Natural resources (71 - 80 of 494 items)
Water Quality: EPA Faces Challenges in Addressing Damage Caused by Airborne Pollutants
GAO-13-39: Published: Jan 24, 2013. Publicly Released: Feb 25, 2013.
Atmospheric deposition of nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and mercury contributes to the impairment of the nation's waters, but the full extent is not known. For example, states provide EPA with data on the extent to which their waterbodies do not meet water quality standards, and some states have reported that some of their waterbodies are polluted because of atmospheric deposition....
Pipeline Permitting: Interstate and Intrastate Natural Gas Permitting Processes Include Multiple Steps, and Time Frames Vary
GAO-13-221: Published: Feb 15, 2013. Publicly Released: Feb 15, 2013.
Both the interstate and intrastate natural gas pipeline permitting processes are complex and can involve multiple federal, state, and local agencies, as well as public interest groups and citizens, and include multiple steps. The interstate process involves a voluntary pre-filing phase, an application phase, and a post-authorization phase with multiple steps that stakeholders reported to be consis...
Government Reorganization: Potential Benefits and Drawbacks of Merging the National Marine Fisheries Service into the Fish and Wildlife Service
GAO-13-248: Published: Feb 14, 2013. Publicly Released: Feb 14, 2013.
While the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) share certain key programmatic responsibilities, they also have programmatic responsibilities unique to each agency. The agencies largely carry out their shared responsibilities independently. For example, both agencies implement the Endangered Species Act, but NMFS generally does so for species found in mar...
Helium Program: Urgent Issues Facing BLM's Storage and Sale of Helium Reserves
GAO-13-351T: Published: Feb 14, 2013. Publicly Released: Feb 14, 2013.
Since GAO's reports in the early 1990s, the Helium Privatization Act of 1996 has caused considerable changes to the helium program and addressed or altered GAO's prior concerns. In 1992, GAO reported on various aspects of the federal helium program including the helium debt, pricing, and alternatives for meeting federal helium needs.Helium debt. In 1992, GAO recommended that Congress cancel the he...
Hanford Waste Treatment Plant: DOE Needs to Take Action to Resolve Technical and Management Challenges
GAO-13-38: Published: Dec 19, 2012. Publicly Released: Jan 18, 2013.
The Department of Energy (DOE) faces significant technical challenges in successfully constructing and operating the Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant (WTP) project that is to treat millions of gallons of highly radioactive liquid waste resulting from the production of nuclear weapons. DOE and Bechtel National, Inc. identified hundreds of technical challenges that vary in significance and p...
Mineral Resources: Mineral Volume, Value, and Revenue
GAO-13-45R: Published: Nov 15, 2012. Publicly Released: Dec 12, 2012.
In summary, there were nearly 70 different types of leasable minerals extracted from federal lands and waters in fiscal years 2010 and 2011, but their volume cannot be aggregated because they use different units of measure. For example, the volumes of the four most valuable of these minerals--oil, gas, natural gas liquids, and coal--are measured in barrels, million cubic feet (mcf), gallons, and t...
Electricity: Significant Changes Are Expected in Coal-Fueled Generation, but Coal is Likely to Remain a Key Fuel Source
GAO-13-72: Published: Oct 29, 2012. Publicly Released: Nov 28, 2012.
Retirements of older units, retrofits of existing units with pollution controls, and the construction of some new coal-fueled units are expected to significantly change the coal-fueled electricity generating fleet, making it capable of emitting lower levels of pollutants than the current fleet but reducing its future electricity generating capacity. Two broad trends are affecting power companies'...
Rural Water Infrastructure: Additional Coordination Can Help Avoid Potentially Duplicative Application Requirements
GAO-13-111: Published: Oct 16, 2012. Publicly Released: Oct 16, 2012.
Funding for rural water and wastewater infrastructure is fragmented across the three federal programs GAO reviewed, leading to program overlap and possible duplication of effort when communities apply for funding from these programs. The three federal water and wastewater infrastructure programs--the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Drinking Water and Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF)...
Oil and Gas: Information on Shale Resources, Development, and Environmental and Public Health Risks
GAO-12-732: Published: Sep 5, 2012. Publicly Released: Oct 9, 2012.
Estimates of the size of shale oil and gas resources in the United States by the Energy Information Administration (EIA), U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and the Potential Gas Committee--three organizations that estimate the size of these resources--have increased over the last 5 years, which could mean an increase in the nation's energy portfolio. For example, in 2012, EIA estimated that the amoun...
Unconventional Oil and Gas Development: Key Environmental and Public Health Requirements
GAO-12-874: Published: Sep 5, 2012. Publicly Released: Oct 9, 2012.
As with conventional oil and gas development, requirements from eight federal environmental and public health laws apply to unconventional oil and gas development. For example, the Clean Water Act (CWA) regulates discharges of pollutants into surface waters. Among other things, CWA requires oil and gas well site operators to obtain permits for discharges of produced waterwhich includes fluid...