Pollution control (31 - 40 of 380 items)
Coal Combustion Residue: Status of EPA's Efforts to Regulate Disposal
GAO-10-85R: Published: Oct 30, 2009. Publicly Released: Oct 30, 2009.
On December 22, 2008, a breach in a surface impoundment (or storage pond) dike at the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Kingston Fossil Plant in Tennessee resulted in the release of 5.4 million cubic yards of coal ash--also referred to as coal combustion residue (CCR)--into the nearby Emory River. The spill covered more than 300 acres and made 3 homes uninhabitable; it damaged 23 other homes, plus...
Superfund: Litigation Has Decreased and EPA Needs Better Information on Site Cleanup and Cost Issues to Estimate Future Program Funding Requirements
GAO-09-656: Published: Jul 15, 2009. Publicly Released: Aug 14, 2009.
Under the Superfund program, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) places the most seriously contaminated sites on the National Priorities List (NPL). EPA may compel site cleanups by parties responsible for contamination, or conduct cleanups itself and have these parties reimburse its costs. The program is funded by a trust fund, which is largely supported by general fund appropriations. GAO w...
Air Pollution: Air Quality, Visibility, and the Potential Impacts of Coal-Fired Power Plants on Great Basin National Park, Nevada
GAO-09-788R: Published: Jul 27, 2009. Publicly Released: Jul 27, 2009.
Great Basin National Park encompasses over 77,000 acres of White Pine County in east-central Nevada and is home to diverse geologic, topographic, and wildlife resources--including ancient bristlecone pines, the world's longest living tree species. The park was created to preserve a representative segment of the Great Basin Region and receives about 80,000 visitors annually. The park features numer...
Clean Air Act: Preliminary Observations on the Effectiveness and Costs of Mercury Control Technologies at Coal-Fired Power Plants
GAO-09-860T: Published: Jul 9, 2009. Publicly Released: Jul 9, 2009.
The 491 U.S. coal-fired power plants are the largest unregulated industrial source of mercury emissions nationwide, annually emitting about 48 tons of mercury--a toxic element that poses health threats, including neurological disorders in children. In 2000, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) determined that mercury emissions from these sources should be regulated, but the agency has not set...
Aviation and Climate Change: Aircraft Emissions Expected to Grow, but Technological and Operational Improvements and Government Policies Can Help Control Emissions
GAO-09-554: Published: Jun 8, 2009. Publicly Released: Jun 8, 2009.
Aircraft emit greenhouse gases and other emissions, contributing to increasing concentrations of such gases in the atmosphere. Many scientists and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)--a United Nations organization that assesses scientific, technical, and economic information on climate change--believe these gases may negatively affect the earth's climate. Given forecasts of growth...
Biomonitoring: EPA Needs to Coordinate Its Research Strategy and Clarify Its Authority to Obtain Biomonitoring Data
GAO-09-353: Published: Apr 30, 2009. Publicly Released: Jun 8, 2009.
Biomonitoring, which measures chemicals in people's tissues or body fluids, has shown that the U.S. population is widely exposed to chemicals used in everyday products. Some of these have the potential to cause cancer or birth defects. Moreover, children may be more vulnerable to harm from these chemicals than adults. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is authorized under the Toxic Substanc...
Hazardous Materials: Status of EPA's Efforts to Assess Sites That May Have Received Asbestos-Contaminated Ore from Libby, Montana
GAO-09-6R: Published: Mar 10, 2009. Publicly Released: Apr 22, 2009.
In October 2007, we reported on how the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other federal agencies had assessed and addressed risks at sites that were thought to have received asbestos-contaminated ore from a mine located in Libby, Montana, and the overall results of these efforts. As we noted at that time, EPA has identified hundreds of sites nationwide that are thought to have received mil...
Superfund: Greater EPA Enforcement and Reporting Are Needed to Enhance Cleanup at DOD Sites
GAO-09-278: Published: Mar 13, 2009. Publicly Released: Apr 16, 2009.
Prior to the 1980s and the passage of environmental legislation--particularly the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) governing environmental cleanup--Department of Defense (DOD) activities contaminated millions of acres of soil and water on and near DOD sites. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which enforces CERCLA, places the most contaminated...
Hazardous Materials: EPA's Assessment of Sites That May Have Received Asbestos-Contaminated Ore from Libby, Montana (GAO-09-7SP, March 2009), an E-supplement to GAO-09-6R
GAO-09-7SP: Published: Mar 10, 2009. Publicly Released: Mar 10, 2009.
Vermiculite, a fibrous mineral with many commercial and industrial uses, was mined in Libby, Montana, from 1923 through the early 1990s, when the mine was closed. While the mine was operating, ore was shipped to hundreds of processing and receiving sites throughout the United States. The vermiculite ore from the Libby mine was contaminated with asbestos. In 2000, EPA began cleaning up asbestos con...
Environmental Protection Agency: Major Management Challenges
GAO-09-434: Published: Mar 4, 2009. Publicly Released: Mar 4, 2009.
The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) overarching mission is to protect human health and the environment by implementing and enforcing environmental laws intended to improve the quality of the nation's air and water and to protect its land. EPA's policies and programs affect virtually all segments of the economy, society, and government. As such, it operates in a highly complex and controver...