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Natural Resources and Environment (11 - 20 of 3,475 items)
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...
Renewable Fuel Standard: Low Expected Production Volumes Make It Unlikely That Advanced Biofuels Can Meet Increasing Targets
GAO-17-108: Published: Nov 28, 2016. Publicly Released: Nov 28, 2016.
The federal government has supported research and development (R&D) related to advanced biofuels through direct research or grants, and the focus is shifting away from cellulosic ethanol and toward drop-in biofuels. Unlike corn starch-based or cellulosic ethanol, drop-in fuels such as renewable gasoline are fully compatible with existing infrastructure, such as vehicle engines and distribution pip...
Renewable Fuel Standard: Program Unlikely to Meet Its Targets for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions
GAO-17-94: Published: Nov 28, 2016. Publicly Released: Nov 28, 2016.
It is unlikely that the goals of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)—reduce greenhouse gas emissions and expand the nation's renewable fuels sector—will be met as envisioned because there is limited production of advanced biofuels to be blended into domestic transportation fuels and limited potential for expanded production by 2022. Advanced biofuels achieve greater greenhouse gas reductions tha...
Hazardous Materials Rail Shipments: Emergency Responders Receive Support, but DOT Could Improve Oversight of Information Sharing
GAO-17-91: Published: Nov 17, 2016. Publicly Released: Nov 17, 2016.
Emergency planners from most of the 25 selected counties in 17 states that GAO surveyed reported that training for responders and information about rail shipments of hazardous materials affect preparedness. Emergency planners from almost all of the selected counties reported that a majority of the emergency response personnel, such as fire fighters, who arrive first at an accident receive basic tr...
Oil and Gas Oversight: Interior Has Taken Steps to Address Staff Hiring, Retention, and Training but Needs a More Evaluative and Collaborative Approach
GAO-16-742: Published: Sep 29, 2016. Publicly Released: Oct 31, 2016.
The Department of the Interior has taken steps to resolve its hiring and retention challenges for key staff engaged in oil and gas activities, but it has not evaluated the effectiveness of its efforts and has missed opportunities to collaborate within the department for resolving these challenges. Specifically, Interior has taken steps to address two underlying factors—lower salaries and a lengt...