Air pollution (1 - 10 of 115 items)
Environmental Protection: Status of GAO Recommendations to EPA
GAO-16-722T: Published: Jun 14, 2016. Publicly Released: Jun 14, 2016.
As of May 23, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had implemented 174 of the 325 recommendations GAO made in fiscal years 2006 through 2015. EPA had not yet implemented the remaining 151 recommendations. The figure below shows the status of the 325 recommendations, which fall into six broad categories that relate to EPA programs and operations. These are: (1) management and operat...
Climate Change: HHS Could Take Further Steps to Enhance Understanding of Public Health Risks
GAO-16-122: Published: Oct 5, 2015. Publicly Released: Nov 3, 2015.
Federal agencies are enhancing understanding of climate-related risks to public health by (1) supporting and conducting research, (2) providing data and informational resources, and (3) communicating about risks. The Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) National Institutes of Health (NIH) supports a portfolio of research directly related to these risks. NIH reports awarding about $6 mi...
Manufactured Housing Standards: Testing and Performance Evaluation Could Better Ensure Safe Indoor Air Quality
GAO-13-52: Published: Oct 24, 2012. Publicly Released: Oct 24, 2012.
Key standards for manufactured homes provide a lower margin of safety against a carbon monoxide exposure incident than those for site-built homes, which are constructed at their permanent locations. For instance, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Code requires a minimum 3-foot separation between air intakes and exhaust vents, while industry standards for site-built homes have r...
EPA Regulations and Electricity: Better Monitoring by Agencies Could Strengthen Efforts to Address Potential Challenges
GAO-12-635: Published: Jul 17, 2012. Publicly Released: Aug 16, 2012.
It is uncertain how power companies may respond to four key Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations, but available information suggests companies may retrofit most coal-fueled generating units with controls to reduce pollution, and that 2 to 12 percent of coal-fueled capacity may be retired. Some regions may see more significant levels of retirements. For example, one study examined 11 s...
Air Pollution: EPA Needs Better Information on New Source Review Permits
GAO-12-590: Published: Jun 22, 2012. Publicly Released: Jul 23, 2012.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not maintain complete information on New Source Review (NSR) permits issued to fossil fuel electricity generating units. State and local permitting agencies track the NSR permits they issue, but EPA does not maintain complete or centralized information on permits, despite a 2006 recommendation by the National Research Council that it do so. EPA mainta...
Air Emissions and Electricity Generation at U.S. Power Plants
GAO-12-545R: Published: Apr 18, 2012. Publicly Released: May 18, 2012.
Older electricity generating unitsthose that began operating in or before 1978provided 45 percent of electricity from fossil fuel units in 2010 but produced a disproportionate share of emissions, both in aggregate and per unit of electricity generated. Overall, in 2010 older units contributed 75 percent of sulfur dioxide emissions, 64 percent of nitrogen oxides emissions, and 54 percen...
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...
Afghanistan and Iraq: DOD Should Improve Adherence to Its Guidance on Open Pit Burning and Solid Waste Management
GAO-11-63: Published: Oct 15, 2010. Publicly Released: Oct 15, 2010.
From the start of military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. military and its contractors have burned solid waste in open burn pits on or near military bases. According to the Department of Defense (DOD), burn pit emissions can potentially harm human health. U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) guidance directs the military's use of burn pits, and the Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA) prov...
Vehicle Fuel Economy: NHTSA and EPA's Partnership for Setting Fuel Economy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards Improved Analysis and Should Be Maintained
GAO-10-336: Published: Feb 25, 2010. Publicly Released: Apr 1, 2010.
In May 2009, the U.S. administration announced plans to increase the Department of Transportation's (DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards and establish the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards for vehicles. NHTSA redesigned CAFE standards for light trucks for model years 2008 throug...
Clean Air Act: Mercury Control Technologies at Coal-Fired Power Plants Have Achieved Substantial Emissions Reductions
GAO-10-47: Published: Oct 8, 2009. Publicly Released: Oct 8, 2009.
The 491 U.S. coal-fired power plants are the largest unregulated industrial source of mercury emissions nationwide, annually emitting about 48 tons of mercury--a toxic element that poses health threats, including neurological disorders in children. In 2000, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) determined that mercury emissions from these sources should be regulated, but the agency has not set...