Natural resources (81 - 90 of 496 items)
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...
EPA Regulations and Electricity: Better Monitoring by Agencies Could Strengthen Efforts to Address Potential Challenges
GAO-12-635: Published: Jul 17, 2012. Publicly Released: Aug 16, 2012.
It is uncertain how power companies may respond to four key Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations, but available information suggests companies may retrofit most coal-fueled generating units with controls to reduce pollution, and that 2 to 12 percent of coal-fueled capacity may be retired. Some regions may see more significant levels of retirements. For example, one study examined 11 s...
Air Pollution: EPA Needs Better Information on New Source Review Permits
GAO-12-590: Published: Jun 22, 2012. Publicly Released: Jul 23, 2012.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not maintain complete information on New Source Review (NSR) permits issued to fossil fuel electricity generating units. State and local permitting agencies track the NSR permits they issue, but EPA does not maintain complete or centralized information on permits, despite a 2006 recommendation by the National Research Council that it do so. EPA mainta...
Payment to Counties: More Clarity Could Help Ensure County Expenditures Are Consistent with Key Parts of the Secure Rural Schools Act
GAO-12-775: Published: Jul 16, 2012. Publicly Released: Jul 16, 2012.
Both the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) have provided limited oversight of county spending under Title III of the Secure Rural Schools Act. Neither agency has issued regulations, and guidance available from these agencies is limited and sometimes unclear about which types of expenditures are allowable under the act. In addition, their guidance appears to be inconsistent wit...
Nonpoint Source Water Pollution: Greater Oversight and Additional Data Needed for Key EPA Water Program
GAO-12-335: Published: May 31, 2012. Publicly Released: Jul 2, 2012.
Under section 319 of the Clean Water Act, state-selected projects to reduce nonpoint source pollution have helped restore more than 350 impaired water bodies since 2000, but other projects have encountered significant challenges. According to GAO survey results, 28 percent of projects did not achieve all objectives originally identified in the project proposal (e.g., implementing the desired numbe...
Nonpoint Source Water Pollution: Greater Oversight and Additional Data Needed for Key EPA Water Program, Survey of Section 319 Project Managers (GAO-12-377SP, May 2012), an E-supplement to GAO-12-335
GAO-12-377SP: Published: May 31, 2012. Publicly Released: Jul 2, 2012.
This e-supplement is a companion to our report titled, "Nonpoint Source Water Pollution: Greater Oversight and Additional Data Needed for Key EPA Water Program, GAO-12-335." The purpose of this e-supplement is to provide information from a web-based survey of section 319 project managers...
Oil Dispersants: Additional Research Needed, Particularly on Subsurface and Arctic Applications
GAO-12-585: Published: May 30, 2012. Publicly Released: Jun 29, 2012.
According to experts, agency officials, and specialists, much is known about the use of chemical dispersants on the surface of the water, but gaps remain in several research areas. For example, experts generally agreed that there is a basic understanding of the processes that influence where and how oil travels through the water, but that more research was needed to quantify the actual rate at whi...
Phosphate Mining: Oversight Has Strengthened, but Financial Assurances and Coordination Still Need Improvement
GAO-12-505: Published: May 4, 2012. Publicly Released: Jun 4, 2012.
Since 1996, federal agencies have taken several actions to strengthen their oversight of phosphate mining on federal land. For example, BLM now conducts more detailed environmental analysis when evaluating new mine plans; requires phosphate mine operators to provide more comprehensive plans for reclaiming mine sites (restoring the land to a stable condition that can support other uses); and requir...
Oil and Gas: Interior Has Strengthened Its Oversight of Subsea Well Containment, but Should Improve Its Documentation
GAO-12-244: Published: Feb 29, 2012. Publicly Released: Mar 30, 2012.
Since the Deepwater Horizon incident, the oil and gas industry has improved its capabilities to respond to a subsea well blowoutthe uncontrolled release of oil or gas from a well on the ocean floorin the Gulf of Mexico. In particular, operators have formed two new not-for-profit organizations that can quickly make available well containment equipment, services, and expertise. Among the...