of FY 1998; (7) also, EM has $19 million in potentially available carryover balances from construction line item funding; (8) it is important to stress that the $1.1 billion represents only a starting point from which to identify the amount they could actually be used to offset DOE's budget; and (9) potentially available carryover balances in FY 1998 may, in part, be a result of DOE's Strategic Alignment and Downsizing Initiative, which realized abut $223 million of additional savings above its planned savings for FY 1996.

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