Through enactment of the Department of Energy Organization Act of 1977, the U.S. government placed all federal energy agencies and programs under the control of a single department, the Department of Energy (DOE). (An exception is the regulation of nuclear energy, which is done through the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.) The DOE assumed the responsibilities of the Federal Energy Administration, the Energy Research and Development Administration, the Federal Power Commission, and parts and programs of several other agencies including the nuclear weapons program.
The Act instructed the DOE to work closely with other agencies, especially those that establish pollution and power plant standards such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Bureau of Mines, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). It also directed the DOE to research and develop new technologies and methods within the energy field, while upholding ecological and environmental standards. The DOE is required to submit a National Energy Policy Plan biennially, detailing all aspects of energy in the nation's society. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) was established within the DOE. Because of its position within the DOE, the Secretary of Energy has the right to propose rules and regulations to FERC; however, the Commission ulitmately has authority over any final action.