Natural resources (1 - 10 of 495 items)
High Risk: Federal Management Challenges Related to Indian Energy Resources
GAO-17-434T: Published: Feb 15, 2017. Publicly Released: Feb 15, 2017.
In three prior reports on Indian energy development, GAO found that the Department of the Interior's (Interior) Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) has inefficiently managed Indian energy resources and the development process and thereby limited opportunities for tribes and their members to use those resources to create economic benefits and improve the well-being of their communities. GAO has also rep...
Renewable Fuel Standard: Program Unlikely to Meet Production or Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets
GAO-17-264T: Published: Dec 1, 2016. Publicly Released: Dec 1, 2016.
It is unlikely that the goals of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)—to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and expand the nation's renewable fuels sector while reducing reliance on imported oil—will be met as envisioned because there is limited production of advanced biofuels and limited potential for expanded production by 2022. Advanced biofuels, such as cellulosic ethanol and biomass-based diese...
Oil and Gas Oversight: Interior Has Taken Steps to Address Staff Hiring, Retention, and Training but Needs a More Evaluative and Collaborative Approach
GAO-16-742: Published: Sep 29, 2016. Publicly Released: Oct 31, 2016.
The Department of the Interior has taken steps to resolve its hiring and retention challenges for key staff engaged in oil and gas activities, but it has not evaluated the effectiveness of its efforts and has missed opportunities to collaborate within the department for resolving these challenges. Specifically, Interior has taken steps to address two underlying factors—lower salaries and a lengt...
Advanced Technologies: Strengthened Federal Approach Needed to Help Identify and Mitigate Supply Risks for Critical Raw Materials
GAO-16-699: Published: Sep 7, 2016. Publicly Released: Oct 3, 2016.
Federal agencies are primarily focused on two areas of activity related to critical materials supply—assessing risk and supporting research. For example, the Department of Energy (DOE) has conducted two criticality assessments on materials important to clean energy applications and manages the Critical Materials Institute—a 5-year, $120 million investment aimed at mitigating risks by diversify...
Oil and Gas: Interior Could Do More to Account for and Manage Natural Gas Emissions
GAO-16-607: Published: Jul 7, 2016. Publicly Released: Jul 21, 2016.
The Department of the Interior's (Interior) guidance to oil and gas operators on its reporting requirements has limitations that may hinder the extent to which it can account for natural gas emissions on onshore federal lands (leases). Interior is required to ensure that oil and gas operations are conducted in a manner that minimizes waste. As part of its oversight activities, Interior requires op...
Municipal Freshwater Scarcity: Survey of Technology Adoption by Municipal Water Utilities (GAO-16-588SP, April 29, 2016), an E-supplement to GAO-16-474
GAO-16-588SP: Published: Apr 29, 2016. Publicly Released: Apr 29, 2016.
This is an e-supplement to GAO-16-474. This e-supplement presents the results of GAO's web-based survey of 1,303 U.S. municipal water utilities. The survey asked questions about: (1) the technologies utilities use to improve water distribution efficiency; (2) the technologies they use to treat nontraditional water sources; (3) the challenges they face in using such technologies; and (4) the basic...
Tongass National Forest: Forest Service's Actions Related to Its Planned Timber Program Transition
GAO-16-456: Published: Apr 25, 2016. Publicly Released: Apr 25, 2016.
The Forest Service has initiated some steps to assess whether its planned transition to young-growth harvest on the Tongass National Forest will support a viable timber industry in southeast Alaska—a goal the Department of Agriculture (USDA) established as part of the transition. For example, the Forest Service reported refining the data it uses to estimate the amount of young-growth timber to b...
High-Containment Laboratories: Comprehensive and Up-to-Date Policies and Stronger Oversight Needed
GAO-16-566T: Published: Apr 20, 2016. Publicly Released: Apr 19, 2016.
Most of the 8 departments and 15 agencies that GAO reviewed had policies that were not comprehensive, and some departments and agencies had policies that were not up to date. Specifically, policies at 5 departments and 9 agencies were not comprehensive because they did not contain all six elements that GAO identified as key for managing biological agents in high-containment laboratories. These ele...
Drinking Water: EPA Needs to Collect Information and Consistently Conduct Activities to Protect Underground Sources of Drinking Water
GAO-16-281: Published: Feb 26, 2016. Publicly Released: Mar 28, 2016.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has not collected specific inspection and complete or consistent enforcement information, or consistently conducted oversight activities, to assess whether state and EPA-managed Underground Injection Control (UIC) class II programs are protecting underground sources of drinking water. EPA guidance calls for states and EPA regions to report certain informat...
Offshore Oil and Gas Resources: Actions Needed to Better Protect Against Billions of Dollars in Federal Exposure to Decommissioning Liabilities
GAO-16-40: Published: Dec 18, 2015. Publicly Released: Jan 19, 2016.
The Department of the Interior (Interior) has developed procedures to oversee the decommissioning of offshore oil and gas infrastructure and estimate costs associated with decommissioning liabilities but has not addressed limitations with its system for tracking cost estimates. According to officials, Interior's procedures include (1) identifying and tracking unused infrastructure, (2) reviewing l...