Environmental monitoring (51 - 100 of 121 items)
Environmental Protection: Recommendations for Improving the Underground Storage Tank Program
GAO-03-529T: Published: Mar 5, 2003. Publicly Released: Mar 5, 2003.
Nationwide, underground storage tanks (UST) containing petroleum and other hazardous substances are leaking, thereby contaminating the soil and water, and posing health risks. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which implements the UST program with the states, required tank owners to install leak detection and prevention equipment by the end of 1993 and 1998 respectively. The Congress aske...
Water Quality: Improved EPA Guidance and Support Can Help States Develop Standards That Better Target Cleanup Efforts
GAO-03-308: Published: Jan 30, 2003. Publicly Released: Feb 13, 2003.
Water quality standards are composed of designated uses and criteria. These standards are critical in making accurate, scientifically based determinations about which of the nation's waters are in need of cleanup. To assess EPA and states' actions to improve standards, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment asked GAO to determine the extent to which (1) states are chan...
National Park Service: Opportunities to Improve the Administration of the Alternative Transportation Program
GAO-03-166R: Published: Nov 15, 2002. Publicly Released: Dec 16, 2002.
In light of the increasing significance and potential costs of dealing with transportation in the national park system, we reviewed the Park Service's administration of the Alternative Transportation Program. Specifically, we are reporting on the Park Service's processes for (1) ensuring that alternative transportation projects are needed and cost-effective, and (2) evaluating the performance of t...
Environmental Contamination: Corps Needs to Reassess Its Determinations That Many Former Defense Sites Do Not Need Cleanup
GAO-02-658: Published: Aug 23, 2002. Publicly Released: Sep 23, 2002.
The Department of Defense (DOD) estimates that cleaning up contamination and hazards at thousands of properties that it formerly owned or controlled will take more than 70 years and cost as much as $20 billion. These formerly used defense sites (FUDS), which can range in size from less than an acre to many thousands of acres, are now used for parks, farms, schools, and homes. Hazards at these prop...
Wildland Fire Management: Reducing the Threat of Wildland Fires Requires Sustained and Coordinated Effort
GAO-02-843T: Published: Jun 13, 2002. Publicly Released: Jun 13, 2002.
The over accumulation of vegetation is a serious problem, particularly in the interior West, where it is causing an increasing number of uncontrollable and destructive wildfires. The policy response to this was the development of the National Fire Plan--a long-term multibillion dollar effort to address wildland fire threats. GAO's work on wildland fires identified three needs: (1) a cohesive strat...
Environmental Cleanup: Better Communication Needed for Dealing with Formerly Used Defense Sites in Guam
GAO-02-423: Published: Apr 11, 2002. Publicly Released: Apr 16, 2002.
Chemical testing kits from World War II containing diluted mustard gas and other chemicals have been discovered on Guam. The Department of Defense (DOD) is responsible for identifying and cleaning up contaminated military sites throughout the United States and its territories. In the mid-1990s, DOD scaled back its identification efforts nationally and focused its attention on Guam. It now relies o...
Agricultural Conservation: State Advisory Committees' Views on How USDA Programs Could Better Address Environmental Concerns
GAO-02-295: Published: Feb 22, 2002. Publicly Released: Mar 25, 2002.
Private landowners own more than two-thirds of the continental United States' 1.9 billion acres. Recognizing the critical role that private landowners play in managing soil, water, and wildlife habitat, Congress directed the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to improve stewardship practices on these lands. USDA currently has more than 70 million acres of privately-owned land enrolled in progra...
Environmental Protection: Observations on Elevating the Environmental Protection Agency to Cabinet Status
GAO-02-552T: Published: Mar 21, 2002. Publicly Released: Mar 21, 2002.
This testimony comments on legislation that would elevate the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to Cabinet status. Today, EPA's mission, size, and scope of responsibilities place it on a par with many Cabinet departments. The United States is the only major industrial power without a Cabinet-level environmental organization. It is important to consider that (1) environmental policy be given ap...
Environmental Protection: Improved Inspections and Enforcement Would Ensure Safer Underground Storage Tanks
GAO-02-176T: Published: Nov 1, 2001. Publicly Released: Nov 1, 2001.
Contaminated soil or water resulting from leaks at underground storage tanks can pose serious health risks. In 1984, Congress created the Underground Storage Tank (UST) program to protect the public from potential leaks. Under the program, the Environmental Protection Agency required tank owners to install new leak detection equipment and new spill-, overfill-, and corrosion-prevention equipment....
National Parks: Significant Progress Made in Preserving the Presidio and Attaining Financial Self-Sufficiency
GAO-02-87: Published: Oct 4, 2001. Publicly Released: Oct 4, 2001.
The Presidio Trust--a wholly owned government corporation--was created in 1996 to manage a large part of the Presidio grounds using sound principles of land use planning and management while maintaining the area's scenic beauty and historic and natural character. The Trust is responsible for leasing, maintaining, rehabilitating, repairing, and improving the property it controls. The Trust must bec...
Environmental Contamination: Cleanup Actions at Formerly Used Defense Sites
GAO-01-557: Published: Jul 31, 2001. Publicly Released: Sep 5, 2001.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimates that it will spend as much as $20 billion to clean up contamination at thousands of properties that were once owned, leased, or operated by the Defense Department (DOD). These properties contain hazardous, toxic, and radioactive wastes in the soil and water or in containers, such as underground storage tanks. The Corps is responsible for cleaning up the h...
Environmental Contamination: Cleanup Actions at Formerly Used Defense Sites, an E-supplement to GAO-01-557 (July 2001)
GAO-01-1012SP: Published: Jul 31, 2001. Publicly Released: Jul 31, 2001.
The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) estimates that it will spend at least $15 billion to $20 billion to clean up contamination and other hazards (hereafter hazards) at thousands of properties formerly owned, leased, possessed, or operated by the Department of Defense (DOD) or its components. These properties, located throughout the United States, are known as formerly used defense sites (FUD...
Environmental Protection: Wider Use of Advanced Technologies Can Improve Emissions Monitoring
GAO-01-313: Published: Jun 22, 2001. Publicly Released: Jul 23, 2001.
To protect human health and safeguard the environment,the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates pollution generated by sewage treatment plants, power generation plants, chemical manufacturers, and pulp and paper mills. Monitoring is a key component of these efforts. Many of the technologies that are now being used to monitor environmental conditions have been in existence for decades. In...
EPA's Science Advisory Board Panels: Improved Policies and Procedures Needed to Ensure Independence and Balance
GAO-01-536: Published: Jun 12, 2001. Publicly Released: Jul 16, 2001.
This report reviews whether the policies and procedures of the Environmental Protection Agency's Science Advisory Board ensure that (1) its peer review panelists are independent and the panels are properly balanced and (2) the public is sufficiently informed about the points of view represented on the panels. GAO found that the policies and procedures used by the staff office to ensure the indepen...
Environmental Protection: Improved Inspections and Enforcement Would Better Ensure the Safety of Underground Storage Tanks
GAO-01-464: Published: May 4, 2001. Publicly Released: May 9, 2001.
The states and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cannot ensure that all active underground storage tanks have the required leak-, spill-, and overfill-protection equipment installed, nor can they guarantee that the installed equipment is being properly operated and maintained. Although the states and EPA regions focus most of their limited resources on monitoring active tanks, empty or ina...
Environmental Protection: Information on EPA Project Grants and Use of Waiver Authority
GAO-01-359: Published: Mar 9, 2001. Publicly Released: Mar 9, 2001.
This report provides information on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) management and oversight of project grants. Specifically, GAO examines (1) the dollar amounts of project grants EPA awarded in fiscal years 1996 through 1999 and the program activities they funded, by grantee type; (2) how the activities funded by the project grants align with the Government Performance and Results Act...
Superfund: EPA's Contract Cost-Estimating Initiatives Show Promise and Should Be Monitored
GAO-01-302: Published: Mar 2, 2001. Publicly Released: Mar 2, 2001.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which manages the cleanup of the nation's most hazardous abandoned sites through the Superfund program, relies heavily on contractors to conduct its cleanup activities. Currently, EPA spends about 50 percent of its approximately $1.5 billion annual Superfund budget on contractors. With so much at stake, it is critical that the government get the best cont...
Brownfields: Information on the Programs of EPA and Selected States
GAO-01-52: Published: Dec 15, 2000. Publicly Released: Jan 16, 2001.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and several states reviewed by GAO have established financial assistance programs to encourage the assessment, cleanup, and redevelopment of brownfields. The programs run by EPA and the states differ in certain aspects, however. Namely, there are differences in the forms of assistance provided, the eligibility criteria, and overall strategies. From fiscal...
National Park Service: Agency Should Recover Costs of Validity Examinations for Mining Claims
RCED-00-265: Published: Sep 19, 2000. Publicly Released: Oct 19, 2000.
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the federal costs of conducting validity examinations at three California Desert parks, focusing on whether: (1) data are available on the National Park Service's costs of conducting validity examinations at these parks since 1994; and (2) the Park Service recovers the costs of such examinations from claimants.GAO noted that: (1) the...
Superfund: Extent to Which Most Reforms Have Improved the Program Is Unknown
RCED-00-118: Published: May 12, 2000. Publicly Released: Jun 8, 2000.
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Superfund program administrative reforms, focusing on the: (1) reforms' demonstrated results and the performance measures EPA uses to gauge these results; and (2) legislative changes to the program that either EPA or key stakeholders--including, among others, officials representing parties responsible for...
Environmental Protection: Grants for International Activities and Smart Growth
RCED-00-145R: Published: May 31, 2000. Publicly Released: May 31, 2000.
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) grants for international activities and smart growth, focusing on the: (1) number, dollar amount, and recipients of international and smart growth grants; (2) purposes of and the activities pursuant to the grants; and (3) statutory bases that EPA cites for awarding these grants.GAO noted th...
Tongass National Forest: Process Used to Modify the Forest Plan
RCED-00-45: Published: Apr 17, 2000. Publicly Released: May 3, 2000.
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Tongass National Forest's revised forest plan, focusing on the: (1) process used by the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to modify the management direction in the 1997 plan and decide the appeals on the basis of the modified plan; (2) reasons the administration chose to use the process; and (3) reactions to the modifications and the process.GAO...
Air Pollution: EPA's Actions to Resolve Concerns with the Fine Particulate Monitoring Program
RCED-99-215: Published: Aug 12, 1999. Publicly Released: Aug 27, 1999.
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the National Academy of Sciences March 1998 report on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) plans to monitor particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns (PM2.5), focusing on: (1) EPA's actions in response to the Academy's concerns with the planned PM2.5 monitoring program; and (2) the challenges that state and local agencies face in establish...
Superfund: EPA Can Improve Its Monitoring of Superfund Expenditures
RCED-99-139: Published: May 11, 1999. Publicly Released: Jun 10, 1999.
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Superfund Program expenditures, focusing on: (1) the relative shares of Superfund expenditures for contractor cleanup work, site-specific support, and non-site-specific support; (2) the activities carried out with the EPA's cleanup support spending, particularly its non-site-specific spendi...
Superfund: Progress Made by EPA and Other Federal Agencies to Resolve Program Management Issues
RCED-99-111: Published: Apr 29, 1999. Publicly Released: Apr 29, 1999.
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on: (1) the efforts that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the other federal agencies with major cleanup responsibilities have made to set priorities for spending limited cleanup funds at the hazardous waste sites posing the highest risks to human health and the environment; (2) EPA's actions to recover its expenditures for...
Western National Forests: A Cohesive Strategy is Needed to Address Catastrophic Wildfire Threats
RCED-99-65: Published: Apr 2, 1999. Publicly Released: Apr 16, 1999.
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on: (1) the extent and seriousness of forest-health-related problems in national forests in the interior West; (2) the status of efforts by the Forest Service to address the most serious of these problems; and (3) barriers to successfully addressing these problems and options for overcoming them.GAO noted that: (1) the most extensive an...
Nuclear Waste: Understanding of Waste Migration at Hanford is Inadequate for Key Decisions
RCED-98-80: Published: Mar 13, 1998. Publicly Released: Mar 23, 1998.
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Energy's (DOE) efforts to develop an understanding of conditions in the vadose zone, focusing on: (1) the adequacy of DOE's current understanding of the extent to which waste materials are moving through the vadose zone; and (2) DOE's current strategy for investigating vadose zone conditions.GAO noted that: (1) DOE's own reviews c...
Superfund: Stronger EPA-State Relationship Can Improve Cleanups and Reduce Costs
RCED-97-77: Published: Apr 24, 1997. Publicly Released: May 28, 1997.
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on: (1) the lessons learned from five states that have had significant experience in leading Superfund cleanups; and (2) how the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can help to ensure that interested states are successful in their efforts to take on increased Superfund responsibilities.GAO noted that: (1) on the basis of GAO's review...
Tongass National Forest: Lack of Accountability for Time and Costs Has Delayed Forest Plan Revision
T-RCED-97-153: Published: Apr 29, 1997. Publicly Released: Apr 29, 1997.
GAO discussed the decisionmaking process being used by the Forest Service to revise the land management plan for the Tongass National Forest in southeastern Alaska.GAO noted that its work on the Forest Service's process for revising the Tongass forest plan showed that: (1) the Service originally planned to spend 3 years revising the plan; (2) at the end of 3 years, the agency had spent about $4 mi...
National Parks: Park Service Needs Better Information to Preserve and Protect Resources
T-RCED-97-76: Published: Feb 27, 1997. Publicly Released: Feb 27, 1997.
GAO discussed its views on the National Park Service's (NPS) knowledge of the condition of the resources that the agency is entrusted to protect within the National Park System.GAO noted that: (1) GAO's work has shown that although NPS acknowledges, and its policies emphasize, the importance of managing parks on the basis of sound scientific information about resources, today such information is s...
Natural Resource Restoration Issues at DOE
RCED-97-28R: Published: Dec 18, 1996. Publicly Released: Jan 10, 1997.
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed: (1) factors other than unresolved legal issues that could affect the Department of Energy's (DOE) potential liability for natural resource damages under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act; and (2) DOE sites' efforts to integrate considerations about natural resource restoration into cleanup activities. GAO no...
Environmental Protection Issue Area--Active Assignments
AA-97-20(1): Published: Jan 2, 1997. Publicly Released: Jan 2, 1997.
GAo provided information on its active assignments in the Environmental Protection issue area as of January 2, 1997...
Superfund: Status of Selected Federal Natural Resource Damage Settlements
RCED-97-10: Published: Nov 20, 1996. Publicly Released: Dec 20, 1996.
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the status of the settlements reached in the five largest federal natural resource damage cases, focusing on the: (1) number and status of the remaining settlements under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980; and (2) uses made of the collected funds.GAO found that: (1) as of July 1, 1996, in addition to...
Environmental Protection Issue Area: Active Assignments
AA-96-20(4): Published: Sep 3, 1996. Publicly Released: Sep 3, 1996.
GAO presented information on its active assignments in the Environmental Protection issue area as of September 3, 1996...
National Park Service: Activities Within Park Borders Have Caused Damage to Resources
RCED-96-202: Published: Aug 23, 1996. Publicly Released: Aug 23, 1996.
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed internal threats to the national parks' resources, focusing on the: (1) National Park Service's (NPS) information on the number and types of internal threats; (2) damage these threats have caused; (3) change in the severity of these threats over the past decade; and (4) NPS actions to mitigate these threats.GAO found that: (1) because NPS does not...
Superfund: Number and Value of Natural Resource Damage Claims
T-RCED-95-246: Published: Jul 11, 1995. Publicly Released: Jul 11, 1995.
GAO discussed the number and value of natural resource damage claims under the Superfund Program. GAO noted that: (1) 98 natural resource damage settlements had been reached as of April 1995, totalling about $106 million; (2) in comparison, responsible parties had settled Superfund cleanup agreements valued at about $10.2 billion through fiscal year 1994; (3) some outstanding cases may involve sub...
Superfund: Status of Natural Resource Damage Claims
T-RCED-95-239: Published: Jun 30, 1995. Publicly Released: Jun 30, 1995.
GAO discussed natural resources damage claim settlements under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). GAO noted that: (1) as of April 1995, federal agencies had settled 98 natural resource damage claims for an estimated total of $106 million, with most cases requiring no payments or payments of less than $200,000; (2) the value of these settlements is s...
Department of Energy: National Priorities Needed for Meeting Environmental Agreements
RCED-95-1: Published: Mar 3, 1995. Publicly Released: Mar 3, 1995.
GAO reviewed the Department of Energy's (DOE) progress in cleaning up its nuclear weapons complex, focusing on: (1) its use of environmental agreements with state and federal regulators; and (2) the effectiveness of its cleanup strategy.GAO found that: (1) DOE has focused on collecting data and investigating sites, rather than the actual cleanup of sites; (2) DOE has only put a small amount of eff...
[Comments on EPA Authority to Exempt Clean-Fuel Vehicles from Transportation Control Measures]
B-255548: Published: Oct 18, 1994. Publicly Released: Oct 18, 1994.
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO commented on whether the Clean Air Act authorizes the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to: (1) exempt clean fuel fleet vehicles from state-imposed high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane restrictions; and (2) establish standards for Inherently Low Emission Vehicles (ILEV) for the purpose of giving ILEV relief from HOV restrictions.GAO found that EPA is: (1)...
Ecosystem Management: Additional Actions Needed to Adequately Test a Promising Approach
T-RCED-94-308: Published: Sep 20, 1994. Publicly Released: Sep 20, 1994.
GAO discussed the ecosystem management approach to managing the nation's lands and natural resources, focusing on: (1) the status of federal initiatives to implement ecosystem management; (2) additional actions needed to implement this approach; and (3) barriers to governmentwide implementation. GAO noted that: (1) the four primary federal land management agencies have taken steps to implement eco...
Ecosystem Management: Additional Actions Needed to Adequately Test a Promising Approach
RCED-94-111: Published: Aug 16, 1994. Publicly Released: Sep 19, 1994.
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed federal efforts to implement an ecosystem management approach, focusing on the: (1) additional actions that are needed to implement the approach; and (2) barriers to governmentwide implementation.GAO found that: (1) all four of the federal land management agencies plan to develop and implement ecosystem approaches to managing their lands and natura...
Environmental Issues in Central and Eastern Europe: U.S. Efforts to Help Resolve Institutional and Financial Problems
RCED-94-41: Published: May 31, 1994. Publicly Released: Jul 1, 1994.
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on environmental protection efforts in central and eastern Europe, focusing on: (1) central and eastern European governments' institutional capacities for addressing environmental problems; (2) the extent and use of U.S. environmental assistance to each region; and (3) the problems in developing and implementing a U.S. environmental pro...
Natural Resources: Lessons Learned Regarding Public Land Withdrawn for Military Use
T-NSIAD-94-227: Published: Jun 29, 1994. Publicly Released: Jun 29, 1994.
GAO discussed Department of Defense (DOD) and Department of Interior management of lands withdrawn for military use. GAO noted that: (1) military commanders at five withdrawn sites have changed some training activities due to environmental constraints; (2) military operations have hampered the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) resource management activities and caused BLM to assign a low priority...
Natural Resources: Defense and Interior Can Better Manage Land Withdrawn for Military Use
NSIAD-94-87: Published: Apr 26, 1994. Publicly Released: May 26, 1994.
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD) and federal resource agencies' management of six legislatively withdrawn lands, focusing on: (1) the extent to which resource management activities and military operations have affected each other; and (2) whether opportunities exist to improve resource management programs at the six locations.GAO found that: (1) t...
National Park Service: Activities Outside Park Borders Have Caused Damage to Resources and Will Likely Cause More
RCED-94-59: Published: Jan 3, 1994. Publicly Released: Feb 9, 1994.
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the National Park Service's actions to: (1) identify the number, type, and source of external threats to park resources; (2) identify resources that have been damaged by external threats; and (3) mitigate such damage.GAO found that: (1) the Park Service has no complete inventory of existing external threats, their sources, or the actions being take...
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: An Assessment of Interior's Estimate of an Economically Viable Oil Field
RCED-93-130: Published: Jul 9, 1993. Publicly Released: Aug 10, 1993.
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the accuracy of the Department of the Interior's 1991 estimate of potential oil resources in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), focusing on whether: (1) economically viable quantities exist; (2) Interior used an adequate methodology; and (3) Interior's geologic and economic assumptions were reasonable.GAO found that: (1) although the exten...
Water Resources: Federal Efforts to Monitor and Coordinate Responses to Drought
RCED-93-117: Published: Jun 8, 1993. Publicly Released: Jul 13, 1993.
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the federal government's response to drought, focusing on the: (1) data gathered and used by federal agencies to report drought conditions; and (2) federal mechanisms to plan, monitor, and coordinate the government's response to drought.GAO found that: (1) three federal agencies have primary responsibility for collecting drought data and sharing th...
Hazardous Materials: Upgrading of Underground Storage Tanks Can Be Improved to Avoid Costly Cleanups
NSIAD-92-117: Published: May 13, 1992. Publicly Released: Jul 10, 1992.
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Defense (DOD) program for handling its underground storage tanks, focusing on: (1) the type and number of tanks owned by DOD; and (2) DOD efforts to comply with both federal and state requirements, identify and prevent leaks and spills, and correct environmental damage from leaking tanks.GAO found that: (1) in 1989, DOD owned 30,6...
Rangeland Management: Profile of the Bureau of Land Management's Grazing Allotments and Permits
RCED-92-213FS: Published: Jun 10, 1992. Publicly Released: Jun 19, 1992.
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO presented information on livestock grazing on public rangeland managed by the Bureau of Land Management, focusing on: (1) the number, average acreage, and average stocking rate of BLM allotments; and (2) the total and average number of animal unit months covered by grazing permits.GAO found that, as of September 1991: (1) BLM administered 22,058 allotments...
Environmental Enforcement: Alternative Enforcement Organizations for EPA
RCED-92-107: Published: Apr 14, 1992. Publicly Released: May 22, 1992.
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO evaluated the advantages and disadvantages of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) current and alternative organizational structures for enforcement responsibilities.GAO found that: (1) while the current organizational structure promotes the integration of enforcement with other agency functions, it also requires enforcement to compete with other pro...