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Natural Resources and Environment (11 - 20 of 3,480 items)
Nuclear Waste: Benefits and Costs Should Be Better Understood Before DOE Commits to a Separate Repository for Defense Waste
GAO-17-174: Published: Jan 31, 2017. Publicly Released: Jan 31, 2017.
The information that the Department of Energy (DOE) provided to the President about whether a separate defense waste repository was required did not quantify cited benefits, when possible, show how these benefits could be achieved, or show the risks if certain benefits could not be realized as planned. In the information provided to the President, DOE stated that separate repositories for defense...
Endangered Species Act: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's American Burying Beetle Conservation Efforts
GAO-17-154: Published: Dec 22, 2016. Publicly Released: Jan 23, 2017.
To address the potential adverse impacts of construction and other projects on the American burying beetle (ABB) and its habitat, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), within the Department of the Interior, first focuses on avoidance and minimization approaches. For example, to avoid impacts on ABB habitat, FWS may suggest that project proponents—public and private entities—relocate the pr...
Military Base Realignments and Closures: DOD Has Improved Environmental Cleanup Reporting but Should Obtain and Share More Information
GAO-17-151: Published: Jan 19, 2017. Publicly Released: Jan 19, 2017.
The Department of Defense (DOD) has captured and reported more comprehensive cost information in its environmental cost reporting for installations closed under the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process since GAO last reported on the issue in 2007. For example, GAO reported in 2007 that the costs DOD reported for environmental cleanup for installations closed under the 2005 BRAC round were n...
Financial Assurances for Reclamation: Federal Regulations and Policies for Selected Mining and Energy Development Activities
GAO-17-207R: Published: Dec 16, 2016. Publicly Released: Jan 17, 2017.
Federal requirements for financial assurances, such as cash or bonds that companies may be required to provide to cover the cost of reclaiming lands affected by development, are broadly similar for surface coal mining, hardrock mining, onshore oil and gas extraction, and wind and solar energy development, but some differences exist. Federal laws, regulations, and policies govern various aspects of...
Grants Management: Selected Agencies Should Clarify Merit-Based Award Criteria and Provide Guidance for Reviewing Potentially Duplicative Awards
GAO-17-113: Published: Jan 12, 2017. Publicly Released: Jan 12, 2017.
GAO found that all 6 selected subagencies in the Departments of the Interior (Interior), Health and Human Services (HHS), and Agriculture (USDA) applied a risk assessment review before making final grant award decisions for the 19 grant programs examined, as required by the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Fed...
National Park Service: Process Exists for Prioritizing Asset Maintenance Decisions, but Evaluation Could Improve Efforts
GAO-17-136: Published: Dec 13, 2016. Publicly Released: Jan 12, 2017.
In fiscal years 2006 through 2015, the Department of the Interior's National Park Service (Park Service) allocated, on average, $1.16 billion annually to maintain assets. In fiscal year 2015, allocations to maintenance accounted for about one-third (or $1.08 billion) of the agency's total funding of $3.3 billion. The largest portion of maintenance funds in fiscal year 2015 was allocated to facilit...
Climate Change: Improved Federal Coordination Could Facilitate Use of Forward-Looking Climate Information in Design Standards, Building Codes, and Certifications
GAO-17-3: Published: Nov 30, 2016. Publicly Released: Jan 3, 2017.
Selected standards-developing organizations generally have not used forward-looking climate information—such as projected rainfall rates—in design standards, building codes, and voluntary certifications and instead have relied on historical observations. Further, some organizations periodically update climate information in standards, codes, and certifications, but others do not. Some standard...
Declining Resources: Selected Agencies Took Steps to Minimize Effects on Mission but Opportunities Exist for Additional Action
GAO-17-79: Published: Dec 20, 2016. Publicly Released: Dec 20, 2016.
The three selected agencies GAO reviewed for this report—the Employment and Training Administration (ETA), Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—each took a number of different approaches to manage declining resources that aligned with the three key themes outlined in GAO's framework. For example:Top Management Should Lead Efforts to Ma...
Army Corps of Engineers: Better Guidance Could Improve Corps' Information on Water Resources Projects Undertaken by Nonfederal Sponsors
GAO-17-97: Published: Dec 6, 2016. Publicly Released: Dec 6, 2016.
Authorities that allow nonfederal sponsors to undertake federal water resources projects, including feasibility studies and construction projects, have been included in various federal statutes since 1968. Until June 2014, when Congress enacted the Water Resources Reform and Development Act, five federal statutory authorities allowed nonfederal sponsors to undertake studies or construction of fede...
Renewable Fuel Standard: Program Unlikely to Meet Production or Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets
GAO-17-264T: Published: Dec 1, 2016. Publicly Released: Dec 1, 2016.
It is unlikely that the goals of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)—to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and expand the nation's renewable fuels sector while reducing reliance on imported oil—will be met as envisioned because there is limited production of advanced biofuels and limited potential for expanded production by 2022. Advanced biofuels, such as cellulosic ethanol and biomass-based diese...