Environmental monitoring (51 - 100 of 165 items)
Environmental Liabilities: EPA Should Do More to Ensure That Liable Parties Meet Their Cleanup Obligations
GAO-05-658: Published: Aug 17, 2005. Publicly Released: Aug 17, 2005.
The burden of cleaning up Superfund and other hazardous waste sites is increasingly shifting to taxpayers, particularly since businesses handling hazardous substances are no longer taxed under Superfund and the backlog of sites needing cleanup is growing. While key environmental laws rely on the "polluter pays" principle, the extent to which liable parties cease operations or restructure--such as...
Environmental Justice: EPA Should Devote More Attention to Environmental Justice When Developing Clean Air Rules
GAO-05-289: Published: Jul 25, 2005. Publicly Released: Aug 4, 2005.
Executive Order 12898 made achieving "environmental justice" part of the mission of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other federal agencies. According to EPA, environmental justice involves fair treatment of people of all races, cultures, and incomes. EPA developed guidance for considering environmental justice during the development of rules under the Clean Air Act and other activiti...
Clean Water Act: Improved Resource Planning Would Help EPA Better Respond to Changing Needs and Fiscal Constraints
GAO-05-721: Published: Jul 22, 2005. Publicly Released: Aug 2, 2005.
Federal and state fiscal constraints may jeopardize past and future accomplishments resulting from the Clean Water Act (the act). In this environment, it is important to manage available resources as efficiently as possible and to identify future human capital needs, including the size of the workforce and its deployment across the organization. GAO was asked to determine (1) the extent to which t...
Chemical Regulation: Options Exist to Improve EPA's Ability to Assess Health Risks and Manage Its Chemical Review Program
GAO-05-458: Published: Jun 13, 2005. Publicly Released: Jul 13, 2005.
Chemicals play an important role in everyday life, but some may be harmful to human health and the environment. Chemicals are used to produce items widely used throughout society, including consumer products such as cleansers, paints, plastics, and fuels, as well as industrial solvents and additives. However, some chemicals, such as lead and mercury, are highly toxic at certain doses and need to b...
Clean Air Act: EPA Has Completed Most of the Actions Required by the 1990 Amendments, but Many Were Completed Late
GAO-05-613: Published: May 27, 2005. Publicly Released: Jun 27, 2005.
While air quality in the United States has steadily improved over the last few decades, more than a hundred million Americans continue to live in communities where pollution causes the air to be unhealthy at times, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Clean Air Act, first passed in 1963, was last reauthorized and amended in 1990, when new programs were created and changes we...
Clean Air Act: Emerging Mercury Control Technologies Have Shown Promising Results, but Data on Long-Term Performance Are Limited
GAO-05-612: Published: May 31, 2005. Publicly Released: Jun 23, 2005.
In March 2005, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a rule that will limit emissions of mercury--a toxic element that causes neurological problems--from coal-fired power plants, the nation's largest industrial source of mercury emissions. Under the rule, mercury emissions are to be reduced from a baseline of 48 tons per year to 38 tons in 2010 and to 15 tons in 2018. In the rule, EPA s...
Clean Air Act: Observations on EPA's Cost-Benefit Analysis of Its Mercury Control Options
GAO-05-252: Published: Feb 28, 2005. Publicly Released: Mar 7, 2005.
Mercury is a toxic element that can cause neurological disorders in children. In January 2004, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed two options for limiting mercury from power plants, and plans to finalize a rule in March 2005. The first would require each plant to meet emissions standards reflecting the application of control technology (the technology-based option), while the secon...
Transportation Planning: State and Metropolitan Planning Agencies Report Using Varied Methods to Consider Ecosystem Conservation
GAO-04-536: Published: May 17, 2004. Publicly Released: Jun 10, 2004.
The nation's roads, highways, and bridges are essential to mobility but can have negative effects on plants, animals, and the habitats that support them (collectively called ecosystems in this report). Federally funded transportation projects progress through three planning phases: long range (20 or more years), short range (3 to 5 years), and early project development, (collectively defined as pl...
Clean Air Act: Key Stakeholders' Views on Revisions to the New Source Review Program
GAO-04-274: Published: Feb 2, 2004. Publicly Released: Feb 6, 2004.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revisions to the New Source Review (NSR) program to control industrial emissions have drawn attention from state and local agencies that implement the program, as well as industry and environmental and health groups. Under the revisions, companies may not have to install pollution controls when making some facility changes. GAO was asked to obtain the opinions...
Survey of State and Local Air Quality Officials Opinions on the Impacts of the Environmental Protection Agency's Revisions to the Clean Air Act's New Source Review Program, an E-supplement to GAO-04-274
GAO-04-337SP: Published: Feb 2, 2004. Publicly Released: Feb 2, 2004.
This document presents the results of GAO's survey of program managers within state and local air quality agencies that implement the Clean Air Act's New Source Review (NSR) Program. To determine these officials' views on the impacts of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) proposed and final revisions to the act's NSR program, we conducted an internet-based survey of NSR program managers...
National Wildlife Refuges: Opportunities to Improve the Management and Oversight of Oil and Gas Activities on Federal Lands
GAO-03-517: Published: Aug 28, 2003. Publicly Released: Sep 23, 2003.
The 95-million acre National Wildlife Refuge System contains federal lands devoted to the conservation and management of fish, wildlife, and plant resources. While the federal government owns the surface lands in the system, in many cases private parties own the subsurface mineral rights and have the legal authority to explore for and extract oil and gas. GAO was asked to determine the extent of o...
Deep Injection Wells: EPA Needs to Involve Communities Earlier and Ensure That Financial Assurance Requirements Are Adequate
GAO-03-761: Published: Jun 13, 2003. Publicly Released: Jul 14, 2003.
Billions of gallons of hazardous liquid waste are injected into underground wells each year. These Class I hazardous deep injection wells are designed to inject waste into an area below the lowermost underground source of drinking water. EPA and the states grant permits to commercial operators to construct and operate these wells and must obtain public comments on the permits. Communities often ra...
BLM Public Domain Lands: Volume of Timber Offered for Sale Has Declined Substantially Since Fiscal Year 1990
GAO-03-615: Published: Jun 19, 2003. Publicly Released: Jun 19, 2003.
For several decades, debate over how to balance timber sales with resource protection and recreational use on federally managed lands has been at the heart of controversy surrounding federal land management. The Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is one of the federal agencies that manages some of the nation's forests--about 53 million acres--under its public domain fores...
Environmental Compliance: Better DOD Guidance Needed to Ensure That the Most Important Activities Are Funded
GAO-03-639: Published: Jun 17, 2003. Publicly Released: Jun 17, 2003.
The Department of Defense (DOD) and its military services are responsible for complying with a broad range of environmental laws and other requirements that apply to the lands they manage, including more than 425 major military installations covering about 25 million acres across the United States. Through its environmental quality program, DOD spends about $2 billion per year to comply with these...
Invasive Species: Federal Efforts and State Perspectives on Challenges and National Leadership
GAO-03-916T: Published: Jun 17, 2003. Publicly Released: Jun 17, 2003.
Invasive species--nonnative plants and animals--have caused billions of dollars in damage to natural areas, businesses, and consumers. In 2001, the federal government issued a National Management Plan to coordinate a national control effort involving the 20 or so federal agencies that are responsible for managing invasive species. In October 2002, GAO reported on the implementation of the manageme...
Environmental Contamination: DOD Has Taken Steps to Improve Cleanup Coordination at Former Defense Sites but Clearer Guidance Is Needed to Ensure Consistency
GAO-03-146: Published: Mar 28, 2003. Publicly Released: Apr 28, 2003.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) is in charge of addressing cleanup at the more than 9,000 U.S. properties that were formerly owned or controlled by the Department of Defense (DOD) and have been identified as potentially eligible for environmental cleanup. The Corps has determined that more than 4,000 of these properties have no hazards that require further Corps study or cleanup action. H...
National Forests: Information on the Process and Data Used to revise the Chugach Forest Plan
GAO-02-855: Published: Jul 26, 2002. Publicly Released: Jul 26, 2002.
The Chugach National Forest in Alaska is the second largest of the 155 forests in the National Forest System and stretches across an immensely varied and scenic area. The Forest Service revised the Chugach National Forest Plan in accordance with planning regulations that require the Forest Service to solicit and respond to public concerns in (1) identifying issues to be considered in revising the...
EPA's Science Advisory Board Panels: Improved Policies and Procedures Needed to Ensure Independence and Balance
GAO-01-536: Published: Jun 12, 2001. Publicly Released: Jul 16, 2001.
This report reviews whether the policies and procedures of the Environmental Protection Agency's Science Advisory Board ensure that (1) its peer review panelists are independent and the panels are properly balanced and (2) the public is sufficiently informed about the points of view represented on the panels. GAO found that the policies and procedures used by the staff office to ensure the indepen...
Air Pollution: Air Quality and Respiratory Problems in and Near the Great Smoky Mountains
GAO-01-658: Published: May 25, 2001. Publicly Released: May 25, 2001.
Concerns have been growing about the air quality, visibility, and respiratory illnesses around the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which straddles the border between North Carolina and Tennessee. This report analyzes recent trends in and contributing factors to (1) visibility impairments, (2) ground-level ozone, and (3) respiratory illnesses. This report also examines the Tennessee Valley Aut...
Environmental Protection: EPA Should Strengthen Its Efforts to Measure and Encourage Pollution Prevention
GAO-01-283: Published: Feb 21, 2001. Publicly Released: Mar 26, 2001.
Limited quantitative data exists on the extent to which American industry has sought to use pollution prevention methods to reduce pollutants discharged from its facilities. This shortcoming has inhibited the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) efforts to monitor and encourage companies' use of pollution prevention measures. Whether to undertake pollution prevention is typically a business dec...
Environmental Protection: Grants for International Activities and Smart Growth
RCED-00-145R: Published: May 31, 2000. Publicly Released: May 31, 2000.
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) grants for international activities and smart growth, focusing on the: (1) number, dollar amount, and recipients of international and smart growth grants; (2) purposes of and the activities pursuant to the grants; and (3) statutory bases that EPA cites for awarding these grants.GAO noted th...
Acid Rain: Emissions Trends and Effects in the Eastern United States
RCED-00-47: Published: Mar 9, 2000. Publicly Released: Mar 27, 2000.
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on acid rain emissions trends in the eastern United States, focusing on: (1) sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides emitted into the air at the national level; (2) deposition in the eastern United States and in three environmentally sensitive areas; (3) sulfates and nitrates in lakes in the Adirondack Mountains and the prospects for the lak...
Marine Pollution: Progress Made to Reduce Marine Pollution by Cruise Ships, but Important Issues Remain
RCED-00-48: Published: Feb 28, 2000. Publicly Released: Mar 7, 2000.
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the actions being taken by federal regulators and the cruise ship industry to prevent future illegal discharges of waste, focusing on: (1) the nature and extent of reported illegal discharge cases for foreign-flagged cruise ships from 1993 through 1998; (2) federal agencies' efforts to prevent, detect, investigate, and prosecute ille...
Federal Land Management: Comments on Selected Provisions of S. 1320--A Bill to Revise Federal Land Management Planning
T-RCED-99-270: Published: Jul 22, 1999. Publicly Released: Jul 22, 1999.
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the planning-related provisions of titles I and II of S. 1320--the Public Lands Planning and Management Improvement Act of 1999, focusing on the: (1) statutory basis for the Forest Service's mission priorities; (2) clarity of the mission statement in S. 1320; and (3) extent to which the bill addresses identified planning deficiencies.GAO noted tha...
Air Pollution: The Border Smog Reduction Act's Impact on Ozone Levels
RCED-99-212: Published: Jul 1, 1999. Publicly Released: Jul 1, 1999.
Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO provided information on the Border Smog Reduction Act's impact on ozone levels and the impact of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on ozone in the San Diego, California, area, focusing on: (1) estimates of the act's potential impact on ozone-causing chemicals in the San Diego area; and (2) trends in commercial border traffic and ozone levels...
Department of Energy: Voluntary Reporting Program for Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions
RCED-98-107R: Published: Mar 24, 1998. Publicly Released: Apr 28, 1998.
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on selected aspects of the Voluntary Reporting Program for Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions, focusing on the: (1) efforts taken to help ensure the accuracy of data collected by the Voluntary Reporting Program; (2) incentives for accurate reporting; (3) types of projects reported and their contributions to reducing greenhouse gas emis...
Air Pollution: Estimated Benefits and Costs of the Navajo Generating Station's Emissions Limit
RCED-98-28: Published: Jan 27, 1998. Publicly Released: Mar 2, 1998.
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) decision to limit sulfur dioxide emissions from the Navajo Generating Station, focusing on: (1) the effect on emissions reductions and the associated costs that resulted from the negotiated agreement used by EPA in making its decision compared to its initial proposal; (2) the visibility improvements the a...
Superfund: Times to Complete Site Listing and Cleanup
T-RCED-98-74: Published: Feb 4, 1998. Publicly Released: Feb 4, 1998.
GAO discussed two of its recent reports on the pace of cleanup in the Superfund program, focusing on the: (1) time taken to evaluate hazardous waste sites for possible placement on the National Priorities List (NPL) and the time to clean them up after the listing; and (2) status of cleanup for sites listed from 1986 to 1994.GAO noted that: (1) GAO's March 1997 report stated that the Environmental...
EPA: National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Particulate Matter--Final Rule and National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone
OGC-97-56: Published: Aug 4, 1997. Publicly Released: Aug 4, 1997.
Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO reviewed the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) two new rules on national ambient air quality standards. GAO found that: (1) the first rule would revise the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for particulate matter (PM); (2) the second rule would revise the NAAQS for ozone; (3) EPA states that these revised standards will provide increase...
Environmental Cleanup Costs: NASA Is Making Progress in Identifying Contamination, but More Effort Is Needed
NSIAD-97-98: Published: Jun 27, 1997. Publicly Released: Jul 28, 1997.
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) environmental cleanup costs, focusing on NASA's: (1) determination of the extent of contamination it may be responsible for cleaning up and progress in its cleanup program; (2) cost estimates for accomplishing cleanup; and (3) efforts to determine whether "potentially responsible parties" s...
Environmental Protection: Status of Defense Initiatives for Cleanup, Technology, and Compliance
NSIAD-97-126: Published: May 29, 1997. Publicly Released: Jun 30, 1997.
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed selected aspects of the Department of Defense's (DOD) environmental mission, focusing on: (1) the time lag between obligations and expenditures for environmental cleanup and its impact on achieving actual cleanup; (2) the basis for funding overseas cleanup; (3) DOD's proposal to enter into multistate cooperative agreements for technology certificat...
EPA: New Motor Vehicles and New Motor Vehicle Engines Air Pollution Control--Voluntary Standards for Light-Duty Vehicles
OGC-97-45: Published: Jun 20, 1997. Publicly Released: Jun 20, 1997.
Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO reviewed the Environmental Protection Agnecy's (EPA) new rule on new motor vehicles and new motor vehicle engine air pollution control. GAO noted that: (1) the rule would provide the main regulatory framework for the National Low Emission Vehicle program and create the means whereby automobile and light-duty truck manufacturers can volunteer to comply wit...
EPA's Costs of Preparing Regulatory Impact Analyses
RCED-97-15R: Published: Dec 6, 1996. Publicly Released: Jan 6, 1997.
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the costs the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) incurs in preparing regulatory impact analyses (RIA) to support EPA's implementation of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. GAO noted that: (1) EPA's Office of Air and Radiation, which has four program offices, does not have a systematic way to identify and track all of its costs for preparing R...
EPA: Nitrogen Oxides Emission Reduction Program
OGC-97-8: Published: Jan 3, 1997. Publicly Released: Jan 3, 1997.
Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO reviewed the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) new rule on the Nitrogen Oxides Emission Reduction Program. GAO found that: (1) the rule would promulgate standards for the second phase of the Nitrogen Oxides Reduction Program under Title IV of the Clean Air Act by establishing nitrogen oxides emission limitations for certain coal-fired electric utili...
Superfund: Status of Selected Federal Natural Resource Damage Settlements
RCED-97-10: Published: Nov 20, 1996. Publicly Released: Dec 20, 1996.
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the status of the settlements reached in the five largest federal natural resource damage cases, focusing on the: (1) number and status of the remaining settlements under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980; and (2) uses made of the collected funds.GAO found that: (1) as of July 1, 1996, in addition to...
Military Base Closures: Reducing High Costs of Environmental Cleanup Requires Difficult Choices
NSIAD-96-172: Published: Sep 5, 1996. Publicly Released: Sep 16, 1996.
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the costs of the Department of Defense's (DOD) environmental cleanup efforts under the base realignment and closure (BRAC) process, focusing on the: (1) reasons that cleanups are so costly; and (2) potential for reducing costs and the impact on program goals.GAO found that: (1) as of March 1996, DOD had allocated about $3.4 billion for the BRAC env...
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act: Inspections of Facilities Treating and Using Hazardous Waste Fuels Show Some Noncompliance
RCED-96-211: Published: Aug 30, 1996. Publicly Released: Sep 12, 1996.
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on five states' cement production facility inspections, focusing on their compliance with various Resource Conservation and Recovery Act regulations for processing hazardous waste fuels.GAO found that: (1) there was at least one minor violation of treatment, storage, and disposal regulations at 23 of the cement production facilities rev...
Environmental Protection: Status of Defense Initiatives for Cleanup, Compliance, and Technology
NSIAD-96-155: Published: Aug 2, 1996. Publicly Released: Aug 2, 1996.
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Department of Defense's (DOD) environmental cleanup, compliance, and technology activities.GAO found that: (1) recent DOD initiatives affecting environmental cleanup include efforts to focus funding on actual cleanup, instead of study and oversight, better target funds through the use of risk determination, and devolve the budget...
Time and Cost Limits on Superfund Removals
RCED-96-195R: Published: Jun 10, 1996. Publicly Released: Jun 26, 1996.
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on whether: (1) changes to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act's time and cost limits would ease constraints on non-time-critical removals; and (2) the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) believes that limits on non-time-critical removal actions are necessary or appropriate. GAO noted that: (1) mo...
Environmental Compliance: Continued Need for Guidance in Programming Defense Construction Projects
NSIAD-96-134: Published: Jun 21, 1996. Publicly Released: Jun 21, 1996.
Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD) prioritization of environmental compliance construction projects, focusing on: (1) the DOD construction program process; and (2) DOD cost estimates for future projects.GAO found that: (1) since GAO's November 1993 report, the services have initiated actions intended to improve their processes for programming and...
Environmental Protection Issue Area Plan--Fiscal Years 1995-97
IAP-96-24: Published: Jun 1, 1996. Publicly Released: Jun 1, 1996.
GAO provided information on its Environmental Protection issue area plan for fiscal years 1995 through 1997.GAO plans to: (1) evaluate the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) management and budget to help ensure that available resources are used efficiently and effectively; (2) assess the government's management of hazardous waste site cleanups; (3) review the implementation and cost-effective...
Approaches for Environmental Regulations
RCED-96-135R: Published: Apr 25, 1996. Publicly Released: May 6, 1996.
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the cost of complying with federal environmental laws and regulations. GAO found that: (1) beginning in 1990, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was required to generate standards for predetermined water and air contaminants within a rigid schedule; (2) the predetermination of contaminants and rigid schedule limited EPA capacity to identify...
Environmental Protection Issue Area: Active Assignments
AA-96-20(2): Published: Apr 6, 1996. Publicly Released: Apr 6, 1996.
GAO provided information on its active assignments in its Environmental Protection issue area as of April 6, 1996...
Forest Service: Issues Relating to Its Decisionmaking Process
T-RCED-96-66: Published: Jan 25, 1996. Publicly Released: Jan 25, 1996.
GAO discussed the Forest Service's process for developing forest management plans and reaching project-level decisions. GAO noted that: (1) the Forest Service often cannot achieve its objectives because changing natural conditions, new requirements and information, and funding levels affect the outcomes of its decisions; (2) the Forest Service has proposed removing some of its objectives from fore...
Environmental Protection Issue Area Plan--Fiscal Years 1995-97
IAP-95-23: Published: Sep 1, 1995. Publicly Released: Sep 1, 1995.
GAO presented its Environmental Protection issue area plan for fiscal years 1995 through 1997.GAO plans to: (1) provide information to aid Congress in reauthorizing and allocating funds to Superfund; (2) identify ways to improve the design and management of waste programs; (3) aid Congress in its oversight of control measures adopted under the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990; (4) assess states' p...
Air Pollution: EPA Data Gathering Efforts Would Have Imposed a Burden on States
AIMD-95-160: Published: Aug 7, 1995. Publicly Released: Aug 7, 1995.
GAO reviewed selected data collection and reporting requirements of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments, focusing on whether: (1) the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) planned state emissions reporting requirements exceed its program needs; and (2) states use the EPA Aerometric Information Retrieval System (AIRS) to monitor emissions data.GAO found that: (1) EPA draft regulation would have req...
Superfund: Information on Current Health Risks
RCED-95-205: Published: Jul 19, 1995. Publicly Released: Aug 1, 1995.
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the current health risks from Superfund sites, focusing on: (1) the extent to which sites may pose health risks under current land uses, as opposed to the risks that may develop if land uses change in the future; and (2) whether the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) short-term response actions to mitigate the health risks from...
EPA and the States: Environmental Challenges Require a Better Working Relationship
RCED-95-64: Published: Apr 3, 1995. Publicly Released: May 8, 1995.
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the difficulties that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the states have in implementing federal environmental protection requirements, focusing on the: (1) reasons for these difficulties; and (2) ways EPA and the states can improve their ability to carry out the requirements.GAO found that: (1) most states have had difficulty in impleme...
Department of Energy: National Priorities Needed for Meeting Environmental Agreements
RCED-95-1: Published: Mar 3, 1995. Publicly Released: Mar 3, 1995.
GAO reviewed the Department of Energy's (DOE) progress in cleaning up its nuclear weapons complex, focusing on: (1) its use of environmental agreements with state and federal regulators; and (2) the effectiveness of its cleanup strategy.GAO found that: (1) DOE has focused on collecting data and investigating sites, rather than the actual cleanup of sites; (2) DOE has only put a small amount of eff...
Environmental Cleanup: Defense Indemnification for Contractor Operations
NSIAD-95-27: Published: Nov 25, 1994. Publicly Released: Dec 20, 1994.
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed: (1) the military services' use of the National Defense Contracts Act to indemnify contractors for their environmental cleanup efforts; and (2) how the Department of Defense (DOD) reports its indemnification actions to Congress.GAO found that: (1) the Army and Navy have used the act to indemnify contractors' environmental restoration efforts at lea...