Hazardous substances (41 - 50 of 535 items)
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...
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...
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...
Hurricane Katrina: EPA's Current and Future Environmental Protection Efforts Could Be Enhanced by Addressing Issues and Challenges Faced on the Gulf Coast
GAO-07-651: Published: Jun 25, 2007. Publicly Released: Jun 25, 2007.
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina's impact on the Gulf Coast included damage to the environment from chemical and hazardous materials releases. Also, the widespread demolition and renovation activities still under way in New Orleans may release asbestos fibers into the air, posing a potential additional health risk. This report, conducted at the Comptroller General's initiative, addresses (1) the Environ...
Perchlorate: EPA Does Not Systematically Track Incidents of Contamination
GAO-07-797T: Published: Apr 25, 2007. Publicly Released: Apr 25, 2007.
Perchlorate has been used for decades by the Department of Defense, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the defense industry in manufacturing, testing, and firing missiles and rockets. Other uses include fireworks, fertilizers, and explosives. Perchlorate is readily dissolved and transported in water and has been found in groundwater, surface water, and soil across the country....
Leaking Underground Storage Tanks: EPA Should Take Steps to Better Ensure the Effective Use of Public Funding for Cleanups
GAO-07-152: Published: Feb 8, 2007. Publicly Released: Feb 22, 2007.
Underground storage tanks that leak hazardous substances can contaminate nearby groundwater and soil. Under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), tank owners and operators are primarily responsible for paying to clean up releases from their tanks. They can demonstrate their financial responsibility by using, among other options, publicly funded state financial assurance funds. Such fu...
Clean Air Act: EPA Should Improve the Management of Its Air Toxics Program
GAO-06-669: Published: Jun 23, 2006. Publicly Released: Jul 26, 2006.
The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) most recent data indicate that 95 percent of all Americans face an increased likelihood of developing cancer as a result of breathing air toxics--pollutants such as benzene and asbestos that may cause cancer or other serious health problems. Sources of air toxics include large industrial facilities, smaller facilities such as dry cleaners, and cars and t...
Clean Water: Better Information and Targeted Prevention Efforts Could Enhance Spill Management in the St. Clair-Detroit River Corridor
GAO-06-639: Published: Jun 7, 2006. Publicly Released: Jul 7, 2006.
Spills of oil and hazardous substances in the St. Clair-Detroit River corridor have degraded this border area between the United States and Canada and are a potential threat to local drinking water supplies. Within the United States such spills are reported to the National Response Center (NRC), and in Canada to the Ontario Spills Action Centre. This report discusses (1) how many oil and hazardous...
Superfund: Better Financial Assurances and More Effective Implementation of Institutional Controls Are Needed to Protect the Public
GAO-06-900T: Published: Jun 15, 2006. Publicly Released: Jun 15, 2006.
Under the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Superfund program, parties responsible for pollution bear the cost of cleaning it up. However, these parties sometimes no longer exist, leaving the problem for others, typically the federal government, to address. Furthermore, many sites' cleanup remedies leave some waste in place, relying on institutional controls--legal or administrative restrict...
Environmental Liabilities: Hardrock Mining Cleanup Obligations
GAO-06-884T: Published: Jun 14, 2006. Publicly Released: Jun 14, 2006.
Key federal environmental statutes, such as the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), which established the Superfund program, require that parties statutorily responsible for pollution bear the cost of cleaning up contaminated sites. In many cases, liable parties meet their cleanup responsibilities. Ho...