Subject: Corns of En gineers and Bureau of Reclamation: Information on Potential Budgetarv Reductions for Fiscal Year 1998

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1 GAO United States Genera Accounting Office Washington, D.C Resources, Community, and Economic Deveopment Division B Apri 25, 1997 The Honorabe Pete V. Domenici Chairman The Honorabe Harry Reid Ranking Minority Member Subcommittee on Energy and Water Deveopment Committee on Appropriations United States Senate The Honorabe Joseph M. McDade Chairman The Honorabe Vie Fazio Ranking Minority Member Subcommittee on Energy and Water Deveopment Committee on Appropriations House of Representatives Subject: Corns of En gineers and Bureau of Recamation: Information on Potentia Budgetarv Reductions for Fisca Year 1998 As requested, we are providing the information (see enc. I) that we discussed with your offices on Apri 11, 1997, about our examination of certain budget accounts of the Department of the Army s Corps of Engineers (Civi Programs) and the Department of the Interior s Bureau of Recamation. The Congress funds the activities of both agencies through the Energy and Water Deveopment Appropriations. The information we are providing incudes trends in the agencies carryover baances and potentia reductions to their fisca year 1998 funding requests to refect the carryover baances expected at _ GAOLRCED R Budget Issues

2 B ,; the end of fisca year In addition, we identified funds that the Corps had avaiabe in the genera expense account to impement its pan to restructure division offices. At the Bureau, we identified funds for a new initiative (Bay-Deta Ecosystem Restoration) for which the estimated fisca year 1998 outays are expected to be ess than the request for budget authority. The Corps has significanty reduced its unobigated carryover baances. For exampe, between fisca year 1994 and the end of fisca year 1996, the Corps reduced unobigated carryover baances in the construction genera account from $538 miion to about $181 miion. A number of factors contributed to the reductions experienced by the Corps, incuding the periodic review of estimated fisca year obigations and the abiity to reprogram funds. However, we identified a tota of amost $5.3 miion in unobigated carryover baances in the genera investigations and construction genera accounts that coud potentiay be used to reduce the Corps fisca year 1998 funding request. The unobigated baances resuted in part because the Corps determined that some projects were not feasibe or because the Corps was not abe to identify nonfedera sponsors to share the costs of the projects. On Apri 1, 1997, the Corps impemented a pan to reorganize its division offices. Athough the Corps has at east $4.25 miion avaiabe to impement the restructuring pan, it wi not know for severa months how much impementing the pan wi cost. Simiary, the Bureau has taken various actions to manage its carryover baances, incuding incorporating such baances into budget requests and periodicay reviewing and transferring funds among projects. Nevertheess, we identified $25.1 miion in carryover baances and $93.3 miion in funding from Bay-Deta that coud potentiay be used to reduce the Bureau s fisca year 1998 funding request. The potentia reductions resuted partiay because projects were deayed for environmenta studies and other reasons. For exampe, the Bureau has not competed the environmenta impact statement for one project. In another case, the Bureau set up a reserve to purchase water during times of drought; however, the Congress has never been informed that funds woud be used for this purpose. For the purposes of this report, we define carryover baances as the tota of ending unobigated baances and undeivered orders. Undeivered orders are goods and services that have been ordered and obigated but that have not been received. 2 GAO/RCED R Budget Issues

3 B AGENCY COMMENTS We provided a draft of this report to the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civi Works) and Department of the Interior for their review and comment. In commenting on the draft, the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civi Works); the Commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; the Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Water and Science; and the Bureau s Chief, Program Budget and Liaison Group, agreed with the accuracy of the information but offered carifications of the status and funding of certain projects. In addition, the Staff to the Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Water and Science disagreed with the $118.4 miion in potentia fisca year 1998 budget reductions that we identified for the Bureau. The Fisca Programs Management Officer, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civi Works; Chief, Budget and Programs Division; Chief, Program Formuation and Evauation Branch; and other Corps officias agreed that about $5.3 miion for four genera investigations and five construction genera projects was no onger needed or unikey to be spent. They noted, however, that since the Congress had earmarked funds for the nine projects, the agency cannot use the funds for other purposes unti the Congress authorizes it to do so. Concerning the division restructuring pan, Corps officias said that they do not expect to receive impementation pans from the division offices unti May 2, Athough the Corps wi not have cost and savings information on the restructuring unti after it receives the division offices inputs subsequent to impementing the pan, these of%&& said that they expect the costs to be reativey minor and the savings to be very itte, since savings had been achieved through the personne reductions, office consoidations, and streamining that occurred over the ast severa fisca years. They aso said that at east $4.25 miion woud be avaiabe to impement the restructuring pan and that additiona costs, if any, wi be financed fiorn avaiabe genera expenses account funds. They added that the Corps does not expect to request any additiona funds for restructuring. The Staff to the Assistant Secretary of Interior for Water and Science; the Chief, Program Budget and Liaison Group, and other departmenta and Bureau officias disagreed with the potentia fisca year 1998 reductions that we identified. They took the position that a of the funds identified in our five proposas (1) woud be either expended on other activities within the project or transferred to other projects or (2) were necessary for the ong-term funding of the projects. In particuar, they noted that athough the Congress 3 GAOLRCED R Budget Issues

4 B :. may not have specificay earmarked funds appropriated from the Centra Vaey Project Restoration Fund to set up a reserve to purchase water during times of drought, the reserve fas within the scope of what the Bureau can use the funds for and represents good management of avaiabe resources. Jn addition, they said the fact that the estimated outays from the Bay-Deta account in fisca year 1998 are ess than the fisca year 1998 request for budget authority is not a reason to provide ess than the requested amount because, for exampe, outays frequenty can occur months or years after the obigation of budget authority, particuary in accounts ike the one for Bay-Deta that primariy finance construction and and acquisition. Athough the Bureau officias with whom we met beieve the agency can obigate the $118.4 miion in fisca year 1998, utimatey the Congress wi decide how the Bureau shoud use these funds. At the Corps, we obtained information on aggregate and project-specific carryover baances and expenditures within the genera investigations and construction genera accounts as we as the agency s panned division restructuring to be funded from the genera expenses account. At Interior, we obtained information on carryover baances and expenditures for projects/activities within the Bureau s construction and operation and maintenance accounts, the Sma Recamation Projects oan program, the Centra Vaey Project Restoration Fund, and the Caifornia Bay-Deta Ecosystem Restoration program as we as withm Interior s Centra Utah project. Due to time constraints, we did not deveop aggregate information on these carryover baances and expenditures. We performed our work from October 1996 through March 1997 in accordance with generay accepted government auditing standards. We are sending copies of this report to the Secretary of the Army; the Chief, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; the Secretary of the Interior; the Commissioner of the Bureau of Recamation; the appropriate congressiona committees; and other interested parties. We wi make copies avaiabe to others upon request GAO/RCED R Budget Issues

5 B If you or your staff have any questions about this report, pease c&u me at (202) Major contributors to this report were Aan Bennett, Brian Eddington, Mary Ann K~.~sicky, and Jonathan Kusmik. Encosure GAO/RCED R Budget Issues

6 PRESENTAmON SLIDES ~~40 Resources, Community, and Economic Deveopment Division CORPS OF ENGINEERS AND BUREAU OF RECLAMATION Information on Potentia Budgetary Reductions for Fisca Year GAO/RCED R Budget Issues

7 MO Corps of Engineers Scope Genera Investigations account Construction Genera account Genera Expenses account (Division Restructuring Pan ony) 7 GAOLRCED R Budget Issues

8 - w Corps of Engineers Corps has reduced unobigated carryover baances between fisca year 1994 and the end of fisca year Genera Investigations from amost $60 miion to about $20 miion Construction Genera from $538 miion to about $181 miion 8 GAO/RCED R Budget Issues :.

9 GM Corps of Engineers Trends in Carryover, Costs, and Budget Authority (BA) for Genera Investigations Account $ in (000) 250,000 - Trends in Carryover, Costs, and Budget Authority (BA) for Construction Genera Account $ in (000) r I N94 N95 N96 -N94 N95 - Unobigated baance Undeivered orders H Unobigated baance Undeivered orders # Costs (accrued expenditures) # Costs (accrued expenditures) m New BA M New %A N96 %cudes new budget authority from the Inand Waterways Trust Fund: N94-$134,446, N95-$54,509. and N96-$56, GAO/RCED R Budget Issues

10 w Corps of Engineers Potentiay excess funds Genera investigations - 4 projects totaing $2.4 miion Construction Genera - 5 projects totaing $2.9 miion A these funds are earmarked for specific projects 10 GAOLRCED R Budget Issues

11 ENCLOSTJRE I GM Corps of Engineers Division Reorganization Pan Fisca year 1998 budget request based on earier pan; justification based on current pan Cost and savings information wi not be avaiabe unti after impementation At east $4.25 miion avaiabe to impement pan 11 GAOLRCED R Budget Issues

12 w Bureau of Recamation Scope: Seected activities from the Construction account Operation and Maintenance account Centra Vaey Project Restoration Fund Sma Recamation Projects Loan program Caifornia Bay-Deta Ecosystem Restoration program Centra Utah project (Interior) 12 GAO/RCED R Budget Issues

13 w Bureau of Recamation Bureau has taken various actions to manage its carryover baances: Incorporate such baances in budget request Periodicay review projects impementation/expenditures transfer excess funds and 13 GAO/RCED R Budget Issues

14 w Bureau of Recamation Bureau justified most of the fisca year 1996 carryover baances that we reviewed Nevertheess, reductions totaing $118.4 miion coud be appied to the fisca year 1998 budget request 14 GAO/RCED R Budget Issues

15 G+U Bureau of Recamation Construction $3.9 miion from the San Gabrie Basin project $2.8 miion from the Animas LaPIata project Centra Vaey Project Restoration Fund $14 miion aocated for a Water Acquisition Reserve within this fund 15 GAO/RCED R Budget Issues

16 GA0 Bureau of Recamation Sma Recamation Projects oans $4.4 miion from the Tohono O Odham Nation--Schuk Toak oan Bay-Deta Ecosystem Restoration $93.3 miion (140546) 16 GAO/RCED R Budget Issues

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