Natural resources (51 - 100 of 495 items)
Oil and Gas Development: BLM Needs Better Data to Track Permit Processing Times and Prioritize Inspections
GAO-13-572: Published: Aug 23, 2013. Publicly Released: Sep 23, 2013.
Bureau of Land Management (BLM) data indicate that BLM received about half as many applications for permit to drill (APD) for federal oil and gas resources in fiscal year 2012 as it had in fiscal year 2007. The decline in APDs since 2007 was driven by declines in natural gas and coalbed methane APDs on federal lands even while oil development on federal lands increased significantly. The reasons B...
Climate Change: State Should Further Improve Its Reporting on Financial Support to Developing Countries to Meet Future Requirements and Guidelines
GAO-13-829: Published: Sep 19, 2013. Publicly Released: Sep 19, 2013.
To implement the United States' fast-start finance (FSF) commitment, the Department of State (State) reported that the United States contributed $7.5 billion in fiscal years 2010 through 2012 for a variety of activities related to climate change. State, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) provided $2.5 billion for activities under th...
Environmental Health: EPA Has Made Substantial Progress but Could Improve Processes for Considering Children's Health
GAO-13-254: Published: Aug 12, 2013. Publicly Released: Sep 11, 2013.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has made substantial progress in addressing more than half of the recommendations GAO made in a January 2010 report concerning the agency's efforts to protect children's health. Specifically, EPA has fully implemented five of the eight recommendations made by GAO. For example, for a recommendation that EPA ensure that its strategic plan expressly articulat...
Pesticides: EPA Should Take Steps to Improve Its Oversight of Conditional Registrations
GAO-13-145: Published: Aug 8, 2013. Publicly Released: Sep 9, 2013.
The total number of conditional registrations granted is unclear, as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that its data are inaccurate for several reasons. First, the database used to track conditional registrations does not allow officials to change a pesticide's registration status from conditional to unconditional once the registrant has satisfied all requirements, thereby overstat...
Wildland Fire Management: Improvements Needed in Information, Collaboration, and Planning to Enhance Federal Fire Aviation Program Success
GAO-13-684: Published: Aug 20, 2013. Publicly Released: Aug 20, 2013.
The Department of Agriculture's Forest Service and the Department of the Interior have undertaken nine major efforts since 1995 to identify the number and type of firefighting aircraft they need, but those efforts--consisting of major studies and strategy documents--have been hampered by limited information and collaboration. Specifically, the studies and strategy documents did not incorporate inf...
NOAA: Overview of the Strategy, Execution, and Evaluation Budgeting Process
GAO-13-649R: Published: Jun 28, 2013. Publicly Released: Jul 29, 2013.
In 2011, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) implemented a new budget development and execution process called Strategy Execution and Evaluation (SEE). This process includes seven steps, generally referred to by the names of the documents that capture the decisions made at that step. The first four steps in a SEE cycle cover planning, budget formulation, and budget submissio...
NOAA: Initial Response to Post-Storm Assessment Requirements
GAO-13-559R: Published: Jul 11, 2013. Publicly Released: Jul 11, 2013.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), in consultation with the Office of the Federal Coordinator for Meteorology (OFCM) and other agencies, has identified federal and nonfederal storm data collection efforts that may provide the covered data--specified in the act to include wind speeds, storm surge, and other measures--for a post-storm model required by the Consumer Option fo...
Nuclear Reactor License Renewal: NRC Generally Follows Documented Procedures, but Its Revisions to Environmental Review Guidance Have Not Been Timely
GAO-13-493: Published: May 30, 2013. Publicly Released: Jul 10, 2013.
The scope of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) license renewal process focuses on managing the effects of aging on a reactor and its associated systems, structures, and components (i.e. safety) and assessing certain potential environmental impacts of extending a reactor's operating-life. As a result, reviews done as part of this process are not required to address as many topics as reviews...
Forest Service Trails: Long- and Short-Term Improvements Could Reduce Maintenance Backlog and Enhance System Sustainability
GAO-13-618: Published: Jun 27, 2013. Publicly Released: Jun 27, 2013.
The Forest Service has more miles of trail than it has been able to maintain, resulting in a persistent maintenance backlog with a range of negative effects. In fiscal year 2012, the agency reported that it accomplished at least some maintenance on about 37 percent of its 158,000 trail miles and that about one-quarter of its trail miles met the agency's standards. The Forest Service estimated the...
Climate Change: Various Adaptation Efforts Are Under Way at Key Natural Resource Management Agencies
GAO-13-253: Published: May 31, 2013. Publicly Released: Jun 20, 2013.
Since 2007, the Forest Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Park Service have taken steps to establish strategic directions for addressing climate change adaptation. For example, the Forest Service developed a strategic framework document that established climate change adaptation as a central agency priority and anoth...
Chemical Assessments: An Agencywide Strategy May Help EPA Address Unmet Needs for Integrated Risk Information System Assessments
GAO-13-369: Published: May 10, 2013. Publicly Released: Jun 10, 2013.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has not conducted a recent evaluation of demand for Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) toxicity assessments with input from users inside and outside EPA. Specifically, EPA issued a needs assessment report in 2003, which estimated that 50 new or updated IRIS toxicity assessments were needed each year to meet users' needs. However, GAO did not find su...
Hazardous Waste Cleanup: Observations on States' Role, Liabilities at DOD and Hardrock Mining Sites, and Litigation Issues
GAO-13-633T: Published: May 22, 2013. Publicly Released: May 22, 2013.
States, in consultation with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), participate in the cleanup of hazardous waste sites in several ways. Under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) of 1980, sites that meet certain risk thresholds are eligible for placement on the National Priorities List (NPL)--a list that includes some of the nation's most contamin...
Funding for 10 States' Programs Supported by Four Environmental Protection Agency Categorical Grants
GAO-13-504R: Published: May 6, 2013. Publicly Released: May 21, 2013.
State environmental agencies use federal grants from the Environmental Protection Agency, in addition to their own funds, to help implement and enforce the nation's environmental laws, including the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Safe Drinking Water Act. Under this approach the states have an important role as partners and co-regulators, and, among other things, issue and enforce perm...
Oil and Gas Management: Continued Attention to Interior's Revenue Collection and Human Capital Challenges Is Needed
GAO-13-647T: Published: May 16, 2013. Publicly Released: May 16, 2013.
Interior's oversight of offshore resources. In July 2012, GAO reported on changes to the Department of the Interior's oversight of offshore oil and gas activities in the Gulf of Mexico following the Deepwater Horizon incident. Specifically, GAO reported that Interior had established two new bureaus, separating resource management oversight activities from safety and environmental oversight activit...
Climate Change: Future Federal Adaptation Efforts Could Better Support Local Infrastructure Decision Makers
GAO-13-242: Published: Apr 12, 2013. Publicly Released: May 14, 2013.
According to the National Research Council (NRC) and others, infrastructure such as roads and bridges, wastewater systems, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) centers are vulnerable to changes in the climate. Changes in precipitation and sea levels, as well as increased intensity and frequency of extreme events, are projected by NRC and others to impact infrastructure in a var...
Superfund: EPA Should Take Steps to Improve Its Management of Alternatives to Placing Sites on the National Priorities List
GAO-13-252: Published: Apr 9, 2013. Publicly Released: May 10, 2013.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) most commonly addresses the cleanup of sites it has identified as eligible for the National Priorities List (NPL) by deferring oversight of the cleanup to approaches outside of the Superfund program. As of December 2012, of the 3,402 sites EPA identified as potentially eligible, EPA has deferred oversight of 1,984 sites to approaches outside the Superfund...
Department of Energy: Observations on Project and Program Cost Estimating in NNSA and the Office of Environmental Management
GAO-13-510T: Published: May 8, 2013. Publicly Released: May 8, 2013.
For more than a decade, GAO has reported on the challenges the Department of Energy's (DOE) National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and the Office of Environmental Management (EM) have faced in meeting their projects' cost performance targets as developed in estimates and for ensuring that these cost estimates are based on sound assumptions. NNSA and EM are included on GAO's High-Risk List...
Toxic Substances: EPA Has Increased Efforts to Assess and Control Chemicals but Could Strengthen Its Approach
GAO-13-249: Published: Mar 22, 2013. Publicly Released: Apr 29, 2013.
Since 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has made progress implementing its new approach to managing toxic chemicals under its existing Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) authority; particularly by increasing efforts to obtain chemical toxicity and exposure data and initiating chemical risk assessments--which EPA uses, along with other information, to decide what regulatory or other...
Department of Energy: Concerns with Major Construction Projects at the Office of Environmental Management and NNSA
GAO-13-484T: Published: Mar 20, 2013. Publicly Released: Mar 20, 2013.
In response to GAO reports over the past few years on management weaknesses in major projects (i.e., those costing $750 million or more), the Department of Energy (DOE) has undertaken a number of reforms since March 2009, including those overseen by the Office of Environmental Management (EM) and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). For example, DOE has updated program and project...
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)...
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...
Electronic Waste: Actions Needed to Provide Assurance That Used Federal Electronics Are Disposed of in an Environmentally Responsible Manner
GAO-12-74: Published: Feb 17, 2012. Publicly Released: Mar 19, 2012.
Over the past decade, the executive branch has taken steps to improve the management of used federal electronics. Notably, in 2003, EPA helped to pilot the Federal Electronics Challenge (FEC)a voluntary partnership program that encourages federal facilities and agencies to purchase environmentally friendly electronic products, reduce the impacts of these products during their use, and manage...
Endangered Sea Turtles: Better Coordination, Data Collection, and Planning Could Improve Federal Protection and Recovery Efforts
GAO-12-242: Published: Jan 31, 2012. Publicly Released: Mar 1, 2012.
The services have coordinated some sea turtle protection efforts, including jointly developing recovery plans, and they established a memorandum of understanding in 1977 to define their roles in joint administration of their efforts. Nevertheless, neither the memorandum nor the services have clearly defined how and when the services are to coordinate; also, the services do not consistently share i...
Station Fire: Forest Service's Response Offers Potential Lessons for Future Wildland Fire Management
GAO-12-155: Published: Dec 16, 2011. Publicly Released: Dec 16, 2011.
The Station Fire started on the afternoon of August 26, 2009, in steep terrain covered with highly flammable vegetation during very dry conditions. After escaping initial containment efforts, the Station Fire underwent periods of rapid growth and extreme fire behavior over the following several days, ultimately threatening thousands of homes in nearby communities. In response, the Forest Service a...
Mississippi River: Actions Are Needed to Help Resolve Environmental and Flooding Concerns about the Use of River Training Structures
GAO-12-41: Published: Dec 9, 2011. Publicly Released: Dec 9, 2011.
For more than 130 years the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) has used dikes to "train" the Mississippi River channel and maintain adequate depth for navigation. The Corps relies heavily on these structures--including some with more recent designs--in the Middle Mississippi, between the confluences of the Missouri and Ohio Rivers. Over the past few decades, some researchers have raised concerns...
Green Building: Federal Initiatives for the Nonfederal Sector Could Benefit from More Interagency Collaboration
GAO-12-79: Published: Nov 2, 2011. Publicly Released: Dec 2, 2011.
Economic, environmental, and health concerns have spurred interest in "green building"--construction and maintenance practices designed to make efficient use of resources, reduce environmental problems, and provide long-term financial and health benefits. Federal laws and executive orders direct agencies to meet green building standards in federal buildings and to foster green building in the nonf...
Arizona Border Region: Federal Agencies Could Better Utilize Law Enforcement Resources in Support of Wildland Fire Management Activities
GAO-12-73: Published: Nov 8, 2011. Publicly Released: Nov 22, 2011.
Wildland fires can result from both natural and human causes. Human-caused wildland fires are of particular concern in Arizona--especially within 100 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border because this is a primary area of entry for illegal border crossers and GAO has previously reported that illegal border crossers have been suspected of igniting wildland fires. Over half of the land in the Arizona bord...
Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Actions Needed to Reduce Evolving but Uncertain Federal Financial Risks
GAO-12-86: Published: Oct 24, 2011. Publicly Released: Oct 24, 2011.
On April 20, 2010, an explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig leased by BP America Production Company (BP) resulted in a significant oil spill. GAO was requested to (1) identify the financial risks to the federal government resulting from oil spills, particularly Deepwater Horizon, (2) assess the Coast Guard's internal controls for ensuring that processes and payments for spill-related cost rei...
EPA Health Risk Assessments: Oversight and Sustained Management Key to Overcoming Challenges
GAO-12-148T: Published: Oct 6, 2011. Publicly Released: Oct 6, 2011.
This testimony discusses our prior work on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) program and database. IRIS is one of the most significant tools that EPA has developed to support its mission to protect people and the environment from harmful chemical exposures. The IRIS database contains EPA's scientific position on the potential human health effects...
Hazardous Waste: Early Goals Have Been Met in EPA's Corrective Action Program, but Resource and Technical Challenges Will Constrain Future Progress
GAO-11-514: Published: Jul 22, 2011. Publicly Released: Aug 25, 2011.
Years of industrial development generated hazardous waste that, when improperly disposed of, poses risks to human health and the environment. To mitigate these risks, Congress passed the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 (RCRA). Subtitle C of RCRA, as amended, requires owners or operators to take corrective actions to clean up contamination at facilities that treat, store, or dispose...
Environmental Protection Agency: To Better Fulfill Its Mission, EPA Needs a More Coordinated Approach to Managing Its Laboratories
GAO-11-347: Published: Jul 25, 2011. Publicly Released: Aug 24, 2011.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) operates 37 laboratories to provide the scientific foundation for its mission. Over the past 20 years, independent evaluations have identified problems with the laboratories' operations and management and called for improved planning, coordination, and leadership, as well as consolidation of laboratories. In its 2012 budget, EPA requested $2 million for an...
Abandoned Mines: Information on the Number of Hardrock Mines, Cost of Cleanup, and Value of Financial Assurances
GAO-11-834T: Published: Jul 14, 2011. Publicly Released: Jul 14, 2011.
The General Mining Act of 1872 helped foster the development of the West by giving individuals exclusive rights to mine gold, silver, copper, and other hardrock minerals on federal land. However, miners often abandoned mines, leaving behind structures, safety hazards, and contaminated land and water. Four federal agencies--the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Office...