(a)(1) There shall be an office in the Commission to be known as the Office of Public Participation (hereinafter in this section referred to as the "Office").
(2)(A) The Office shall be administered by a Director. The Director shall be appointed by the Chairman with the approval of the Commission. The Director may be removed during his term of office by the Chairman, with the approval of the Commission, only for inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office.
(B) The term of office of the Director shall be 4 years. The Director shall be responsible for the discharge of the functions and duties of the Office. He shall be appointed and compensated at a rate not in excess of the maximum rate prescribed for GS–18 of the General Schedule under section 5332 of title 5.
(3) The Director may appoint, and assign the duties of, employees of such Office, and with the concurrence of the Commission he may fix the compensation of such employees and procure temporary and intermittent services to the same extent as is authorized under section 3109 of title 5.
(b)(1) The Director shall coordinate assistance to the public with respect to authorities exercised by the Commission. The Director shall also coordinate assistance available to persons intervening or participating or proposing to intervene or participate in proceedings before the Commission.
(2) The Commission may, under rules promulgated by it, provide compensation for reasonable attorney's fees, expert witness fees, and other costs of intervening or participating in any proceeding before the Commission to any person whose intervention or participation substantially contributed to the approval, in whole or in part, of a position advocated by such person. Such compensation may be paid only if the Commission has determined that—
(A) the proceeding is significant, and
(B) such person's intervention or participation in such proceeding without receipt of compensation constitutes a significant financial hardship to him.
(3) Nothing in this subsection affects or restricts any rights of any intervenor or participant under any other applicable law or rule of law.
(4) There are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary of Energy to be used by the Office for purposes of compensation of persons under the provisions of this subsection not to exceed $500,000 for the fiscal year 1978, not to exceed $2,000,000 for the fiscal year 1979, not to exceed $2,200,000 for the fiscal year 1980, and not to exceed $2,400,000 for the fiscal year 1981.
(June 10, 1920, ch. 285, pt. III, §319, as added Pub. L. 95–617, title II, §212, Nov. 9, 1978, 92 Stat. 3148.)
References in laws to the rates of pay for GS–16, 17, or 18, or to maximum rates of pay under the General Schedule, to be considered references to rates payable under specified sections of Title 5, Government Organization and Employees, see section 529 [title I, §101(c)(1)] of Pub. L. 101–509, set out in a note under section 5376 of Title 5.