Interstate Compacts: An Overview of the Structure and Governance of Environment and Natural Resource Compacts

GAO-07-519 Published: Apr 03, 2007. Publicly Released: May 03, 2007.
Jump To:
Skip to Highlights

Interstate compacts are legal agreements between states that are designed to resolve concerns that transcend state lines, such as allocating interstate waters. While some compacts assign their administration to existing state agencies, compacts requiring greater coordination among states may establish an interstate agency, typically called a commission, to administer their provisions. Congress must give its consent to compacts that affect the balance of power between the states and the federal government. An example of a congressionally approved environment and natural resource compact is the Tahoe Regional Planning Compact, which created the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) to administer its provisions. For such compacts, GAO determined (1) the organizational structures, powers and authorities, and dispute resolution and public accountability mechanisms; (2) the extent to which concerns have been raised about the structure and governance of compacts that have commissions; and (3) how the structure and governance of TRPA compares to those of other similar compact commissions. GAO reviewed 59 congressionally approved compacts and surveyed those 45 that had commissions.

Full Report