_ ., -._. -.. _..-..-.--- ..-..__.._..--...--- . ...___ I~- “ll.-“.” I Ini(,td St,a(,es Gtbnt~ral Accounting Office Ik port t,o t I&! Honorable *ul r GiO .Junes A. McClure, U.S. Senate _._... ~-_.-” . .l,l-. -- Ih’(‘t~Illfwr I!MO MINERAL REVENUES Funding for the Idaho Initiative Project ill111111 ll 142966 RELEASED RESTRICTED-- Not to be released outside the General Accounting Offh unless speclthlly approved by the Office of Congressional Relations. -- ~;Ao/H(:EI)-!~l-M) ‘iitI ‘hp, ,I ;~I I,11~, ““_“_“. “.l.l .._..-- -.-.. ..-.-- - .---..----.--.-._-.___ -- . -_..-_- ...II_-____. _.I United States GAO General Accounting Office Washington, D.C. 20648 Resources, Community, and Economic Development Division B-242 170 December 19,199O The Honorable James A. McClure United States Senate Dear Senator McClure: This report responds to your request that we trace fiscal year 1989 expenditures for certain mineral resource assessment studies, known as the Idaho Initiative, by the Department of the Interior’s U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).USGSroutinely conducts mineral resource assessments to determine the potential for discovering minerals in the United States, The USGSfiscal year 1989 appropriation included $24.5 million for min- eral resource assessment studies, of which $1.5 million was to be used for the first year of a $4.5 million, 3-year effort to conduct studies of roadless and undeveloped federal lands in Idaho. Because $500,000 of the $1.5 million was to be used by the state of Idaho’s Geological Survey, we limited the scope of our work to the $1 million to be spent by USGSfor the Idaho Initiative. The Office of Mineral Resources within USGS'Geologic Division conducts Accounting for Idaho a National Mineral Resource Assessment Program to identify areas Initiative Funds having significant mineral potential. The office allocates funds appro- priated for mineral resource assessments to its various branches on the basis of approved study plans. Because the appropriations act language did not require USGSto do otherwise, Idaho Initiative expenditures were not accounted for separately from other mineral resource assessment funds. Accordingly, we could not readily identify how all the funds intended for the Idaho Initiative were spent. We found, however, that uses developed study plans for spending these funds to conduct mineral resource assessments in Idaho, allocated these funds on the basis of these study plans, and issued or participated in producing several reports on work done under the plans indicating that the approved study plans were being implemented. An Office of Mineral Resources official coordinated the planning of Idaho Initiative studies and gathered study proposals from the Office’s branches. After deducting $250,000 of the Idaho Initiative funding for overhead expenses in accordance with USGSpolicy, the remaining $750,000 was allocated among Office of Mineral Resources branches along with other mineral resource assessment funds. When staff per- formed work relating to the Idaho Initiative, they charged their time and Page 1 GAO/RCED-91-50 Idaho Initiative Project B-242170 expenses to branch accounts set up for such things as technical support and scientific studies. Because Idaho Initiative funds were not accounted for separately, recon- structing how USGSspent the $1 million intended for the Idaho Initiative would be time-consuming and costly, resulting in, at best, only a rough estimate. Such an effort would require that all Office of Mineral Resources personnel be interviewed to estimate and document that por- tion of their work specifically related to the Idaho Initiative. Travel vouchers, time and attendance records, logs, notes, and documents pro- duced could only provide an estimate of the work done on the Idaho Initiative, and would still not provide an accurate accounting for the funds. To attempt to trace the expenditure of funds for the Idaho Initiative, we Scopeand interviewed USGSheadquarters and field office officials. We also Methodology reviewed legislative and agency documents relating to the Idaho Initia- tive, as well as USGSOffice of Mineral Resources accounting documents. Because funds for the Idaho Initiative were not separately accounted for, and attempting to reconstruct specifically how these funds were spent would, at best, only result in a rough estimate, we did not perform such work, as agreed with your office. We conducted our review from July to August 1990 in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. As requested, we did not obtain formal agency comments on this report, However, we discussed the report’s contents with USGSheadquarters officials, who concurred in the facts presented. Unless you publicly announce the contents of the report earlier, we plan no further distribution of this report until 30 days from the date of this letter. At that time, we will send copies to interested parties and make copies available to others upon request. Page 2 GAO/WED-91-50 Idaho Initiative Project IS242170 Please contact me at (202) 276-7766 if you or any of your staff have any questions concerning this report. Major contributors to this report are listed in appendix I. Sincerely yours, James Duffus III Director, Natural Resources Management Issues Page 3 GAO/RCED-9140 Idaho Initiative Project Appendix I Major Contributors to This Report Robert W. Wilson, Assistant Director Resources, Leonard W. Ellis, Evaluator-in-Charge Community,and Loren W. Setlow, Senior Geologist Economic DevelopmentDivision, Washington,DC. (MwA6!4) Page 4 GAO/RCED-91-60 Idaho Initiative Project . I, -- -..l-l.--.-.--- Orct~~ring Iufotmatt.ion ‘I’hcb first. fivcb copies of each (;A0 report. arc free. Additional copichs mv $2 each. Orders should tx: sent. to t,htt following addr(~ss, ilccompanied by a check or money order made out, t,o t.jrtb Suj)t’rin(.c~ndc~nt, of Docu meu1,s, when nc~c~ssary. Orders for JO0 or niorc c*opit?s Lo t)cBmailed t.o a single address arc ttisc*ount.cvt 25 j,ercenl,. 1I.S. Gvnc~r;~t Acc*ount.ing Offic*c I’. 0. Box 6015 (;;Cf,hcrst)urg, M I) 20X77 Orders may also tbc*j~taced by catting (202) 275K241.
Mineral Revenues: Funding for the Idaho Initiative Project
Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1990-12-19.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)