Environmental law (11 - 20 of 114 items)
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...
Chemical Regulation: Approaches in the United States, Canada, and the European Union
GAO-06-217R: Published: Nov 4, 2005. Publicly Released: Nov 30, 2005.
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. While chemicals play an important role in everyday life, some may be harmful to human health and the environment. Some chemicals, such as lead and mercury, are highly toxic at certain doses and need to be regul...
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...
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...
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...
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...
Hazardous Waste: Effect of Proposed Rule's Extra Cleanup Requirements Is Uncertain
GAO-01-57: Published: Oct 20, 2000. Publicly Released: Nov 20, 2000.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed several amendments to its 1993 Corrective Action Management Unit (CAMU) rule. The CAMU rule currently allows agencies to set aside part of their hazardous waste site to deposit wastes without triggering the requirements of the Recovery Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). EPA's action is in response to a lawsuit alleging that the CAMU rule would...
Hazardous Waste: EPA Has Removed Some Barriers to Cleanups
RCED-00-224: Published: Aug 31, 2000. Publicly Released: Sep 14, 2000.
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) efforts to remove barriers to hazardous waste cleanup, focusing on: (1) cleanups of remediation waste at sites subject to the three Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) requirements; and (2) the management factors that had slowed the pace of cleanups under the corrective action pro...