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Natural Resources and Environment (451 - 500 of 3,480 items)
Chemical Assessments: EPA's New Assessment Process Will Further Limit the Productivity and Credibility of Its Integrated Risk Information System
GAO-08-810T: Published: May 21, 2008. Publicly Released: May 21, 2008.
The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) contains EPA's scientific position on the potential human health effects of exposure to more than 540 chemicals. Toxicity assessments in the IRIS database constitute the first two critical steps of the risk assessment process, which in turn, provides the foundation for risk management decisions. Thus, IRIS is a c...
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: Endangered Species Act Decision Making
GAO-08-688T: Published: May 21, 2008. Publicly Released: May 21, 2008.
The Department of the Interior's (Interior) U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is generally required to use the best available scientific information when making key decisions under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Controversy has surrounded whether former Deputy Assistant Secretary Julie MacDonald may have inappropriately influenced ESA decisions by basing decisions on political factors ra...
Offshore Marine Aquaculture: Multiple Administrative and Environmental Issues Need to Be Addressed in Establishing a U.S. Regulatory Framework
GAO-08-594: Published: May 9, 2008. Publicly Released: May 9, 2008.
U. S. aquaculture--the raising of fish and shellfish in captivity--has generally been confined to nearshore coastal waters or in other water bodies, such as ponds, that fall under state regulation. Recently, there has been an increased interest in expanding aquaculture to offshore waters, which would involve raising fish and shellfish in the open ocean, and consequently bringing these types of ope...
Aviation and the Environment: NextGen and Research and Development Are Keys to Reducing Emissions and Their Impact on Health and Climate
GAO-08-706T: Published: May 6, 2008. Publicly Released: May 6, 2008.
Collaboration between the federal government and the aviation industry has led to reductions in aviation emissions, but growing air traffic has partially offset these reductions. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), together with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and others, is working to increase the efficiency, safety, and...
Chemical Assessments: Low Productivity and New Interagency Review Process Limit the Usefulness and Credibility of EPA's Integrated Risk Information System
GAO-08-440: Published: Mar 7, 2008. Publicly Released: Apr 29, 2008.
The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) contains EPA's scientific position on the potential human health effects of exposure to more than 540 chemicals. IRIS is a critical component of EPA's capacity to support scientifically sound environmental decisions, policies, and regulations. GAO was asked to examine (1) the outcome of steps EPA has taken to ens...
Toxic Chemicals: EPA's New Assessment Process Will Increase Challenges EPA Faces in Evaluating and Regulating Chemicals
GAO-08-743T: Published: Apr 29, 2008. Publicly Released: Apr 29, 2008.
The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) mission includes evaluating and regulating toxic chemicals. EPA's Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) program is a chemical evaluation program that is a critical component of EPA's capacity to support scientifically sound environmental regulations and policies. The IRIS database contains EPA's scientific position on the potential human health effec...
International Boundary and Water Commission: Two Alternatives for Improving Wastewater Treatment at the United States-Mexico Border
GAO-08-595R: Published: Apr 24, 2008. Publicly Released: Apr 24, 2008.
For many years, untreated wastewater originating in Tijuana, Mexico, has entered the United States, largely via the Tijuana River. Tijuana's sewage system does not have the capacity to treat all of the city's wastewater, and some areas of the city are not connected to the sewer system. Tijuana's higher elevation results in sewage flowing downhill into California and out to the Pacific Ocean, causi...
Drinking Water: The District of Columbia and Communities Nationwide Face Serious Challenges in Their Efforts to Safeguard Water Supplies
GAO-08-687T: Published: Apr 15, 2008. Publicly Released: Apr 15, 2008.
The discovery in 2004 of lead contamination in the District of Columbia's drinking water resulted in an administrative order between the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the District's Water and Sewer Authority (WASA), requiring WASA to take a number of corrective actions. WASA also took additional, longer-term measures, most notably a roughly $400 million program to replace what may be 3...
Nuclear Material: Several Potential Options for Dealing with DOE's Depleted Uranium Tails Could Benefit the Government
GAO-08-613T: Published: Apr 3, 2008. Publicly Released: Apr 3, 2008.
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 uranium-235. The tails are stored at DOE's...
Nuclear Material: DOE Has Several Potential Options for Dealing with Depleted Uranium Tails, Each of Which Could Benefit the Government
GAO-08-606R: Published: Mar 31, 2008. Publicly Released: Apr 2, 2008.
Since the 1940s, one mission of the Department of Energy (DOE) and its predecessor agencies has been processing uranium as a source of nuclear material for defense and commercial purposes. A key step in this process is the enrichment of natural uranium, which increases its concentration of uranium-235, the isotope of uranium that undergoes fission to release enormous amounts of energy. Before it c...
Yellowstone Bison: Interagency Plan and Agencies' Management Need Improvement to Better Address Bison-Cattle Brucellosis Controversy
GAO-08-291: Published: Mar 7, 2008. Publicly Released: Apr 2, 2008.
Federal and Montana state agencies have long been entangled in controversy over bison leaving Yellowstone National Park. Some of these bison, as well as elk and other wildlife, have a contagious disease called brucellosis, which can cause pregnant animals to abort. Montana livestock owners and government officials fear that if bison are allowed to leave the park, the disease could spread to cattle...
Aviation and the Environment: FAA's and NASA's Research and Development Plans for Noise Reduction Are Aligned but the Prospects of Achieving Noise Reduction Goals Are Uncertain
GAO-08-384: Published: Feb 15, 2008. Publicly Released: Mar 17, 2008.
Reducing aviation noise is important to the efficient operation and expansion of the National Airspace System because community opposition to aviation noise is a major obstacle to airport and runway development. Such development is needed to help address congestion and meet the nation's rapidly growing demand for air travel. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Aeronautics an...
Environmental Protection: EPA Needs to Ensure That Best Practices and Procedures Are Followed When Making Further Changes to Its Library Network
GAO-08-304: Published: Feb 29, 2008. Publicly Released: Mar 13, 2008.
Established in 1971, the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) library network provides staff and the public with access to environmental information. Its 26 libraries contain a wide range of information and resources and are located at headquarters, regional offices, research centers, and laboratories nationwide. In 2006, EPA issued a plan to reorganize the network beginning in fiscal year 2007...
Environmental Protection: EPA Needs to Follow Best Practices and Procedures When Reorganizing Its Library Network
GAO-08-579T: Published: Mar 13, 2008. Publicly Released: Mar 13, 2008.
Established in 1971, the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) library network provides access to critical environmental information that the agency needs to fulfill its mission of protecting human health and the environment. The library network also provides information and services to the public. In fiscal year 2006, the network included 26 libraries across headquarters, regional offices, rese...
Natural Resource Management: Opportunities Exist to Enhance Federal Participation in Collaborative Efforts to Reduce Conflicts and Improve Natural Resource Conditions
GAO-08-262: Published: Feb 12, 2008. Publicly Released: Mar 13, 2008.
Conflict over the use of our nation's natural resources, along with increased ecological problems, has led land managers to seek cooperative means to resolve natural resource conflicts and problems. Collaborative resource management is one such approach that communities began using in the 1980s and 1990s. A 2004 Executive Order on Cooperative Conservation encourages such efforts. GAO was asked to...
Hardrock Mining: Information on Abandoned Mines and Value and Coverage of Financial Assurances on BLM Land
GAO-08-574T: Published: Mar 12, 2008. Publicly Released: Mar 12, 2008.
The 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 lands. 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 of Sur...
Mineral Revenues: Data Management Problems and Reliance on Self-Reported Data for Compliance Efforts Put MMS Royalty Collections at Risk
GAO-08-560T: Published: Mar 11, 2008. Publicly Released: Mar 11, 2008.
Companies that develop and produce federal oil and gas resources do so under leases administered by the Department of the Interior (Interior). Interior's Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Offshore Minerals Management (OMM) are responsible for overseeing oil and gas operations on federal leases. Companies are required to self- report their production volumes and other data to Interior's Minerals...
Military Training: Compliance with Environmental Laws Affects Some Training Activities, but DOD Has Not Made a Sound Business Case for Additional Environmental Exemptions
GAO-08-407: Published: Mar 7, 2008. Publicly Released: Mar 7, 2008.
A fundamental principle of military readiness is that the military must train as it intends to fight, and military training ranges allow the Department of Defense (DOD) to accomplish this goal. According to DOD officials, heightened focus on the application of environmental statutes has affected the use of its training areas. Since 2003, DOD has obtained exemptions from three environmental laws an...
Forest Service: Better Planning, Guidance, and Data Are Needed to Improve Management of the Competitive Sourcing Program
GAO-08-195: Published: Jan 22, 2008. Publicly Released: Feb 21, 2008.
Competitive sourcing is aimed at promoting competition between federal employees and the private sector as a way to improve government operations. Key work activities--those that are either inherently governmental or core to the agency's mission--are generally exempt from competitions. In fiscal year 2004, Congress began placing spending limitations on the Forest Service's competitive sourcing pro...
Wildland Fire Management: Federal Agencies Lack Key Long- and Short-Term Management Strategies for Using Program Funds Effectively
GAO-08-433T: Published: Feb 12, 2008. Publicly Released: Feb 12, 2008.
The nation's wildland fire problems have worsened over the past decade. Recent years have seen dramatic increases in the number of acres burned and the dollars spent on preparing for and responding to wildland fires. As GAO has previously reported, a number of factors have contributed to worsening fire seasons and increased firefighting expenditures, including an accumulation of fuels due to past...
Federal Land Management: Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act Restrictions and Management Weaknesses Limit Future Sales and Acquisitions
GAO-08-196: Published: Feb 5, 2008. Publicly Released: Feb 5, 2008.
The U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Park Service, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Forest Service manage about 628 million acres of public land, mostly in the 11 western states and Alaska. Under the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act (FLTFA), revenue raised from selling BLM lands is available to the agencies,...
Great Lakes Initiative: EPA and States Have Made Progress, but Much Remains to Be Done If Water Quality Goals Are to Be Achieved
GAO-08-312T: Published: Jan 23, 2008. Publicly Released: Jan 23, 2008.
Millions of people in the United States and Canada depend on the Great Lakes for drinking water, recreation, and economic livelihood. During the 1970s, it became apparent that pollutants discharged into the Great Lakes Basin from point sources, such as industrial and municipal facilities, or from nonpoint sources, such as air emissions from power plants, were harming the Great Lakes. Some of these...
Bureau of Reclamation: Reimbursement of California's Central Valley Project Capital Construction Costs by San Luis Unit Irrigation Water Districts
GAO-08-307R: Published: Dec 18, 2007. Publicly Released: Jan 17, 2008.
In 1960, Congress authorized the construction of the San Luis Unit of the Central Valley Project (CVP) in California. The CVP is a network of dams, canals, pumps, and other facilities providing water for multiple uses. Located south of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the San Luis Unit is a component of the CVP and was built jointly by the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Reclamation (Recla...
Maritime Transportation: Major Oil Spills Occur Infrequently, but Risks Remain
GAO-08-357T: Published: Dec 18, 2007. Publicly Released: Dec 18, 2007.
When oil spills occur in U.S. waters, federal law places primary liability on the vessel owner or operator--that is, the responsible party--up to a statutory limit. As a supplement to this "polluter pays" approach, a federal Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund administered by the Coast Guard pays for costs when a responsible party does not or cannot pay. This testimony is based on GAO's September 2007...
Coastal Wetlands: Lessons Learned from Past Efforts in Louisiana Could Help Guide Future Restoration and Protection
GAO-08-130: Published: Dec 14, 2007. Publicly Released: Dec 14, 2007.
Louisiana, home to 40 percent of all coastal wetlands in the lower 48 states, is projected to lose almost 17 square miles of coastline each year for the next 50 years to storms, sea level rise, and land subsidence. Coastal wetlands are an important wildlife and commercial resource, and provide a natural buffer against the storm surge that accompanies storms and hurricanes. The Coastal Wetlands Pla...
Toxic Chemical Releases: EPA Actions Could Reduce Environmental Information Available to Many Communities
GAO-08-128: Published: Nov 30, 2007. Publicly Released: Dec 12, 2007.
Federal law requires certain facilities that manufacture, process, or use any of 581 toxic chemicals to report annually to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and their state on the amount of those chemicals released into the air, water, or soil. It also requires EPA to make this information available to the public electronically through the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) database. Facilitie...
Toxic Chemical Releases: Survey of State Toxics Release Inventory Coordinators (GAO-08-129SP), an E-supplement to GAO-08-128
GAO-08-129SP: Published: Nov 30, 2007. Publicly Released: Dec 12, 2007.
This is an E-supplement to GAO-08-128, which was released on November 30, 2007. The Environmental Protection and Community Right-to-Know Act requires certain facilities to submit Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) reports to their respective states, which have a created range of TRI programs. In order to learn about states' TRI activities, we conducted a survey of state TRI coordinators in the 50 stat...
Hazardous Waste: Information on How DOD and Federal and State Regulators Oversee the Off-Site Disposal of Waste from DOD Installations
GAO-08-74: Published: Nov 13, 2007. Publicly Released: Nov 13, 2007.
Military installations operated by the Department of Defense (DOD) can generate hazardous waste during routine operations, such as the repair and maintenance of weapon systems and equipment, or during an environmental cleanup related to past operations. The proper disposal of hazardous waste, especially when it is taken to an off-site location, is essential to ensuring the health and safety of com...
Indian Issues: Damages and Compensation for Tribes at Seven Reservations Affected by Dams on the Missouri River
GAO-08-249T: Published: Nov 1, 2007. Publicly Released: Nov 1, 2007.
From 1946 to 1966, the government constructed five dams as flood control projects on the Missouri River in North Dakota and South Dakota. The reservoirs created behind the dams flooded portions of seven Indian reservations--Fort Berthold, Cheyenne River, Standing Rock, Lower Brule, Crow Creek, Yankton, and Santee. The tribes at these seven reservations received compensation when the dams were buil...
Aviation and the Environment: Impact of Aviation Noise on Communities Presents Challenges for Airport Operations and Future Growth of the National Airspace System
GAO-08-216T: Published: Oct 24, 2007. Publicly Released: Oct 24, 2007.
To address projected increases in air traffic and current problems with aviation congestion and delays, the Joint Planning and Development Office (JPDO), an interagency organization within the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), is working to plan and implement a new air traffic management system, known as the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen). This effort involves implementin...
Measuring Our Nation's Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability: Highlights of a Forum Jointly Convened by the Comptroller General of the United States and the National Academy of Science
GAO-08-127SP: Published: Oct 24, 2007. Publicly Released: Oct 24, 2007.
One of the greatest challenges facing the United States in the 21st century is sustaining our natural resources and safeguarding our environmental assets for future generations while promoting economic growth and maintaining our quality of life. To manage natural resources effectively and efficiently, policymakers need information and methods to analyze the dynamic interplay between the economy an...
Climate Change Research: Agencies Have Data-Sharing Policies but Could Do More to Enhance the Availability of Data from Federally Funded Research
GAO-07-1172: Published: Sep 28, 2007. Publicly Released: Oct 22, 2007.
Much of the nearly $2 billion annual climate change research budget supports grants from the Department of Energy (DOE), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and National Science Foundation (NSF). Some of the data generated by this research are stored in online archives, but much remains in a less accessible format with indiv...
Hazardous Materials: EPA May Need to Reassess Sites Receiving Asbestos-Contaminated Ore from Libby, Montana, and Should Improve Its Public Notification Process
GAO-08-71: Published: Oct 12, 2007. Publicly Released: Oct 12, 2007.
Between 1923 and the early 1990s, a mine near Libby, Montana, shipped millions of tons of asbestos-contaminated vermiculite ore to sites throughout the United States. In 2000, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began to clean up asbestos contamination at the Libby mine and evaluate those sites that received the ore to determine if they were contaminated. Under Superfund program regulations...
Environmental Right-To-Know: EPA's Recent Rule Could Reduce Availability of Toxic Chemical Information Used to Assess Environmental Justice
GAO-08-115T: Published: Oct 4, 2007. Publicly Released: Oct 4, 2007.
A 1994 Executive Order sought to ensure that minority and low-income populations are not subjected to disproportionately high and adverse health or environ-mental effects from agency activities. In a July 2005 report, GAO made several recommendations to improve the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) adherence to these environmental justice principles. The Emergency Planning and Community Righ...
Wildland Fire Management: Better Information and a Systematic Process Could Improve Agencies' Approach to Allocating Fuel Reduction Funds and Selecting Projects
GAO-07-1168: Published: Sep 28, 2007. Publicly Released: Sep 28, 2007.
Recognizing that millions of acres are at risk from wildland fire, the federal government expends substantial resources on thinning brush, trees, and other potentially hazardous fuels to reduce the fire risk to communities and the environment. However, questions have been raised about how the agencies responsible for wildland fire management--the Department of Agriculture's Forest Service and the...
Prairie Pothole Region: At the Current Pace of Acquisitions, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Is Unlikely to Achieve Its Habitat Protection Goals for Migratory Birds
GAO-07-1093: Published: Sep 27, 2007. Publicly Released: Sep 27, 2007.
The 64-million-acre Prairie Pothole Region in the north-central United States provides breeding grounds for over 60 percent of key migratory bird species in the United States. During much of the 20th century, the draining of wetlands and the conversion of prairie to cropland has reduced bird habitat. Under the Small Wetlands Acquisition Program, the Department of the Interior's U.S. Fish and Wildl...
Chemical Regulation: Comparison of U.S. and Recently Enacted European Union Approaches to Protect against the Risks of Toxic Chemicals
GAO-07-825: Published: Aug 17, 2007. Publicly Released: Sep 25, 2007.
Chemicals play an important role in everyday life. However, some chemicals are highly toxic and need to be regulated. In 1976, the Congress passed the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to authorize the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to control chemicals that pose an unreasonable risk to human health or the environment, but some have questioned whether TSCA provides EPA with enough tools t...
South Florida Ecosystem: Some Restoration Progress Has Been Made, but the Effort Faces Significant Delays, Implementation Challenges, and Rising Costs
GAO-07-1250T: Published: Sep 19, 2007. Publicly Released: Sep 19, 2007.
The South Florida ecosystem covers about 18,000 square miles, and is home to the Everglades, one of the world's unique environmental resources. Historic efforts to redirect the flow of water through the ecosystem have jeopardized its health and reduced the Everglades to about half of its original size. In 1993, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization's World Heritage...
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: Additional Flexibility Needed to Deal with Farmlands Received from the Department of Agriculture
GAO-07-1092: Published: Sep 18, 2007. Publicly Released: Sep 18, 2007.
Over the past two decades, provisions of the Food Security Act of 1985, among others, have allowed the Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency in partnership with the Department of the Interior's U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) to add farmlands found to have important resources to the National Wildlife Refuge System. The Farm Service Agency transferred such farmlands to the Servic...
Maritime Transportation: Major Oil Spills Occur Infrequently, but Risks to the Federal Oil Spill Fund Remain
GAO-07-1085: Published: Sep 7, 2007. Publicly Released: Sep 7, 2007.
When oil spills occur in U.S. waters, federal law places primary liability on the vessel owner or operator--that is, the responsible party--up to a statutory limit. As a supplement to this "polluter pays" approach, a federal Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund administered by the Coast Guard pays for costs when a responsible party does not or cannot pay. The Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act...
Water Resources: Four Federal Agencies Provide Funding for Rural Water Supply and Wastewater Projects
GAO-07-1094: Published: Sep 7, 2007. Publicly Released: Sep 7, 2007.
funds for constructing and upgrading water supply and wastewater treatment facilities. As a result, they typically rely on federal grants and loans, primarily from the Rural Utilities Service (RUS), Economic Development Administration (EDA), Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation), and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), to fund these projects. Concern has been raised about potential overlap bet...
Climate Change: Agencies Should Develop Guidance for Addressing the Effects on Federal Land and Water Resources
GAO-07-863: Published: Aug 7, 2007. Publicly Released: Sep 6, 2007.
Climate change has implications for the vast land and water resources managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Forest Service (FS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and National Park Service (NPS). These resources generally occur within four ecosystem types: coasts and oceans, forests, fresh waters, and grasslands and shrublands....
World Trade Center: EPA's Most Recent Test and Clean Program Raises Concerns That Need to Be Addressed to Better Prepare for Indoor Contamination Following Disasters
GAO-07-1091: Published: Sep 5, 2007. Publicly Released: Sep 5, 2007.
The September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and World Trade Center (WTC) collapse blanketed Lower Manhattan in dust from building debris. In response, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducted an indoor clean and test program from 2002 to 2003. In 2003, EPA's Inspector General (IG) recommended improvements to the program and identified lessons learned for EPA's preparedness for future disa...
Aboveground Oil Storage Tanks: Observations on EPA's Economic Analyses of Amendments to the Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure Rule
GAO-07-763: Published: Jul 27, 2007. Publicly Released: Aug 16, 2007.
Oil in aboveground tanks can leak into soil and nearby water, threatening human health and wildlife. To prevent certain oil spills, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule in 1973. EPA estimated that, in 2005, about 571,000 facilities were regulated under this rule. When finalizing amendments to the rule in 2002 and 2006 to bot...
Environmental Protection: EPA-State Enforcement Partnership Has Improved, but EPA's Oversight Needs Further Enhancement
GAO-07-883: Published: Jul 31, 2007. Publicly Released: Jul 31, 2007.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) enforces the nation's environmental laws through its Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA). OECA sets overall enforcement policies and through its 10 regions oversees state agencies authorized to implement environmental programs consistent with federal requirements. GAO was asked to (1) identify trends in federal resources to regions and st...
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: Opportunities Remain to Improve Oversight and Management of Oil and Gas Activities on National Wildlife Refuges
GAO-07-829R: Published: Jun 29, 2007. Publicly Released: Jul 30, 2007.
The mission of the Department of the Interior's (DOI) Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) includes administering a national network of refuges for the conservation, management, and, where appropriate, restoration of fish, wildlife, and plant resources and their habitats within the United States for the benefit of present and future generations. The refuges are unique in that they are the only federal...
Federal Timber Sales: Forest Service Could Improve Efficiency of Field-Level Timber Sales Management by Maintaining More Detailed Data
GAO-07-764: Published: Jun 27, 2007. Publicly Released: Jul 27, 2007.
For years, GAO has raised concerns about the ability of the Department of Agriculture's Forest Service (Service) to track the amounts it obligates for and spends on timber sales and to use this information in managing the sales. Timber sales are generally carried out by ranger districts (the lowest level of the Service's decentralized organizational structure), which are overseen by national fores...
Environmental Justice: Measurable Benchmarks Needed to Gauge EPA Progress in Correcting Past Problems
GAO-07-1140T: Published: Jul 25, 2007. Publicly Released: Jul 25, 2007.
A 1994 Executive Order sought to ensure that minority and low-income populations are not subjected to disproportionately high levels of environmental risk. Studies have shown that these groups are indeed disproportionately exposed to air pollution and other environmental and health problems. The Order sought to address the problem by requiring EPA and other federal agencies to make achieving envir...
Hanford Waste Treatment Plant: Department of Energy Needs to Strengthen Controls over Contractor Payments and Project Assets
GAO-07-888: Published: Jul 20, 2007. Publicly Released: Jul 20, 2007.
In December 2000, the Department of Energy (DOE) awarded Bechtel National, Inc. (Bechtel) a contract to design and construct the Waste Treatment Plant (WTP), one of the largest nuclear waste cleanup projects in the nation. Originally expected to cost $4.3 billion and be completed in 2011, DOE now estimates that WTP will cost over $12.2 billion and be completed in late 2019. Weaknesses in DOE's man...
National Marine Fisheries Service: Improved Economic Analysis and Evaluation Strategies Needed for Proposed Changes to Atlantic Large Whale Protection Plan
GAO-07-881: Published: Jul 20, 2007. Publicly Released: Jul 20, 2007.
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) developed the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction (ALWTR) plan to protect endangered large whales from entanglements in commercial fishing gear, which can cause injury or death. Because whales continued to die after the ALWTR plan went into effect, NMFS proposed revisions in 2005. GAO was asked to review these proposed revisions, including (1) their sci...