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Natural Resources and Environment (251 - 300 of 3,475 items)
Polar Satellites: Agencies Need to Address Potential Gaps in Weather and Climate Data Coverage
GAO-11-945T: Published: Sep 23, 2011. Publicly Released: Sep 23, 2011.
Environmental satellites provide critical data used in weather forecasting and measuring variations in climate over time. In February 2010, the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy disbanded the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS)--a tri-agency satellite acquisition that had encountered continuing cost, schedule, and management problems--and...
Chesapeake Bay: Restoration Effort Needs Common Federal and State Goals and Assessment Approach
GAO-11-802: Published: Sep 15, 2011. Publicly Released: Sep 15, 2011.
The Chesapeake Bay, with its watershed in parts of six states and the District of Columbia (watershed states), is an important economic and natural resource that has been in decline. Over decades, federal agencies and watershed states have entered into several agreements to restore the bay, but its health remains impaired. In May 2009, Executive Order 13508 established a Federal Leadership Committ...
Environmental Health: Action Needed to Sustain Agencies' Collaboration on Pharmaceuticals in Drinking Water
GAO-11-346: Published: Aug 8, 2011. Publicly Released: Sep 8, 2011.
Drinking water in some metropolitan areas contains concentrations of pharmaceuticals, raising concerns about their potential impact on human health. The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) authorizes the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate contaminants, including pharmaceuticals, in public drinking water systems if they may adversely affect human health among other criteria. Pharmaceutica...
Environmental Litigation: Cases against EPA and Associated Costs over Time
GAO-11-650: Published: Aug 1, 2011. Publicly Released: Aug 31, 2011.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) faces numerous legal challenges as it implements the nation's environmental laws. Several statutes, such as the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, allow citizens to file suit against EPA to challenge certain agency actions. Where EPA is named as a defendant, the Department of Justice provides EPA's legal defense. If successful, plaintiffs may be paid for cert...
Forest Service Business Services: Further Actions Needed to Re-examine Centralization Approach and to Better Document Associated Costs
GAO-11-769: Published: Aug 25, 2011. Publicly Released: Aug 25, 2011.
In the early 2000s, the Forest Service, within the Department of Agriculture, centralized the operations of three major business services: (1) budget and finance, (2) human resources management, and (3) information technology. The agency's goals in centralizing these services, which were previously delivered by staff in field units throughout the country, were to streamline and improve operations...
Hazardous Waste: Early Goals Have Been Met in EPA's Corrective Action Program, but Resource and Technical Challenges Will Constrain Future Progress
GAO-11-514: Published: Jul 22, 2011. Publicly Released: Aug 25, 2011.
Years of industrial development generated hazardous waste that, when improperly disposed of, poses risks to human health and the environment. To mitigate these risks, Congress passed the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 (RCRA). Subtitle C of RCRA, as amended, requires owners or operators to take corrective actions to clean up contamination at facilities that treat, store, or dispose...
Technology Assessment: Climate Engineering: Technical Status, Future Directions, and Potential Responses
GAO-11-71: Published: Jul 28, 2011. Publicly Released: Aug 25, 2011.
Interactive Features Depiction of the Global Carbon Cycle Changes Over Time Global Average Energy Budget of the Earth's Atmosphere Reports of rising global temperatures have raised questions about responses to climate change, including efforts to (1) reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, (2) adapt to climate change, and (3) design and develop climate engineering technologies for deliberate, la...
Energy Development and Water Use: Impacts of Potential Oil Shale Development on Water Resources
GAO-11-929T: Published: Aug 24, 2011. Publicly Released: Aug 24, 2011.
Oil shale deposits in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming are estimated to contain up to 3 trillion barrels of oil--or an amount equal to the world's proven oil reserves. About 72 percent of this oil shale is located beneath federal lands managed by the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management, making the federal government a key player in its potential development. Extracting this oil is ex...
Environmental Protection Agency: To Better Fulfill Its Mission, EPA Needs a More Coordinated Approach to Managing Its Laboratories
GAO-11-347: Published: Jul 25, 2011. Publicly Released: Aug 24, 2011.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) operates 37 laboratories to provide the scientific foundation for its mission. Over the past 20 years, independent evaluations have identified problems with the laboratories' operations and management and called for improved planning, coordination, and leadership, as well as consolidation of laboratories. In its 2012 budget, EPA requested $2 million for an...
Green Information Technology: Agencies Have Taken Steps to Implement Requirements, but Additional Guidance on Measuring Performance Needed
GAO-11-638: Published: Jul 28, 2011. Publicly Released: Aug 4, 2011.
The federal government's substantial use of information technology (IT) contributes significantly to federal agencies' energy use and environmental impact. To help mitigate this impact, organizations have adopted practices for using computing resources in a sustainable and more environmentally friendly manner-- sometimes referred to as "green IT." These practices include equipment acquisition, use...
Climate Change Adaptation: Aligning Funding with Strategic Priorities
GAO-11-876T: Published: Jul 28, 2011. Publicly Released: Jul 28, 2011.
A 2009 assessment by the United States Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) found that many types of extreme weather events, such as heat waves and regional droughts, have become more frequent and intense during the past 40 to 50 years. According to the assessment, changes in extreme weather and climate events will affect many aspects of society and the natural environment, such as infrastructu...
Drinking Water: Unreliable State Data Limit EPA's Ability to Target Enforcement Priorities and Communicate Water Systems' Performance
GAO-11-381: Published: Jun 17, 2011. Publicly Released: Jul 19, 2011.
The nation's drinking water is among the safest in the world, but contamination has occurred, causing illnesses and even deaths. Under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has authorized most states, territories, and tribes to take primary responsibility for ensuring that community water systems provide safe water. EPA needs complete and accurate data on sy...
Abandoned Mines: Information on the Number of Hardrock Mines, Cost of Cleanup, and Value of Financial Assurances
GAO-11-834T: Published: Jul 14, 2011. Publicly Released: Jul 14, 2011.
The General Mining Act of 1872 helped foster the development of the West by giving individuals exclusive rights to mine gold, silver, copper, and other hardrock minerals on federal land. However, miners often abandoned mines, leaving behind structures, safety hazards, and contaminated land and water. Four federal agencies--the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Office...
EPA Health Risk Assessments: Sustained Management and Oversight Key to Overcoming Challenges
GAO-11-824T: Published: Jul 14, 2011. Publicly Released: Jul 14, 2011.
This testimony discusses our prior work on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) program and database. IRIS is one of the most significant tools that EPA has developed to support its mission to protect people and the environment from harmful chemical exposures. The IRIS database contains EPA's scientific position on the potential human health effects...
Safe Drinking Water Act: Improvements in Implementation Are Needed to Better Assure the Public of Safe Drinking Water
GAO-11-803T: Published: Jul 12, 2011. Publicly Released: Jul 12, 2011.
This testimony discusses highlights of GAO's report on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) implementation of requirements for determining whether additional drinking water contaminants warrant regulation. The number of potential drinking water contaminants is vast--as many as tens of thousands of chemicals may be used across the country, and EPA has identified more than 6,000 chemicals tha...
Safe Drinking Water Act: EPA Should Improve Implementation of Requirements on Whether to Regulate Additional Contaminants
GAO-11-254: Published: May 27, 2011. Publicly Released: Jul 12, 2011.
Under 1996 amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act, every 5 years the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is to determine for at least five contaminants, such as chemicals, whether regulation is warranted, considering those that present the greatest public health concern. Since 1996, EPA had not recommended any new contaminants for regulation until February 2011, when it reversed its controver...
Recovery Act: Funding Used for Transportation Infrastructure Projects, but Some Requirements Proved Challenging
GAO-11-600: Published: Jun 29, 2011. Publicly Released: Jun 29, 2011.
This report responds to two GAO mandates under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act). It is the latest report on the uses of and accountability for Recovery Act funds in selected states and localities, focusing on the $48.1 billion provided to the Department of Transportation (DOT) to invest in transportation infrastructure. This report also examines the quality of reci...
Recovery Act: Funds Supported Many Water Projects, and Federal and State Monitoring Shows Few Compliance Problems
GAO-11-608: Published: Jun 29, 2011. Publicly Released: Jun 29, 2011.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) provided $4 billion for the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) and $2 billion for the agency's Drinking Water SRF. The Recovery Act requires GAO to review funds made available under the act and comment on recipients' reports of jobs created and retained. These jobs are reported as full-tim...
Horse Welfare: Action Needed to Address Unintended Consequences from Cessation of Domestic Slaughter
GAO-11-228: Published: Jun 22, 2011. Publicly Released: Jun 22, 2011.
Since fiscal year 2006, Congress has annually prohibited the use of federal funds to inspect horses destined for food, effectively prohibiting domestic slaughter. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is responsible for overseeing the welfare of horses transported for slaughter. Congress directed GAO to examine horse welfare since cessation of domestic slaughter in 2007. GAO examined (1) the e...
Nuclear Regulatory Commission: Oversight of Underground Piping Systems Commensurate with Risk, but Proactive Measures Could Help Address Future Leaks
GAO-11-563: Published: Jun 3, 2011. Publicly Released: Jun 21, 2011.
All U.S. nuclear power plant sites have had some groundwater contamination from radioactive leaks, and some of these leaks came from underground piping systems. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) regulates nuclear power plants to protect public health and the environment from radiation hazards. GAO was asked to (1) determine experts' opinions on the impacts, if any, of underground piping syst...
Climate Change: Improvements Needed to Clarify National Priorities and Better Align Them with Federal Funding Decisions
GAO-11-317: Published: May 20, 2011. Publicly Released: Jun 20, 2011.
Climate change poses risks to many environmental and economic systems, including agriculture, infrastructure, and ecosystems. Federal law has periodically required the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to report on federal climate change funding. GAO was asked to examine (1) federal funding for climate change activities and how these activities are organized; (2) the extent to which methods fo...
Indian Issues: Key Federal Agencies' and the Smithsonian Institution's Efforts to Identify and Repatriate Indian Human Remains and Objects
GAO-11-755T: Published: Jun 16, 2011. Publicly Released: Jun 16, 2011.
The National Museum of the American Indian Act of 1989 (NMAI Act), as amended in 1996, generally requires the Smithsonian Institution to inventory and identify the origins of its Indian and Native Hawaiian human remains and objects placed with them (funerary objects) and repatriate them to culturally affiliated Indian tribes upon request. According to the Smithsonian, two of its museums--the Ameri...
Nuclear Material: DOE's Depleted Uranium Tails Could Be a Source of Revenue for the Government
GAO-11-752T: Published: Jun 13, 2011. Publicly Released: Jun 13, 2011.
Since the 1940s, the Department of Energy (DOE) has been processing natural uranium into enriched uranium, which has a higher concentration of the isotope uranium-235 that can be used in nuclear weapons or reactors. This has resulted in over 700,000 metric tons of leftover depleted uranium, also known as "tails," that have varying residual concentrations of uranium-235. The tails are stored at DOE...
Air Quality: Information on Tall Smokestacks and Their Contribution to Interstate Transport of Air Pollution
GAO-11-473: Published: May 11, 2011. Publicly Released: Jun 10, 2011.
Tall smokestacks--stacks of 500 feet or higher, which are primarily used at coal power plants--release air pollutants such as sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) high into the atmosphere to help limit the impact of these emissions on local air quality. Tall stacks can also increase the distance these pollutants travel in the atmosphere and harm air quality and the environment in downwin...
Oil and Gas: Interior's Restructuring Challenges in the Aftermath of the Gulf Oil Spill
GAO-11-734T: Published: Jun 2, 2011. Publicly Released: Jun 2, 2011.
The Department of the Interior oversees oil and gas activities on leased federal lands and waters. Revenue generated from federal oil and gas production is one of the largest nontax sources of federal government funds, accounting for about $9 billion in fiscal year 2009. Since the April 2010 explosion on board the Deepwater Horizon, Interior has been in the midst of restructuring the bureaus that...
Nuclear Waste: Disposal Challenges and Lessons Learned from Yucca Mountain
GAO-11-731T: Published: Jun 1, 2011. Publicly Released: Jun 1, 2011.
The United States has generated over 75,000 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel and high-level nuclear waste--extremely hazardous substances--at 80 sites in 35 states and is expected to more than double that amount by 2055. The Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 (NWPA) required the Department of Energy (DOE) to investigate a geologic repository for nuclear waste. In 1987, Congress amended NWPA to dire...
Smithsonian Institution: Much Work Still Needed to Identify and Repatriate Indian Human Remains and Objects
GAO-11-515: Published: May 25, 2011. Publicly Released: May 25, 2011.
The National Museum of the American Indian Act of 1989 (NMAI Act), as amended in 1996, generally requires the Smithsonian Institution to inventory and identify the origins of its Indian human remains and objects placed with them (funerary objects) and repatriate them to culturally affiliated Indian tribes upon request. It also creates a special committee to oversee this process. According to the S...
Federal Land Management: Availability and Potential Reliability of Selected Data Elements at Five Agencies
GAO-11-377: Published: Apr 20, 2011. Publicly Released: May 20, 2011.
The federal government manages about 650 million acres, or 29 percent, of the 2.27 billion acres of U.S. land. Four land management agencies--the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the National Park Service (NPS) in the Department of the Interior (Interior) and the Forest Service, in the Department of Agriculture--manage about 95 percent of these federal acres. I...
Commercial Nuclear Waste: Effects of a Termination of the Yucca Mountain Repository Program and Lessons Learned
GAO-11-229: Published: Apr 8, 2011. Publicly Released: May 10, 2011.
Spent nuclear fuel--considered very hazardous--is accumulating at commercial reactor sites in 33 states. The Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, as amended, directs the Department of Energy (DOE) to dispose of this waste in a repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. In June 2008, DOE submitted a license application for the repository, but in March 2010 moved to withdraw it. However, the Nuclear Regulat...
DOE Nuclear Waste: Better Information Needed on Waste Storage at DOE Sites as a Result of Yucca Mountain Shutdown
GAO-11-230: Published: Mar 23, 2011. Publicly Released: May 5, 2011.
The Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Environmental Management (EM) is responsible for storing and managing a total of about 13,000 metric tons of nuclear waste--spent nuclear fuel and high-level waste--at five DOE sites in Colorado, Idaho, New York, South Carolina, and Washington. Also, a joint DOE-Navy program stores spent nuclear fuel from warships at DOE's Idaho site. DOE and the Navy int...
Recovery Act: Preliminary Observations on the Use of Funds for Clean and Drinking Water Projects
GAO-11-642T: Published: May 4, 2011. Publicly Released: May 4, 2011.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) included $4 billion for the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) and $2 billion for the agency's Drinking Water SRF. This testimony is based on GAO's ongoing review of clean and drinking water projects. It provides preliminary observations on (1) the status and use of Recovery Act SRF progra...
Federal Oil and Gas: Interagency Committee Needs to Better Coordinate Research on Oil Pollution Prevention and Response
GAO-11-319: Published: Mar 25, 2011. Publicly Released: Apr 25, 2011.
Congress passed the Oil Pollution Act in 1990 (OPA). Among other things, OPA established the Interagency Coordinating Committee on Oil Pollution Research (interagency committee) to coordinate an oil pollution research program among federal agencies, including developing a plan, having the National Academy of Sciences review that plan, and reporting to Congress on the interagency committee's effort...
Energy-Water Nexus: Amount of Energy Needed to Supply, Use, and Treat Water Is Location-Specific and Can Be Reduced by Certain Technologies and Approaches
GAO-11-225: Published: Mar 23, 2011. Publicly Released: Apr 19, 2011.
Providing drinking water and wastewater services are two key functions needed to support an urban lifestyle. To provide these services, energy is needed to extract, use, and treat water and wastewater. As the demand for water increases, the energy demands associated with providing water services are similarly expected to grow. GAO was asked to describe what is known about (1) the energy needed for...
Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Update on Federal Financial Risks and Claims Processing
GAO-11-397R: Published: Apr 18, 2011. Publicly Released: Apr 18, 2011.
On April 20, 2010, an explosion occurred on BP America Production Company's (BP) leased mobile offshore drilling unit Deepwater Horizon. The total cost to clean up the massive and unprecedented oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico following the Deepwater Horizon explosion (including costs to help pay for the spill's adverse impact on businesses and individuals in the region) are yet unknown, but have b...
Southwest Border: Border Patrol Operations on Federal Lands
GAO-11-573T: Published: Apr 15, 2011. Publicly Released: Apr 15, 2011.
To stem the flow of illegal traffic from Mexico into the United States over the last 5 years along the U.S. southwestern border, the Border Patrol has nearly doubled the number of agents on patrol, constructed hundreds of miles of border fences, and installed a variety of surveillance equipment. About 40 percent of these border lands are managed by the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture,...
Climate Change Issues: Options for Addressing Challenges to Carbon Offset Quality
GAO-11-345: Published: Feb 15, 2011. Publicly Released: Mar 17, 2011.
Carbon offsets are reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in one place to compensate for emissions elsewhere. Examples of offset projects include planting trees, developing renewable energy sources, or capturing emissions from landfills. Recent congressional proposals would have limited emissions from utilities, industries, or other "regulated entities," and allowed these entities to buy offsets....
Oil and Gas Leasing: Past Work Identifies Numerous Challenges with Interior's Oversight
GAO-11-487T: Published: Mar 17, 2011. Publicly Released: Mar 17, 2011.
The Department of the Interior oversees oil and gas activities on leased federal lands and waters. Revenue generated from federal oil and gas production is one of the largest nontax sources of federal government funds, accounting for about $9 billion in fiscal year 2009. For onshore leases, Interior's Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has oversight responsibilities. For offshore leases, the newly cr...
Nuclear Waste: DOE Needs a Comprehensive Strategy and Guidance on Computer Models that Support Environmental Cleanup Decisions
GAO-11-143: Published: Feb 10, 2011. Publicly Released: Mar 14, 2011.
The Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Environmental Management (EM) is responsible for one of the world's largest cleanup programs: treatment and disposal of radioactive and hazardous waste created as a by-product of nuclear weapons production and energy research at sites across the country, such as EM's Hanford Site in Washington State and the Savannah River Site (SRS) in South Carolina. Com...
Forest Service: Continued Work Needed to Address Persistent Management Challenges
GAO-11-423T: Published: Mar 10, 2011. Publicly Released: Mar 10, 2011.
The Forest Service, within the Department of Agriculture, manages over 190 million acres of national forest and grasslands. The agency is responsible for managing its lands for various purposes--including recreation, grazing, timber harvesting, and others--while ensuring that such activities do not impair the lands' long-term productivity. Numerous GAO reports examining different aspects of Forest...
Environmental Protection Agency: Major Management Challenges
GAO-11-422T: Published: Mar 2, 2011. Publicly Released: Mar 2, 2011.
The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) overarching mission is to protect human health and the environment by implementing and enforcing the laws intended to improve the quality of the nation's air, water, and lands. EPA's policies and programs affect virtually all segments of the economy, society, and government. As such, it operates in a highly complex and controversial regulatory arena. In...
Department of the Interior: Major Management Challenges
GAO-11-424T: Published: Mar 1, 2011. Publicly Released: Mar 1, 2011.
The Department of the Interior (Interior) is responsible for managing much of the nation's vast natural resources. Its agencies implement an array of programs intended to protect these resources for future generations while also allowing certain uses of them, such as recreation and oil and gas development. In some cases, Interior is authorized to collect royalties and fees for these uses. Over the...
Oil and Gas Bonds: BLM Needs a Comprehensive Strategy to Better Manage Potential Oil and Gas Well Liability
GAO-11-292: Published: Feb 25, 2011. Publicly Released: Feb 25, 2011.
The number of oil and gas wells on leased federal land has increased dramatically. To help manage the environmental impacts of these wells, the Department of the Interior's (Interior) Bureau of Land Management (BLM) requires oil and gas operators to reclaim disturbed land in a manner it prescribes. To help ensure operators reclaim leased land, BLM requires them to provide a bond before beginning d...
Superfund: Information on the Nature and Costs of Cleanup Activities at Three Landfills in the Gulf Coast Region
GAO-11-287R: Published: Feb 18, 2011. Publicly Released: Feb 18, 2011.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that one in four Americans lives within 3 miles of a contaminated site, many of which pose serious risks to human health and the environment. The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) provided the federal government with authority to respond to releases or threatened releases of hazardous substance...
Financial Management: NOAA Needs to Better Document Its Policies and Procedures for Providing Management and Administration Services
GAO-11-226: Published: Jan 31, 2011. Publicly Released: Jan 31, 2011.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is a bureau within the Department of Commerce (Commerce). To help achieve NOAA's program goals, it relies on management and administration (M&A) services, such as legal support and information technology. In response to the fiscal year 2010 Consolidated Appropriations Act Conference Report, GAO (1) examined how NOAA's M&A services are fund...
Federal Lands: Adopting a Formal, Risk-Based Approach Could Help Land Management Agencies Better Manage Their Law Enforcement Resources
GAO-11-144: Published: Dec 17, 2010. Publicly Released: Dec 17, 2010.
Four federal agencies--the Forest Service in the Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Park Service in the Department of the Interior--are responsible for managing federal lands, enforcing federal laws governing the lands and their resources, and ensuring visitor safety. Illegal activities occurring on these lands have raised concerns...
Border Security: Additional Actions Needed to Better Ensure a Coordinated Federal Response to Illegal Activity on Federal Lands
GAO-11-177: Published: Nov 18, 2010. Publicly Released: Dec 8, 2010.
Federal and tribal lands on the U.S. borders with Canada and Mexico are vulnerable to illegal cross-border activity. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS)--through its U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Office of Border Patrol (Border Patrol)--is responsible for securing these lands, while the Departments of the Interior (DOI) and Agriculture (USDA) manage natural resources and protect the p...
Moving Illegal Proceeds: Challenges Exist in the Federal Government's Effort to Stem Cross-Border Currency Smuggling
GAO-11-73: Published: Oct 25, 2010. Publicly Released: Nov 30, 2010.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is the lead federal agency responsible for inspecting travelers who seek to smuggle large volumes of cash--called bulk cash--when leaving the country through land ports of entry. It is estimated that criminals smuggle $18 billion to $39 billion a year in bulk cash across the southwest border. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) is responsible...
Forest Service Research and Development: Improvements in Delivery of Research Results Can Help Ensure That Benefits of Research Are Realized
GAO-11-12: Published: Oct 29, 2010. Publicly Released: Nov 29, 2010.
In recent decades, managing the nation's public and private forests and rangelands has become increasingly complex, requiring a sound understanding of science and science-based tools to address these complexities. The Department of Agriculture's Forest Service maintains a research and development program (FS R&D) to help provide scientific information and tools. GAO was asked to examine (1) the sc...
Energy-Water Nexus: A Better and Coordinated Understanding of Water Resources Could Help Mitigate the Impacts of Potential Oil Shale Development
GAO-11-35: Published: Oct 29, 2010. Publicly Released: Nov 29, 2010.
Oil shale deposits in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming are estimated to contain up to 3 trillion barrels of oil--or an amount equal to the world's proven oil reserves. About 72 percent of this oil shale is located beneath federal lands, making the federal government a key player in its potential development. Extracting this oil is expected to require substantial amounts of water and could impact ground...
Surface Coal Mining: Information on Clean Water Act Section 404 Permit Reviews under Enhanced Coordination Procedures in Appalachia, Focusing on West Virginia
GAO-11-101R: Published: Oct 19, 2010. Publicly Released: Nov 18, 2010.
In 2009, West Virginia accounted for about 43 percent of the surface coal mining production in Appalachia. Surface coal mining in the mountainous areas of Appalachia--a process often referred to as mountaintop mining--has generated opposition in recent years because of its impact on landscapes, streams, ecosystems, and communities. In mountaintop mining, before the underlying coal can be extracted...