In response to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Department of Energy's (DOE) development and implementation of the Economic Regulatory Administration's (ERA) rule amending the recordkeeping requirements for the oil industry to determine whether DOE: (1) risked the loss of records needed to resolve alleged violations by issuing the rule in January 1985; and (2) had an adequate basis for selecting June 30, 1985, as the cut-off date for certain firms to retain their records. GAO also reviewed one oil producer's efforts to have DOE significantly reduce the oil industry's recordkeeping burden, specifically whether correspondence between executive branch officials and DOE should have been included in the public file.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Department of Energy||1. To ensure that the records still needed for the ERA enforcement program are being retained by the oil firms, the Secretary of Energy should direct the Administrator, ERA, to determine which of the 19 third-party firms that did not receive notification letters still need to retain records, and appropriately notify those firms.|
|Economic Regulatory Administration||2. The Administrator, ERA, should determine whether the 80 letters to the third-party firms, whose letters were not adequately supported by ERA documentation, were accurate. If the letters were not accurate, the firms should be notified of the correct recordkeeping requirements.|
|Department of Energy||3. To help ensure that all relevant records are being retained by the oil firms, the Secretary of Energy should direct the Administrator, ERA, to determine which of the firms that were not notified of their recordkeeping status still need to retain their records, and resume efforts to locate and inform the firms accordingly.|