Department of Energy

Department of Energy in the United States

Introduction to Department of Energy

The Department of Energy (DOE) is the executive department of the U.S. government, created by Congress in 1977. The DOE is administered by a secretary who is appointed by the president, with the approval of the Senate, and who is a member of the cabinet.” (1)

Legal Materials

The DOE website posts information about the agency and about energy use as it relates to the U.S. — energy prices, national security, scientific research, etc. The Department’s SciTech Connect database contains DOE sponsored scientific and technical reports, as well as citations and links to energy-related journal articles.

For questions or to get DOE materials, call the DOE’s Office of Public Inquiries (202-586-5575). For help with hard-to-find materials, call the DOE’s library (212-586-4848).

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission: FERC is an independent agency withing DOE. Among other things, FERC regulates the transmission of electricity, oil and gas in the U.S. It was created on October 1, 1977 to replace the former Federal Power Commission (FPC).

The FERC website posts information about the agency, docket sheets for FERC cases, the Federal laws that FERC implements and the regulations FERC has created (

FERC decisions are available on Lexis (ENERGY;FERC) and Westlaw (FEN-FERC) back to January 1977. You can find judicial opinions citing to FERC decisions using Shepard’s on Lexis or KeyCite on Westlaw.

FERC General Counsel Opinions are available on Lexis back to November 1987 (ENERGY;FERCGC) and on Westlaw back to 1980 (FEN-FERCGC).

Documents filed in FERC cases, Annual Reports and other documents filed with FERC are available through the eLibrary (

For current awareness, LegalEase sends out daily (and twice-daily) emails with FERC Filings, Orders, etc.

Federal Power Commission: The Federal Power Commission was replaced by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in 1977. FPC Reports from 1931 to 1977 are available on Lexis (ENERGY;FPC) and Westlaw (FEN-FERC).

Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability: Coal companies are sometimes required to file “Self-Certifications” of their coal capacity under the Powerplant and Industrial Fuel Use Act. The related regulations are 10 CFR 501.60 and 501.61. Filings are made with the Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability. The DOE then publishes a notice of the filing in the Federal Register but does not publish the filing itself. To get filings, contact the person listed on the Federal Register notice of a recent filing.


The Department of Energy’s mission is to advance the national, economic, and energy
security of the United States; to promote scientific and technological innovation in
support of that mission; and to ensure the environmental cleanup of the national
nuclear weapons complex.

The Department of Energy (DOE) was established by the Department of Energy
Organization Act (42 U.S.C. 7131), effective October 1, 1977, pursuant to
Executive Order 12009 of September 13, 1977. The act consolidated the
major Federal energy functions into one Cabinet-level Department


The Secretary decides major energy policy and planning issues;
acts as the principal spokesperson for the Department; and ensures the
effective communication and working relationships with Federal, State, local,
and tribal governments and the public. The Secretary is the principal adviser to
the President on energy policies, plans, and programs.

Intelligence and Counterintelligence

The Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence ensures that all
departmental intelligence information requirements are met and that the
Department’s technical, analytical, and research expertise is made available
to support U.S. intelligence efforts. The Office develops and implements
programs to identify, neutralize, and deter foreign government or industrial
intelligence activities directed at or involving Department programs,
personnel, facilities, technologies, classi?ed information, and sensitive
information. The Office ensures effective use of the U.S. Government’s
intelligence apparatus in support of DOE’s need for information on foreign
energy situations and hostile threats, information on global nuclear weapons
development, nonproliferation, and foreign hydrocarbon, nuclear, and other energy production and consumption. The Office formulates all DOE intelligence and counterintelligence policy and
coordinates all investigative matters with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Health, Safety and Security

The Office of Health, Safety, and Security develops policies to protect national security
and other critical assets entrusted to the Department of Energy. It also manages
security operations for departmental facilities in the national capital area.

Energy Information Administration

The Energy Information Administration is responsible
for collecting, processing, publishing, and distributing data in the areas of energy
resource reserves, energy production, demand, consumption, distribution,
and technology. It performs analyses of energy data to assist government and
nongovernment users in understanding energy trends.

Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability

The Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability leads a
national effort to modernize and expand America’s electricity delivery system. The
Office is responsible for the enhanced security and reliability of the energy
infrastructure and facilitates the recovery from disruptions to energy supply.

Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy

The Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA–E) works
to overcome the long-term and highrisk challenges in the development of
energy technologies. ARPA–E creates and implements research and development
initiatives to enhance the economic security of the United States through the
development of energy technologies that reduce energy imports, improve energy
ef?ciency, and reduce energy-related emissions. Additionally, ARPA–E ensures
that the United States maintains global leadership in developing and deploying
advanced energy technologies.

Office of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

The Office of the American Recovery and Reinvestment
Act promotes economic recovery by assisting individuals, organizations,
and businesses most impacted by the recession. Working to foster job
creation and preservation, the Office strengthens the economy by investing
in technological advances in science, health, transportation, environmental protection, and other infrastructure.

This assistance provides long-term economic bene?ts and stabilizes State and local
government budgets, preventing tax increases and reductions in essential

Nuclear Nonproliferation

The Office of the Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation directs the development of the Department’s policy, plans, procedures, and research and development activities relating to
arms control, nonproliferation, export controls, international nuclear safety and
safeguard, and surplus ?ssile materials inventories elimination activities.

Environmental Quality Programs

Civilian Radioactive Waste Management

The Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management is responsible for
implementation of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, as amended (42
U.S.C. 10101 et seq.), which provides for the development of a permanent, safe
geologic repository for disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive

Environmental Management

The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management manages
safe cleanup and closure of sites and facilities; directs a safe and effective
waste management program, including storage and disposal of transuranic and
mixed low- and high-level waste; and develops and implements an applied
research program to provide innovative technologies that yield permanent
cleanup solutions at reduced costs.

Legacy Management

The Office of Legacy Management manages the Department’s post-closure responsibilities
and ensures the future protection of human health and the environment. The
Office has control and custody of legacy land, structures, and facilities and is
responsible for maintaining them at levels suitable for long-term use.

Science Program

The Office of Science supports basic research that underpins DOE missions
in national security, energy, and environment; constructs and operates
large scienti?c facilities for the U.S. scienti?c community; and provides the
infrastructure support for 10 national laboratories and an integrated support
center ( index.htm). In terms of basic research,
the Office of Science provides over 40 percent of Federal support to the
physical sciences (including 90 percent of Federal support for high energy and
nuclear physics), the sole support to sub-?elds of national importance, such
as nuclear medicine, heavy element chemistry, and magnetic fusion, and
support for the research of scientists and graduate students located in universities
throughout the Nation. Office of Science support for major scienti?c user facilities,
including accelerators, synchrotron light sources, and neutron sources, means that
more than 18,000 scientists per year are able to use these state-of-the-art facilities
to conduct research in a wide range of ?elds, including biology, medicine, and

Operations and Field Offices

The vast majority of the Department’s energy and physical research and
development, environmental restoration, and waste management activities
are carried out by contractors who operate Government-owned facilities.
Management and administration of Government-owned, contractoroperated
facility contracts are the major responsibility of the Department’s ?ve
operations of?ces and three ?eld of?ces. Department operations of?ces provide
a formal link between Department headquarters and the ?eld laboratories
and other operating facilities. They also manage programs and projects
as assigned from lead headquarters program of?ces. Routine management
guidance, coordination, oversight of the operations, ?eld and site of?ces (www., and daily speci?c program direction for
the operations of?ces is provided by the appropriate assistant secretary, of?ce director, or program of?cer.

Power Administrations

The marketing and transmission of electric power produced at Federal
hydroelectric projects and reservoirs is carried out by the Department’s four
Power Administrations. Management oversight of the Power Administrations is
the responsibility of the Deputy Secretary.

Bonneville Power Administration

The Administration markets power produced by the Federal Columbia River Power
System at the lowest rates, consistent with sound business practices, and gives
preference to public entities. In addition, the Administration is
responsible for energy conservation, renewable resource development,
and ?sh and wildlife enhancement under the provisions of the Paci?c
Northwest Electric Power Planning and Conservation Act of 1980 (16 U.S.C. 839

Southeastern Power Administration

The Administration is responsible for the transmission and disposition of surplus
electric power and energy generated at reservoir projects in the States of West
Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama,
Mississippi, Tennessee, and Kentucky. The Administration sets the lowest
possible rates to consumers, consistent with sound business principles, and gives
preference in the sale of such power and energy to public bodies and cooperatives.

Southwestern Power Administration

The Administration is responsible for the sale and disposition of electric power and
energy in the States of Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, and

The Administration transmits and disposes of the electric power and energy
generated at Federal reservoir projects, supplemented by power purchased
from public and private utilities, in such a manner as to encourage the most
widespread and economical use. The Administration sets the lowest possible
rates to consumers, consistent with sound business principles, and gives preference
in the sale of power and energy to public bodies and cooperatives.

The Administration also conducts and participates in the comprehensive
planning of water resource development in the Southwest.

Western Area Power Administration
The Administration is responsible for the Federal electric power marketing
and transmission functions in 15 Central and Western States, encompassing a
geographic area of 1.3 million square miles. The Administration sells power
to cooperatives, municipalities, public utility districts, private utilities, Federal
and State agencies, and irrigation districts. The wholesale power customers,
in turn, provide service to millions of retail consumers in the States of Arizona,
California, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada,
New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming.
The Administration is responsible for the operation and maintenance of
transmission lines, substations, and various auxiliary power facilities in the
aforementioned geographic area and also for planning, construction, and
operation and maintenance of additional Federal transmission facilities that may be
authorized in the future.

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

See the separate entry for Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Finding the law: Department of Energy in the U.S. Code

A collection of general and permanent laws relating to department of energy, passed by the United States Congress, are organized by subject matter arrangements in the United States Code (U.S.C.; this label examines department of energy topics), to make them easy to use (usually, organized by legal areas into Titles, Chapters and Sections). The platform provides introductory material to the U.S. Code, and cross references to case law. View the U.S. Code’s table of contents here.


See Also


Notes and References

In this Section

Federal Departments, Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce, Department of Defense (including Department of Defense Purpose, Department of Defense Organization, Department of Defense Liaison of Command and Department of Defense Supporting Agencies), Department of Education, Department of Energy (including Department of Energy Purpose, Department of Energy Organization and Department of Energy Research and Development), Department of Health and Human Services (including Department of Health and Human Services History and Department of Health and Human Services Agencies and Services), Department of Homeland Security (including Department of Homeland Security Organization and Functions, Department of Homeland Security Origins and Department of Homeland Security Supporting Agencies), Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Justice (including Department of Justice Functions, Department of Justice Structure and Department of Justice Associated Agencies), Department of Labor, Department of National Defence, Department of State (including Department of State Administration and Department of State Bureaus), Department of the Air Force, Department of the Army, Department of the Interior (including Department of the Interior Functions and Department of the Interior Principal Agencies), Department of the Navy, Department of the Treasury, Department of Transportation, Department of Veterans Affairs (including the Department of Veterans Affairs Service Categories, Department of Veterans Affairs Benefits Available and GI Bill of Rights) and Department of War.

Department of Energy: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

Federal Primary Materials

The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Department of Energy. This part provides references, in relation to Department of Energy, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

Federal primary materials about Department of Energy by content types:

Laws and Regulations

US Constitution
Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

Federal Case Law and Court Materials

U.S. Courts of Appeals
United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

Presidential Materials

Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

Executive Materials

Federal Legislative History Materials

Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Department of Energy and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Department of Energy or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

State Administrative Materials and Resources

State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Department of Energy and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Department of Energy. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Department of Energy should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Department of Energy when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

Tools and Forms

Law in Other Regions

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