Environmental monitoring (51 - 60 of 833 items)
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...