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Natural Resources and Environment (21 - 30 of 3,480 items)
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...
Superfund Sediment Sites: EPA Considers Risk Management Principles but Could Clarify Certain Procedures
GAO-16-777: Published: Sep 22, 2016. Publicly Released: Oct 24, 2016.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established risk management principles and a consultation process to help provide national consistency in its management of Superfund sediment sites. Specifically, EPA developed a framework of 11 risk management principles, including assessing sources of contamination and ways to control them early in the cleanup process, that EPA regional officials are to...
Water Infrastructure: Information on Selected Midsize and Large Cities with Declining Populations
GAO-16-785: Published: Sep 15, 2016. Publicly Released: Oct 17, 2016.
Midsize cities (with populations from 50,000 to 99,999) and large cities (with populations of 100,000 and greater) that have experienced a population decline are generally more economically distressed than growing cities. Specifically, GAO's review of American Community Survey data for 674 midsize and large cities showed that the 99 cities with declining population had higher poverty and unemploym...
Environmental Protection: Information on Federal Agencies' Expenditures and Coordination Related to Harmful Algae
GAO-17-119: Published: Oct 14, 2016. Publicly Released: Oct 14, 2016.
Twelve federal agencies reported expending an estimated total of roughly $101 million from fiscal years 2013 through 2015 to fund various research, monitoring, and other activities related to harmful algae—overgrowths of algae that can create toxic “blooms” in marine or freshwater environments. The agencies provided a mix of actual and estimated expenditure data and used different methods fo...
Advanced Technologies: Strengthened Federal Approach Needed to Help Identify and Mitigate Supply Risks for Critical Raw Materials
GAO-16-699: Published: Sep 7, 2016. Publicly Released: Oct 3, 2016.
Federal agencies are primarily focused on two areas of activity related to critical materials supply—assessing risk and supporting research. For example, the Department of Energy (DOE) has conducted two criticality assessments on materials important to clean energy applications and manages the Critical Materials Institute—a 5-year, $120 million investment aimed at mitigating risks by diversify...
Climate Change: Information on NOAA's Support for States' Marine Coastal Ecosystem Resilience Efforts
GAO-16-834: Published: Sep 28, 2016. Publicly Released: Sep 28, 2016.
The Department of Commerce's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is taking a variety of actions to support states' efforts to make their marine coastal ecosystems more resilient to climate change, and states generally view NOAA's actions as positive steps. The Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) provides a foundation for managing these ecosystems and partnering with states to wor...
Federal Fisheries Management: Additional Actions Could Advance Efforts to Incorporate Climate Information into Management Decisions
GAO-16-827: Published: Sep 28, 2016. Publicly Released: Sep 28, 2016.
The Department of Commerce's National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and eight Regional Fishery Management Councils (Council) have general information on the types of effects climate change is likely to have on federally managed fish stocks but limited information on the magnitude and timing of effects for specific stocks. They also face several challenges to better understand these effects, base...