Environmental monitoring (21 - 30 of 276 items)
Electronic Waste: Harmful U.S. Exports Flow Virtually Unrestricted Because of Minimal EPA Enforcement and Narrow Regulation
GAO-08-1166T: Published: Sep 17, 2008. Publicly Released: Sep 17, 2008.
Increasingly, U.S. consumers are recycling their old electronics to prevent the environmental harm that can come from disposal. Concerns have grown, however, that some U.S. companies are exporting these items to developing countries, where unsafe recycling practices can damage health and the environment. Items with cathode-ray tubes (CRTs) are particularly harmful because they contain lead, a know...
Hurricane Katrina: Continuing Debris Removal and Disposal Issues
GAO-08-985R: Published: Aug 25, 2008. Publicly Released: Aug 25, 2008.
In 2005, as a result of Hurricane Katrina, more than 1,600 people lost their lives and more than a million were driven from their homes on the Gulf Coast. Tens of thousands of homes in New Orleans were flooded, many requiring either demolition or gutting before reconstruction. Nearly 3 years later, the New Orleans area still faces significant debris management issues and challenges. For example, t...
Chemical Safety Board: Improvements in Management and Oversight Are Needed
GAO-08-864R: Published: Aug 22, 2008. Publicly Released: Aug 22, 2008.
The principal role of the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) is to investigate accidental releases of regulated or extremely hazardous substances to determine the conditions and circumstances that led to the accident and to identify the cause or causes so that similar accidents might be prevented. Accidental releases of these toxic and hazardous chemicals occur frequently and oft...
Nuclear Waste: DOE Lacks Critical Information Needed to Assess Its Tank Management Strategy at Hanford
GAO-08-793: Published: Jun 30, 2008. Publicly Released: Jun 30, 2008.
The Department of Energy (DOE) manages more than 56 million gallons of radioactive and hazardous waste stored in 149 single-shell and 28 double-shell underground tanks at its Hanford Site in Washington State. Many of these aging tanks have already leaked waste into the soil. Meanwhile, DOE's planned process for emptying the tanks and treating the waste--mixing it with molten glass and solidifying...
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...
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...