Environmental monitoring (251 - 300 of 833 items)
Environmental Protection: Federal Planning Requirements for Transportation and Air Quality Protection Could Potentially Be More Efficient and Better Linked
GAO-03-581: Published: Apr 28, 2003. Publicly Released: May 8, 2003.
To protect the public from harmful emissions, transportation planners in areas with poor air must show that their plans will not make it worse. Every time they update their transportation improvement program (TIP) and their 20-year plan--every 2 and 3 years respectively--federal laws and regulations require that they ensure the emissions from their plans will not exceed the mobile source emissions...
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...
South Florida Ecosystem Restoration: Improved Science Coordination Needed to Increase the Likelihood of Success
GAO-03-518T: Published: Mar 26, 2003. Publicly Released: Mar 26, 2003.
Restoration of the South Florida ecosystem is a complex, long-term federal and state undertaking that requires the development of extensive scientific information. GAO was asked to report on the funds spent on scientific activities for restoration, the gaps that exist in scientific information, and the extent to which scientific activities are being coordinated.From fiscal years 1993 through 2002,...
South Florida Restoration: Task Force Needs to Improve Science Coordination to Increase the Likelihood of Success
GAO-03-345: Published: Mar 18, 2003. Publicly Released: Mar 26, 2003.
Restoration of the South Florida ecosystem is a significant federal and state priority, requiring the development and use of extensive scientific information. GAO was asked to report on the funds spent on scientific activities for restoration, the gaps that exist in scientific information, and the extent to which scientific activities are being coordinated.From fiscal years 1993 through 2002, fede...
Aviation and the Environment: Strategic Framework Needed to Address Challenges Posed by Aircraft Emissions
GAO-03-252: Published: Feb 28, 2003. Publicly Released: Mar 7, 2003.
Although noise has long been a problem around airports, the anticipated growth in demand for air travel has also raised questions about the effect of airport operations on air quality. Aviation-related emissions of nitrogen oxides, which contribute to the formation of ozone, have been of particular concern to many airport operators. A federal study at 19 airports estimated that, by 2010, aircraft...
Environmental Protection: Recommendations for Improving the Underground Storage Tank Program
GAO-03-529T: Published: Mar 5, 2003. Publicly Released: Mar 5, 2003.
Nationwide, underground storage tanks (UST) containing petroleum and other hazardous substances are leaking, thereby contaminating the soil and water, and posing health risks. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which implements the UST program with the states, required tank owners to install leak detection and prevention equipment by the end of 1993 and 1998 respectively. The Congress aske...
Water Quality: Improved EPA Guidance and Support Can Help States Develop Standards That Better Target Cleanup Efforts
GAO-03-308: Published: Jan 30, 2003. Publicly Released: Feb 13, 2003.
Water quality standards are composed of designated uses and criteria. These standards are critical in making accurate, scientifically based determinations about which of the nation's waters are in need of cleanup. To assess EPA and states' actions to improve standards, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment asked GAO to determine the extent to which (1) states are chan...
International Environment: U.S. Actions to Fulfill Committments Under Five Key Agreements
GAO-03-249: Published: Jan 29, 2003. Publicly Released: Feb 10, 2003.
Environmental problems do not respect national boundaries. These problems include (1) climate change, (2) drought and the expansion of degraded land, (3) environmental cooperation among the countries of North America, (4) illegal trade in endangered species, and (5) substances that deplete the earth's protective ozone layer. To address such problems, the United States and other nations have entere...
Livestock Agriculture: Increased EPA Oversight Will Improve Environmental Program for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations
GAO-03-285: Published: Jan 16, 2003. Publicly Released: Jan 28, 2003.
Congress is concerned that waste from animal feeding operations continues to threaten water quality. In light of this concern, GAO was asked to review the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) administration of its regulatory program for animal feeding operations and to determine the potential challenges states and EPA may face when they begin to implement the revisions to this program. GAO surv...
Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Department of the Interior
GAO-03-104: Published: Jan 1, 2003. Publicly Released: Jan 1, 2003.
In the 2001 performance and accountability report on the Department of the Interior (Interior), GAO identified important challenges facing the department in its management of ecosystem restoration efforts, Indian tribes, national parks, and land exchanges. The information GAO presents in this report is intended to help sustain congressional attention and a departmental focus on continuing to make...
Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Environmental Protection Agency
GAO-03-112: Published: Jan 1, 2003. Publicly Released: Jan 1, 2003.
In its 2001 performance and accountability report on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), GAO identified important challenges facing the agency in improving environmental information, developing a comprehensive human capital approach, and strengthening working relationships with the states. The information GAO presents in this report is intended to help to sustain congressional attention and...
National Park Service: Opportunities to Improve the Administration of the Alternative Transportation Program
GAO-03-166R: Published: Nov 15, 2002. Publicly Released: Dec 16, 2002.
In light of the increasing significance and potential costs of dealing with transportation in the national park system, we reviewed the Park Service's administration of the Alternative Transportation Program. Specifically, we are reporting on the Park Service's processes for (1) ensuring that alternative transportation projects are needed and cost-effective, and (2) evaluating the performance of t...
Air Pollution: Meeting Future Electricity Demand Will Increase Emission of Some Harmful Substances
GAO-03-49: Published: Oct 30, 2002. Publicly Released: Nov 12, 2002.
Electric power plants burn fuels that can produce harmful emissions, such as carbon dioxide, mercury, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxide, which can pose human health and environmental risks. To assess the potential risks of meeting future electricity demand, congressional committees asked GAO to (1) report on the Energy Information Administration's (EIA's) national and regional projections of suc...
Invasive Species: Clearer Focus and Greater Commitment Needed to Effectively Manage the Problem
GAO-03-1: Published: Oct 22, 2002. Publicly Released: Oct 22, 2002.
Harmful invasive species--nonnative plants and animals that are spreading throughout the United States--have caused billions of dollars in damage to natural areas, businesses, and consumers. In 2001, the federal government issued a National Invasive Species Management Plan to focus attention on invasive species and coordinate a national control effort involving the 20 or so federal agencies that a...
Environmental Contamination: Corps Needs to Reassess Its Determinations That Many Former Defense Sites Do Not Need Cleanup
GAO-02-658: Published: Aug 23, 2002. Publicly Released: Sep 23, 2002.
The Department of Defense (DOD) estimates that cleaning up contamination and hazards at thousands of properties that it formerly owned or controlled will take more than 70 years and cost as much as $20 billion. These formerly used defense sites (FUDS), which can range in size from less than an acre to many thousands of acres, are now used for parks, farms, schools, and homes. Hazards at these prop...
Environmental Protection: The Federal Government Could Help Communities Better Plan for Transportation That Protects Air Quality
GAO-02-988T: Published: Jul 30, 2002. Publicly Released: Jul 30, 2002.
Despite regulations limiting emissions and improved vehicle and fuel technologies, the air in many cities and towns still does not meet air quality standards. Vehicle emissions contain substances, including carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and volatile organic compounds, that degrade air quality and threaten public health and the environment. Vehicles emissions account for about one third to one-...
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...
International Environment: U.S. Actions to Fulfill Commitments Under Five Key Agreements
GAO-02-960T: Published: Jul 24, 2002. Publicly Released: Jul 24, 2002.
The United States is bound by five international environmental agreements related to climate change (Framework Convention), desertification (Desertification Convention), the earth's ozone layer (Montreal Protocol), endangered species (CITES), and North American environmental cooperation (North American Agreement). However, the United States fell short of meeting a commitment or pledge in two areas...
Endangered Species Program: Information on How Funds Are Allocated and What Activities Are Emphasized
GAO-02-581: Published: Jun 25, 2002. Publicly Released: Jul 16, 2002.
The Endangered Species Act of 1973 was enacted to conserve plant and animal species facing extinction as well as their habitats. The act requires that at-risk species that may be candidates for listing and conservation efforts be identified and listed as threatened or endangered, critical habitat that requires special management be identified, proposed projects that could harm the listed species b...
Forest Service: Scope and Methodology Used to Determine Number of Appeals and Legal Challenges of Fiscal Year 2001 Fuel Reduction Projects
GAO-02-920R: Published: Jul 9, 2002. Publicly Released: Jul 11, 2002.
Congress appropriated $205 million to the Forest Service for fiscal year 2001 to reduce hazardous accumulated fuels. In an effort to put as much of these appropriated monies on the ground as quickly as possible in fiscal year 2001, the Forest Service identified and funded those hazardous fuel reduction projects for which it had completed the necessary environmental analyses. As of July 2001, the F...
Air Pollution: Emissions from Older Electricity Generating Units
GAO-02-709: Published: Jun 12, 2002. Publicly Released: Jun 18, 2002.
Although fossil fuels--coal, natural gas, and oil--account for more than two thirds of the nation's electricity, generating units that burn these fuels are major sources of airborne emissions that pose health and environmental risks. To limit emissions and protect air quality, the Environmental Protection Agency regulates emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides from a variety of sources in...
Department of Transportation Report on Transporting Hazardous Materials
GAO-02-867R: Published: Jun 18, 2002. Publicly Released: Jun 18, 2002.
The Secretary of Transportation, in consultation with the Comptroller General, is required by the Department of Transportation and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for FY 2002 to study the transportation of hazardous and radioactive materials and its effects on public health and safety, the environment, and the economy. GAO has had no substantive consultation with the Department of Transportati...
Wildland Fire Management: Reducing the Threat of Wildland Fires Requires Sustained and Coordinated Effort
GAO-02-843T: Published: Jun 13, 2002. Publicly Released: Jun 13, 2002.
The over accumulation of vegetation is a serious problem, particularly in the interior West, where it is causing an increasing number of uncontrollable and destructive wildfires. The policy response to this was the development of the National Fire Plan--a long-term multibillion dollar effort to address wildland fire threats. GAO's work on wildland fires identified three needs: (1) a cohesive strat...
Environmental Protection: MTBE Contamination From Underground Storage Tanks
GAO-02-753T: Published: May 21, 2002. Publicly Released: May 21, 2002.
To help limit air pollution, about a third of the states use gasoline that contains methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), which burns cleaner. However, MTBE has migrated into wells and groundwater from leaking underground tanks used to store gasoline. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has the responsibility through the Underground Storage Tank Program and works through the states to ensure t...
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: Scientific Panel's Assessment of Fish and Wildlife Mitigation Guidance
GAO-02-574: Published: May 15, 2002. Publicly Released: May 15, 2002.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers must mitigate potential damage to fish and wildlife caused by dam construction, harbor dredging, and other projects. In the past, the Corps has acquired lands to replace lost habitat, created wetlands, or planted vegetation to stabilize soil and prevent erosion. The Corps' Civil Works Program deals with commercial navigation and flood damage, while its Regulatory P...
Environmental Protection: Improved Inspections and Enforcement Would Ensure Safer Underground Storage Tanks
GAO-02-712T: Published: May 8, 2002. Publicly Released: May 8, 2002.
Hazardous substances that leak from underground storage tanks can contaminate the soil and water and pose continuing health risks. Leaks of methyl tertiary butyl ether--a fuel additive--have forced several communities to close their wells. GAO surveyed all 50 states and the District of Columbia to determine whether tanks are compliant with the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) underground st...
Environmental Cleanup: Better Communication Needed for Dealing with Formerly Used Defense Sites in Guam
GAO-02-423: Published: Apr 11, 2002. Publicly Released: Apr 16, 2002.
Chemical testing kits from World War II containing diluted mustard gas and other chemicals have been discovered on Guam. The Department of Defense (DOD) is responsible for identifying and cleaning up contaminated military sites throughout the United States and its territories. In the mid-1990s, DOD scaled back its identification efforts nationally and focused its attention on Guam. It now relies o...
Agricultural Conservation: State Advisory Committees' Views on How USDA Programs Could Better Address Environmental Concerns
GAO-02-295: Published: Feb 22, 2002. Publicly Released: Mar 25, 2002.
Private landowners own more than two-thirds of the continental United States' 1.9 billion acres. Recognizing the critical role that private landowners play in managing soil, water, and wildlife habitat, Congress directed the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to improve stewardship practices on these lands. USDA currently has more than 70 million acres of privately-owned land enrolled in progra...
Air Quality: TVA Plans to Reduce Air Emissions Further, but Could Do More to Reduce Power Demand
GAO-02-301: Published: Mar 8, 2002. Publicly Released: Mar 22, 2002.
The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) relied on its 11 coal-burning plants to supply 60 percent of its electric power in fiscal year 2001. These plants account for almost all of TVA's emissions of two key air pollutants--sulfur dioxide (SO2), which has been linked to reduced visibility, and nitrogen oxides (NOx), which contribute to the formation of harmful ozone. To meet an increase in demand of 1...
Environmental Protection: Observations on Elevating the Environmental Protection Agency to Cabinet Status
GAO-02-552T: Published: Mar 21, 2002. Publicly Released: Mar 21, 2002.
This testimony comments on legislation that would elevate the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to Cabinet status. Today, EPA's mission, size, and scope of responsibilities place it on a par with many Cabinet departments. The United States is the only major industrial power without a Cabinet-level environmental organization. It is important to consider that (1) environmental policy be given ap...
Environmental Protection: Overcoming Obstacles to Innovative State Regulatory Programs
GAO-02-268: Published: Jan 31, 2002. Publicly Released: Mar 4, 2002.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issues regulations that states, localities, and private companies must comply with under the existing federal approach to environmental protection. This approach has been widely criticized for being costly, inflexible, and ineffective in addressing some of the nation's most pressing environmental problems. The states have used several methods to obtain EPA...
Severe Wildland Fires: Leadership and Accountability Needed to Reduce Risks to Communities and Resources
GAO-02-259: Published: Jan 31, 2002. Publicly Released: Jan 31, 2002.
Dangerous accumulations of brush, small trees, and other vegetation on federal lands, particularly in the western United States, have helped fuel devastating wildfires in recent years. Although a single focal point is critical for directing firefighting efforts by federal, state, and local governments, GAO found a lack of clearly defined leadership at the federal level. Authority and responsibilit...
Environmental Liabilities: Cleanup Costs From Certain DOD Operations Are Not Being Reported
GAO-02-117: Published: Dec 14, 2001. Publicly Released: Dec 14, 2001.
GAO examined the environmental cleanup costs of ongoing operations of the Department of Defense (DOD). These include general property, plant, and equipment facilities or other assets that are being operated or are in use at DOD installations. GAO found that DOD has not developed policies, procedures, and methodologies to ensure that cleanup costs required for all of its ongoing and inactive or clo...
Environmental Protection: Federal Incentives Could Help Promote Land Use That Protects Air and Water Quality
GAO-02-12: Published: Oct 31, 2001. Publicly Released: Nov 6, 2001.
Americans have become increasingly concerned about the downside of growth and development--increasing dependence on automobiles; worsening traffic congestion; and the loss of farmland, forests, and open space. Some are also concerned that "urban sprawl" can increase air and water pollution, endanger their health, and even threaten their livelihood. Most local transportation planners and state air...
Environmental Protection: Improved Inspections and Enforcement Would Ensure Safer Underground Storage Tanks
GAO-02-176T: Published: Nov 1, 2001. Publicly Released: Nov 1, 2001.
Contaminated soil or water resulting from leaks at underground storage tanks can pose serious health risks. In 1984, Congress created the Underground Storage Tank (UST) program to protect the public from potential leaks. Under the program, the Environmental Protection Agency required tank owners to install new leak detection equipment and new spill-, overfill-, and corrosion-prevention equipment....
National Parks: Significant Progress Made in Preserving the Presidio and Attaining Financial Self-Sufficiency
GAO-02-87: Published: Oct 4, 2001. Publicly Released: Oct 4, 2001.
The Presidio Trust--a wholly owned government corporation--was created in 1996 to manage a large part of the Presidio grounds using sound principles of land use planning and management while maintaining the area's scenic beauty and historic and natural character. The Trust is responsible for leasing, maintaining, rehabilitating, repairing, and improving the property it controls. The Trust must bec...
Agricultural Pesticides: Management Improvements Needed to Further Promote Integrated Pest Management
GAO-01-815: Published: Aug 17, 2001. Publicly Released: Sep 27, 2001.
Chemical pesticides play an important role in providing Americans with an abundant and inexpensive food supply. However, these chemicals can have adverse effects on human health and the environment, and pests continue to develop resistance to them. Sustainable and effective agricultural pest management will require continued development and increased use of alternative pest management strategies,...
Environmental Contamination: Cleanup Actions at Formerly Used Defense Sites
GAO-01-557: Published: Jul 31, 2001. Publicly Released: Sep 5, 2001.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimates that it will spend as much as $20 billion to clean up contamination at thousands of properties that were once owned, leased, or operated by the Defense Department (DOD). These properties contain hazardous, toxic, and radioactive wastes in the soil and water or in containers, such as underground storage tanks. The Corps is responsible for cleaning up the h...
Forest Service: Appeals and Litigation of Fuel Reduction Projects
GAO-01-1114R: Published: Aug 31, 2001. Publicly Released: Aug 31, 2001.
The nation's forests have undergone significant changes during the last century and a half. Human activities, especially the federal government's decades-old practice of suppressing all wildland fires, have resulted in the dangerous accumulation of hazardous fuel on federal lands. To help address this problem, Congress provided the Forest Service with more than $205 million in fiscal year 2001 to...
Military Base Closures: Overview of Economic Recovery, Property Transfer, and Environmental Cleanup
GAO-01-1054T: Published: Aug 28, 2001. Publicly Released: Aug 28, 2001.
This testimony reviews the progress of the Department of Defense's (DOD) base realignments and closures (BRAC) in 1988, 1991, 1993, and 1995 and the implementation of the BRAC Commissions' recommendations. Although some communities surrounding closed base areas are faring better than others, most are recovering from the initial economic impact of base closures. The short-term impact can be very tr...
Environmental Contamination: Cleanup Actions at Formerly Used Defense Sites, an E-supplement to GAO-01-557 (July 2001)
GAO-01-1012SP: Published: Jul 31, 2001. Publicly Released: Jul 31, 2001.
The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) estimates that it will spend at least $15 billion to $20 billion to clean up contamination and other hazards (hereafter hazards) at thousands of properties formerly owned, leased, possessed, or operated by the Department of Defense (DOD) or its components. These properties, located throughout the United States, are known as formerly used defense sites (FUD...
Invasive Species: Obstacles Hinder Federal Rapid Response to Growing Threat
GAO-01-724: Published: Jul 24, 2001. Publicly Released: Jul 31, 2001.
Invasive species--harmful, nonnative plants, animals, and microorganisms--are widespread throughout the United States, causing billions of dollars of damage annually to crops, rangelands, and waterways. An important part of pest control is quick action to eradicate or contain a potentially damaging invasive species. Federal rapid response to invasive species varies: species that threaten agricultu...
The National Fire Plan: Federal Agencies Are Not Organized to Effectively and Efficiently Implement the Plan
GAO-01-1022T: Published: Jul 31, 2001. Publicly Released: Jul 31, 2001.
This testimony discusses how federal agencies conduct fire management under the National Fire Plan. Effective fire management requires coordination, consistency, and agreement among five federal land management agencies in two departments--the National Park Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs in the Department of the Interior and...
Environmental Protection: Wider Use of Advanced Technologies Can Improve Emissions Monitoring
GAO-01-313: Published: Jun 22, 2001. Publicly Released: Jul 23, 2001.
To protect human health and safeguard the environment,the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates pollution generated by sewage treatment plants, power generation plants, chemical manufacturers, and pulp and paper mills. Monitoring is a key component of these efforts. Many of the technologies that are now being used to monitor environmental conditions have been in existence for decades. In...
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...
Wetlands Protection: Assessments Needed to Determine Effectiveness of In-Lieu-Fee Mitigation
GAO-01-325: Published: May 4, 2001. Publicly Released: May 30, 2001.
More than half the estimated 220 million acres of marshes, bogs, swamps, and other wetlands in the United States during the colonial times, have disappeared, and others have become degraded. This decline is due, primarily, to farming and development. Developers whose projects may harm wetlands must, according to environmental regulations, first avoid and then minimize adverse impacts to wetlands t...
Air Pollution: Air Quality and Respiratory Problems in and Near the Great Smoky Mountains
GAO-01-790T: 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 testimony analyzes recent trends in and contributing factors to (1) visibility impairments, (2) ground-level ozone, and (3) respiratory illnesses. This testimony also examines the Tennessee Vall...
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: Improved Inspections and Enforcement Would Better Ensure the Safety of Underground Storage Tanks
GAO-01-464: Published: May 4, 2001. Publicly Released: May 9, 2001.
The states and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cannot ensure that all active underground storage tanks have the required leak-, spill-, and overfill-protection equipment installed, nor can they guarantee that the installed equipment is being properly operated and maintained. Although the states and EPA regions focus most of their limited resources on monitoring active tanks, empty or ina...
Environmental Liabilities: DOD Training Range Cleanup Cost Estimates Are Likely Understated
GAO-01-479: Published: Apr 11, 2001. Publicly Released: Apr 11, 2001.
Because of concerns about the long-term budgetary implications associated with the environmental cleanup of the Department of Defense (DOD) training ranges, GAO examined (1) the potential magnitude of the cost to clean up these ranges in compliance with applicable laws and regulations, (2) the scope and reliability of DOD's training range inventory, and (3) the methodologies used to develop cost e...