Natural resources (71 - 80 of 496 items)
Payments to Counties: Shortcomings in Oversight and Implementation of Key Parts of the Secure Rural Schools Act May Be Addressed by Recent Agency Guidance
GAO-13-475T: Published: Mar 19, 2013. Publicly Released: Mar 19, 2013.
In July 2012 GAO reported that the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) had taken few actions to oversee county spending under Title III of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act, and that the guidance they provided was limited and in some cases did not appear consistent with the act. GAO also reported that some expenditures by selected counties may have been i...
Renewable Energy: Agencies Have Taken Steps Aimed at Improving the Permitting Process for Development on Federal Lands
GAO-13-189: Published: Jan 18, 2013. Publicly Released: Mar 13, 2013.
Since passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct 2005), federal land management agencies--primarily the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management (BLM)--have received hundreds of applications for utilityscale renewable energy projects and authorized 25 projects: 7 wind, 10 solar, and 8 geothermal projects. Applications for the majority of projects were withdrawn by the applicants...
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)...