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Natural Resources and Environment (81 - 90 of 3,477 items)
Hazardous Waste Cleanup: Numbers of Contaminated Federal Sites, Estimated Costs, and EPA's Oversight Role
GAO-15-830T: Published: Sep 11, 2015. Publicly Released: Sep 11, 2015.
The Departments of Agriculture (USDA), the Interior, Defense (DOD), and Energy (DOE) have identified thousands of contaminated and potentially contaminated sites on land they manage but do not have a complete inventory of sites, in particular, for abandoned mines. GAO reported in January 2015 that USDA had identified 1,491 contaminated sites and many potentially contaminated sites. However, USDA d...
Technology Assessment: Water in the Energy Sector: Reducing Freshwater Use in Hydraulic Fracturing and Thermoelectric Power Plant Cooling
GAO-15-545: Published: Aug 7, 2015. Publicly Released: Sep 8, 2015.
Waterless and water-efficient fracturing technologies such as gas-based fracturing or foams have been used to reduce the use of freshwater in hydraulic fracturing operations, although the main benefit is enhanced hydrocarbon recovery. The geologic formation characteristics of shale plays largely determine their use. According to experts GAO consulted, hydraulic fracturing operators are managing th...
SEC Conflict Minerals Rule: Initial Disclosures Indicate Most Companies Were Unable to Determine the Source of Their Conflict Minerals
GAO-15-561: Published: Aug 18, 2015. Publicly Released: Aug 18, 2015.
According to a generalizable sample GAO reviewed, company disclosures filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for the first time in 2014 in response to the SEC conflict minerals disclosure rule indicated that most companies were unable to determine the source of their conflict minerals. Companies that filed disclosures used one or more of the four “conflict minerals”—tantalum...
State Revolving Funds: Improved Financial Indicators Could Strengthen EPA Oversight
GAO-15-567: Published: Aug 5, 2015. Publicly Released: Aug 5, 2015.
Multiple factors can limit states' abilities to sustain their Clean Water and Drinking Water state revolving funds (SRF), according to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials, nine experts, and officials in the 21 states GAO reviewed. Under the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act, as amended, states are to create and maintain revolving funds to be eligible for federal grants. T...
Environmental Litigation: Information on Cases against EPA and FWS and on Deadline Suits on EPA Rulemaking
GAO-15-803T: Published: Aug 4, 2015. Publicly Released: Aug 4, 2015.
As GAO reported in August 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) faces legal challenges implementing the nation's key environmental laws. The number of environmental litigation cases brought against EPA each year for fiscal years 1995 through 2010 varied with no discernible trend. Data available from the Department of Justice, the Department of the Treasury, and EPA show that the costs as...
Great Lakes Restoration Initiative: Improved Data Collection and Reporting Would Enhance Oversight
GAO-15-526: Published: Jul 21, 2015. Publicly Released: Jul 30, 2015.
Nearly all of the $1.68 billion of federal funds made available for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) for fiscal years 2010 through 2014 had been allocated as of January 2015. Of the $1.66 billion allocated, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the other Task Force agencies expended $1.15 billion for 2,123 projects (see fig.). Agencies can liquidate and adjust obligations for...
Bureau of Land Management: Improvements Needed in Internal Controls over Mining Law Administration Program Funds
GAO-15-562: Published: Jul 23, 2015. Publicly Released: Jul 29, 2015.
The Department of the Interior's (Interior) Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) Mining Law Administration Program (mining law program) was appropriated and expended almost $40 million annually from fiscal years 2011 through 2013. Funds are to be used for mining law program activities such as administering mining claims and processing notices for mineral exploration. The mining law program's largest...
Federal Green Building: Federal Efforts and Third-Party Certification Help Agencies Implement Key Requirements, but Challenges Remain
GAO-15-667: Published: Jul 23, 2015. Publicly Released: Jul 23, 2015.
The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), Department of Energy (DOE), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), General Services Administration (GSA), and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) provide guidance, oversight, training, and other support to agencies implementing key federal green building requirements. For example, DOE offers training on measuring and reporting on the implementation of...
Army Corps of Engineers: Efforts to Assess the Impact of Extreme Weather Events
GAO-15-660: Published: Jul 22, 2015. Publicly Released: Jul 22, 2015.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) considers the potential impact of extreme weather events in its planning and operations of water resources infrastructure projects by, among other things, updating and developing guidance on how to incorporate different extreme weather scenarios in its planning of projects. For example, in 2014, the Corps issued guidance on how to evaluate the effects of pr...
Helium Stewardship Act of 2013: Bureau of Land Management Needs More Information to Fully Implement the Act
GAO-15-734T: Published: Jul 8, 2015. Publicly Released: Jul 8, 2015.
In April 2015, GAO found that refiners purchased all the helium offered in the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) first-ever competitive helium auction, held in July 2014, at higher than expected prices. Two refiners purchased all 93 million cubic feet of helium that was auctioned at an average price of $161 per thousand cubic feet--significantly above the prices offere...