This is the accessible text file for GAO report number GAO-05-1053T entitled 'Hurricane Katrina: Providing Oversight of the Nation's Preparedness, Response, and Recovery Activities' which was released on September 28, 2005. This text file was formatted by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to be accessible to users with visual impairments, as part of a longer term project to improve GAO products' accessibility. Every attempt has been made to maintain the structural and data integrity of the original printed product. Accessibility features, such as text descriptions of tables, consecutively numbered footnotes placed at the end of the file, and the text of agency comment letters, are provided but may not exactly duplicate the presentation or format of the printed version. The portable document format (PDF) file is an exact electronic replica of the printed version. We welcome your feedback. Please E-mail your comments regarding the contents or accessibility features of this document to Webmaster@gao.gov. This is a work of the U.S. government and is not subject to copyright protection in the United States. It may be reproduced and distributed in its entirety without further permission from GAO. Because this work may contain copyrighted images or other material, permission from the copyright holder may be necessary if you wish to reproduce this material separately. Testimony Before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, Committee on Energy and Commerce, House of Representatives: United States Government Accountability Office: GAO: For Release on Delivery Expected at 10:00 a.m. EDT: Wednesday, September 28, 2005: Hurricane Katrina: Providing Oversight of the Nation's Preparedness, Response, and Recovery Activities: Statement of Norman J. Rabkin, Managing Director, Homeland Security and Justice Issues: GAO-05-1053T: GAO Highlights: Highlights of GAO-05-1053T, a testimony before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, Committee on Energy and Commerce, House of Representatives: Why GAO Did This Study: Hurricane Katrina will have an enormous impact on people and the economy of the United States. The hurricane affected over a half million people located in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama and has resulted in one of the largest natural disaster relief and recovery operations in United States history. In terms of public health, standing water and high temperatures have created a breeding ground for disease, and public health advisories have warned about the spread of disease in the affected areas. Hurricane Katrina also resulted in environmental challenges, such as water and sediment contamination from toxic materials released into the floodwaters. In addition, our nation’s energy infrastructure was hard hit; it affected 21 refineries. In terms of telecommunications, Hurricane Katrina knocked out radio and television stations, more than 3 million customer phone lines, and more than a thousand cell phone sites. GAO prepared this testimony to highlight past work on government programs related to Hurricane Katrina and other natural disasters, and to provide information on plans and coordination among the accountability community—GAO, the Inspectors General, and other auditors at the state and local level What GAO Found: GAO’s past work has noted a host of needed improvements in a variety of government programs related to Hurricane Katrina and other natural disasters. For example, GAO found that there have been a number of challenges in preparing health care providers for catastrophic events. In addition, GAO’s work on energy issues has noted the interconnectedness of our petroleum markets and revealed the vulnerability of these markets to disruptions, natural or otherwise. GAO’s environmental work has indicated that the loss of wetlands has increased the severity of damage from hurricanes, and that cleanup of contaminated sites takes a tremendous amount of coordination and funding. Finally, GAO’s work on telecommunications issues has found that interoperable emergency communications are challenged by insufficient collaboration among federal, state, and local governments. In these areas, among others, GAO has made a number of recommendations which are still open. While GAO has issued a number of relevant reports in the past, the accountability community has an active future agenda for evaluating the nation’s response to Hurricane Katrina. The DHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) has developed a plan to coordinate Katrina-related oversight activities with the OIGs of 12 other departments and agencies, focusing on waste, fraud, and abuse. GAO plans to provide the Congress with more strategic evaluations to assess the federal, state, local, and private sector preparedness, response and recovery efforts related to Hurricane Katrina. GAO also plans to be involved in reviewing the overall accounting of and use of Katrina-related funds by federal agencies. Rescue Workers Search a Home in Flooded New Orleans: [See PDF for image] [End of figure] Source: U.S. Coast Guard. www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-05-1053T. To view the full product, including the scope and methodology, click on the link above. For more information, contact Norman J. Rabkin at (202) 512-8777 or email@example.com. [End of section] Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee: I am pleased to be here today to discuss oversight of the nation's response to Hurricane Katrina. As Comptroller General Walker has stated, while the Inspectors General of the various departments plan to conduct detailed work on fraud, waste, and abuse in individual programs in federal agencies, GAO plans to provide support to Congress through analysis and evaluation of the various issues related to coordination among different federal agencies, and between these federal agencies and the state, local, and private sectors. The Comptroller General has also stated that GAO will be involved in reviewing the overall funding for and use of Katrina-related funding by various federal agencies. In addition, GAO has conducted several related reviews in the past-- including reviews of federal actions following Hurricane Andrew in 1992--that will be helpful in evaluating the nation's response to Hurricane Katrina. Before I begin my detailed comments, I want to say that, as you know, all of us at the U.S. Government Accountability Office, as all Americans, were saddened by the destruction that Hurricane Katrina caused throughout the Gulf Coast in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama on August 29, 2005, and the ensuing days. One of the many roles of government is to provide for its citizens at a time when they are most in need. Because of Hurricane Katrina, it is clear that strengthening the nation's emergency response efforts is at the top of the national agenda. While this testimony is a dispassionate and analytical discussion of some of the challenges faced by the nation, we recognize the terrible costs of Hurricane Katrina in human terms and our hearts go out to the victims and their families. Hurricane Katrina will have an enormous impact on people and the economy of the Gulf Coast as well as the United States. The hurricane affected over a half million people located within approximately 90,000 square miles spanning Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, and has resulted in one of the largest natural disaster relief and recovery operations in United States history. Many of the sectors affected by the hurricane are within the jurisdiction of the Committee on Energy and Commerce. In terms of public health, standing water and high temperatures have created a breeding ground for disease, and public health advisories have warned about the spread of disease in the affected areas. The medical needs of evacuees will be an additional challenge; many evacuees are without medical records and at risk of losing their medical coverage. Hurricane Katrina also resulted in environmental challenges, such as water and sediment contamination from toxic materials released into the floodwaters. In addition, our nation's energy infrastructure was hard hit. The Department of Energy reported that 21 refineries in affected states were either shut down or operating at reduced capacity in the aftermath of the hurricane. Damaged transmission lines left as many as 2.3 million customers without electricity. The hurricane also disrupted commerce. According to the Department of Commerce, the ports damaged by Hurricane Katrina accounted for 4.5 percent of total exports of goods from the United States last year, and 5.4 percent of total U.S. imports. Finally, in terms of telecommunications, the Federal Communications Commission reported that Hurricane Katrina knocked out radio and television stations, more than 3 million customer phone lines, and more than a thousand cell phone sites. In my statement today I will highlight some of GAO's previous work on challenges faced by government preparedness, response, and recovery programs, many of which are directly related to this committee's jurisdiction. For future work, GAO will continue to provide this committee and Congress with independent analysis and evaluations, and coordinate our efforts with the accountability community to ensure appropriate oversight of federal programs and spending. As provided for in our congressional protocols, we plan to conduct Katrina-related work under the Comptroller General's statutory authority since it is an issue of interest to the entire Congress and numerous committees in both houses. My statement is based upon our extensive work spanning a wide variety of topics over a number of years. Much of this work was done relatively recently in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the subsequent creation of the Department of Homeland Security in March 2003. In all, we have published over 120 reports on disaster preparedness and response, and other issues raised by Katrina, which are useful in moving forward in addressing problems encountered with the nation's response to the hurricane. At the end of this statement is a comprehensive list of our related products. Summary: Our past work has noted needed improvements in government programs related to preparing for, responding to, and recovering from natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina. Many of these challenges relate to programs under the jurisdiction of the Energy and Commerce Committee. For example, health care providers have not always been adequately prepared for catastrophic events. The health care community has been addressing some of these challenges, such as those involving coordination efforts and communications systems, more readily than others, such as infrastructure and workforce issues, which are more resource-intensive. Our work on energy issues has described some of the consequences of hurricanes on petroleum markets--such as rapid gasoline price increases. Our environmental work has indicated that the loss of wetlands has increased the severity of damage from hurricanes, and that cleanup of contaminated sites takes a tremendous amount of coordination and funding. Finally, our work on telecommunications issues has found that first responders are challenged by a lack of interoperable emergency communications. In these areas, among others, we have made a number of recommendations, many of which are still pending completion. Past GAO Work Has Highlighted Needed Improvements in Many Programs Related to Preparedness, Response, and Recovery: There are a host of challenges to government programs related to Hurricane Katrina and other natural disasters in terms of preparedness, response, and recovery. Our work on preparedness--programs to prevent disasters or prepare to respond in advance--has identified needed improvements in a number of areas, including balancing efforts to prepare for terrorism with efforts related to natural disasters and all hazards; planning preparedness efforts and setting goals and measures; providing training, exercises, evaluations, and lessons learned to first responders; providing flood control and protection; improving public health preparedness; and providing federal grants to state and local governments. Similarly, our work on response to disasters has identified a number of problems. These relate to federal, state and local roles in coordinating the response; the role of the military, to include the National Guard; and the medical and public health response capabilities. Furthermore, our work on recovery--programs to help communities and victims get back to normal--has also identified challenges related to federal assistance to recovery areas, private nongovernment assistance efforts, and lessons from overseas recovery programs. In many of these areas we have made a number of recommendations, some of which have still not been implemented. Below are some examples of our previous and planned work related to the jurisdiction of this committee regarding preparedness, response, and recovery issues related to health care, energy, the environment, and telecommunications. Health Care Issues: Hurricane Katrina raised a number of health care concerns, and the preparedness of health care providers, their response capabilities, and health care agency and hospital capacity are all important in a major disaster. The National Strategy for Homeland Security had a specific initiative to prepare health care providers for catastrophic events, such as major terrorist attacks.[Footnote 1] However, in April 2003, we reported that many local areas and their supporting agencies may not have been adequately prepared to respond to such an event.[Footnote 2] Specifically, while many state and local officials reported varying levels of preparedness to respond to a bioterrorist attack, they reported that challenges existed because of deficiencies in capacity, communication, and coordination elements essential to preparedness and response. These included workforce shortages, inadequacies in disease surveillance and laboratory systems, and a lack of regional coordination and compatible communications systems. Some of these challenges, such as those involving coordination efforts and communications systems, were being addressed more readily, whereas others, such as infrastructure and workforce issues, were more resource- intensive. Generally, we found that cities with more experience in dealing with public health emergencies were generally better prepared for a major disaster (such as a bioterrorist attack) than other cities, although challenges remain in every city. Almost a year later, in February 2004, we reported that although states had further developed many important aspects of public health preparedness, no state was fully prepared to respond to a major public health threat.[Footnote 3] Specifically, states had improved their disease surveillance systems, laboratory capacity, communications capacity, and workforce needed to respond to public health threats, but gaps in each remained. Moreover, regional planning among states was lacking, and many states lacked surge capacity--the capacity to evaluate, diagnose, and treat the large numbers of patients that would present during a public health emergency. In terms of health care agencies and hospital capacities, we also found major deficiencies. In May 2003 we testified that while the efforts of public health agencies and health care organizations to increase their preparedness for major public health threats have increased, significant challenges remained.[Footnote 4] Specifically, we found most emergency departments across the country lacked the capacity to respond to large-scale infectious disease outbreaks. For example, although most hospitals across the country reported participating in basic planning activities for large-scale infectious disease outbreaks, few had acquired the medical equipment resources--such as ventilators- -that would be required in such an event. Further, because most emergency departments already routinely experienced some degree of overcrowding, they may not be able to handle the sudden influx of patients that would occur during a large-scale infectious disease outbreak. Regarding hospital capacity, in August 2003 we reported that the medical equipment available for response to certain incidents (e.g., as a biological terrorist incident) varied greatly among hospitals.[Footnote 5] Additionally, many hospitals reported that they did not have the capacity to respond to the large increase in the number of patients that would be likely to result from incidents with mass casualties. In our April 2003 report on preparedness, we made a number of recommendations to help state and local jurisdictions better prepare for a bioterrorist attack and to develop a mechanism for sharing solutions between jurisdictions. In response to this report, the Departments of Health and Human Services and Homeland Security concurred with GAO's recommendations. * We plan future work related to Hurricane Katrina regarding public health and health services, including mental health services issues. Specifically, we plan to conduct evaluations of evacuation plans for inpatient and long-term care health facilities; federal, state, and local preparedness plans for dealing with the health consequences of natural and man-made disasters; and provision of mental health services for evacuees and first responders. Energy Issues: The wide-ranging effects of Hurricane Katrina on gasoline prices nationwide are a stark reminder of the interconnectedness of our petroleum markets and reveal the vulnerability of these markets to disruptions, natural or otherwise.[Footnote 6] These markets have become stressed over time, in part because of a proliferation of special gasoline blends that have raised costs and affected operations at refineries, pipelines, and storage terminals.[Footnote 7] As we noted in our recent testimony on energy markets, Hurricane Katrina did tremendous damage to, among other things, electricity transmission lines, and oil producing, refining, and pipeline facilities.[Footnote 8] Because the Gulf Coast refining region is a net exporter of petroleum products to all other regions of the country, retail gasoline prices in many parts of the nation rose dramatically. A variety of factors determine how gasoline prices vary across different locations and over time. For example, gasoline prices may be affected by unexpected refinery outages or accidents that significantly disrupt the delivery of gasoline supply. Future gasoline prices will reflect the world supply and demand balance and will continue to be an important factor affecting the American consumer for the foreseeable future. The impact of gasoline prices is felt in virtually every sector of the U.S. economy. Some of our more significant open recommendations are that (1) the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), with the Department of Energy (DOE) and others, develop a plan to balance the environmental benefits of using special fuels with the impacts these fuels have on the gasoline supply infrastructure, and (2) if warranted, EPA work with other agencies to identify what statutory or other changes are required to implement this plan. EPA declined to comment on our recommendations and did not signify agreement or disagreement with them. * We plan future work on energy issues in order to better understand the vulnerability of the nation's energy infrastructure to natural or manmade disasters. Specifically, we plan to conduct evaluations of determinants of gasoline prices in particular, and the petroleum industry more generally. Included will be evaluations of world oil reserves; security of maritime facilities for handling and transporting petroleum, natural gas, and petroleum products; viability of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to respond to disruptions such as Hurricane Katrina; and impacts of the potential disruption of Venezuelan oil imports. Environmental Issues: Hurricane Katrina resulted in significant impacts on Gulf Coast environmental resources. The condition of environmental resources has an important role in both the prevention and of recovery from natural disasters. In the area of prevention, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has responsibility for constructing hurricane prevention and flood control projects throughout the country. The Lake Pontchartrain and Vicinity Hurricane Protection Project was one such project that was authorized by Congress in 1965 to provide hurricane protection to New Orleans from a fast-moving Category 3 hurricane.[Footnote 9] Similarly, wetlands, once regarded as unimportant areas to be filled or drained for agricultural or development activities, are now recognized for the variety of important functions that they perform, including providing flood control by slowing down and absorbing excess water during storms; maintaining water quality by filtering out pollutants before they enter streams, lakes, and oceans; and protecting coastal and upland areas from erosion.[Footnote 10] Moreover, it has been suggested that wetlands act as a speed bump, slowing down storms almost as dry land does. The Fish and Wildlife Service reports that more than half of the 221 million acres of wetlands that existed during colonial times in what is now the contiguous United States have been lost. There is no reliable set of wetland acreage estimates to be used to evaluate the progress made in achieving the goal of "no net loss" of the remaining wetlands. In the area of recovery, Hurricane Katrina poses an enormous challenge in terms of the cleanup of hazardous materials in the area. Industrial discharges, sewage, gas and oil from gas stations, household hazardous materials, pesticides, and chemicals contaminated the floodwaters. The long-term effects of these hazardous materials, the level of effort and coordination needed and the cost of decontamination and cleanup will take some time to determine. In situations where such contamination exits, EPA serves as the lead agency for the cleanup of hazardous materials, including oil and gasoline. EPA emergency response personnel are working in partnership with FEMA and state and local agencies to help assess the damage, test health and environmental conditions, and coordinate cleanup from Hurricane Katrina. They are conducting water, air, and sediment testing, assessing drinking water and wastewater facilities, examining superfund and other hazardous waste sites affected by the storms, issuing environmental waivers, and providing public advisories regarding drinking water and the potential for hazardous debris in homes and buildings. * We plan future work on environmental issues, such as evaluations of how EPA and other federal, state, and local agencies conduct water, soil, and air quality testing to determine when it will be safe for residents to return to New Orleans. We also plan to evaluate efforts to treat hazardous materials during the cleanup efforts and restore drinking water and wastewater facilities. We also plan to review the Army Corps of Engineers efforts to repair the integrity of the hurricane protection structures in the New Orleans area and assess issues relating to wetland losses. Telecommunications Issues: Hurricane Katrina knocked out a wide variety of communications infrastructure and communication among emergency personnel is important in any disaster. The National Strategy for Homeland Security called for seamless communications among all first responders and public health entities. However, in our August and November 2003 reports, we noted that insufficient collaboration among federal, state, and local governments had created a challenge for sharing public health information and developing interoperable communications for first responders.[Footnote 11] For example, states and cities had implemented many initiatives to improve information sharing, but these initiatives had not been well coordinated and risked creating partnerships that limited access to information and created duplicative efforts. Another challenge involved the lack of effective, collaborative, interdisciplinary, and intergovernmental planning for interoperable communications. For instance, the federal and state governments lacked a coordinated grant review process to ensure that funds were used for communications projects that complemented one another and added to overall statewide and national interoperability capacity.[Footnote 12] Moreover, we testified in April 2004 that the Wireless Public Safety Interoperable Communications Program, or SAFECOM, had made very limited progress in achieving communications interoperability among all entities at all levels of government and had not achieved the level of collaboration necessary.[Footnote 13] Finally, in our October 2003 report on public health preparedness, we reported that challenges existed in ensuring communication among responders and with the public.[Footnote 14] For example, during the anthrax incidents of 2001, local officials identified communication among responders and with the public as a challenge, both in terms of having the necessary communication channels and in terms of making the necessary information available for distribution. We made a number of recommendations that DHS, in conjunction with other federal agencies, complete a database on communication frequencies, determine the status of wireless public safety communications nationwide, tie grant funding to statewide interoperability plans, and review the interoperability functions of SAFECOM. DHS has agreed to take some, but not all, of the corrective actions we recommended. Concluding Observations: We have issued a number of reports relevant to evaluating Hurricane Katrina. In addition, the accountability community--including the IGs and GAO--has an active future agenda for evaluating the nation's response to the hurricane. Congress has recently passed legislation that provided $15 million for the DHS IG to audit and investigate Hurricane Katrina response and recovery activities.[Footnote 15] The DHS IG has developed a plan for oversight of the funds being spent directly by DHS components and the IGs of the 12 other departments and agencies that account for almost all of the remainder of the funds appropriated thus far. The primary objective of the IG plan is to ensure accountability, primarily through ongoing audit and investigative efforts designed to identify and address waste, fraud, and abuse. Each IG will be issuing an individual report to ensure that the affected people, organizations, and governments receive the full benefit of the funds being spent and to be spent on disaster response and recovery programs. The DHS IG will coordinate the work of the respective IGs through regular meetings, and the overall account of funds will be coordinated with us through regular meetings with our senior officials. As the IGs focus on fraud, waste, and abuse, GAO can provide Congress with more strategic evaluations on such issues as coordination among various agencies and state and local government and the private sector. Some of our past strategic work included reports in the wake of Hurricane Andrew in 1992[Footnote 16] and the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.[Footnote 17] Other strategic-level reports have covered such topics as barriers to interagency coordination,[Footnote 18] issues related to continuity of operations planning for essential government services,[Footnote 19] and DHS' efforts to enhance first responders' all-hazards capabilities.[Footnote 20] Many of our past reports, which provide a firm foundation for doing Katrina-related work, contain recommendations to improve top-level coordination. While several changes have occurred in terms of the government's structure and process for emergency preparedness and response, the extent to which many of our earlier recommendations have been fully implemented remains unclear. In closing, we will continue to work with the accountability community and have already reached out to the relevant congressional committees, federal IGs, and state and local auditors in the affected states to coordinate our efforts, avoid unnecessary duplication, and most effectively utilize our resources. Comptroller General Walker has been personally and extensively involved in this effort and he plans to continue to be heavily involved. Mr. Chairman, this concludes my statement. I would be pleased to respond to any questions that you or other members of the subcommittee may have at this time. GAO Contacts and Staff Acknowledgments: Contact points for our Offices of Congressional Relations and Public Affairs may be found on the last page of this statement. For further information about this testimony, please contact Norman Rabkin at (202) 512-8777 or at firstname.lastname@example.org, or William O. Jenkins, Jr., at (202) 512-8757 or at email@example.com. This statement was prepared under the direction of Stephen L. Caldwell. Key contributors were Nancy Briggs, Christine Davis, David Lysy, Stephanie Sand, and Ashanta Williams. [End of section] Related GAO Products: Charities: September 11: More Effective Collaboration Could Enhance Charitable Organization' Contributions to Disasters, GAO-03-259, December 19, 2002. Coast Guard and Seaports: Coast Guard: Preliminary Observations on the Condition of Deepwater Assets and Acquisition Challenges, GAO-05-651T, June 21, 2005. Homeland Security: Process for Reporting Lessons Learned from Seaport Exercises Needs Further Attention, GAO-05-170, June 14, 2005. Coast Guard: Preliminary Observations on the Condition of Deepwater Legacy Assets and Acquisition Management Challenges, GAO-05-307T, April 20, 2005. Maritime Security: New Structures Have Improved Information Sharing, but Security Clearance Processing Requires Further Attention, GAO-05- 394, April 15, 2005. Coast Guard: Observations on Agency Priorities in Fiscal Year 2006 Budget Request, GAO-05-364T, March 17, 2005. Maritime Security: Substantial Work Remains to Translate New Planning Requirements into Effective Port Security, GAO-04-838, June 30, 2004. Coast Guard: Deepwater Program Acquisition Schedule Update Needed, GAO- 04-695, June 14, 2004. Coast Guard: Key Management and Budget Challenges for Fiscal Year 2005 and Beyond, GAO-04-636T, April 7, 2004. Energy Supply: Gasoline Markets: Special Gasoline Blends Reduce Emissions and Improve Air Quality, but Complicate Supply and Contribute to Higher Prices, GAO- 05-421, June 17, 2005. Energy Markets: Understanding Current Gasoline Prices and Potential Future Trends, GAO-05-675T, May 9, 2005. Motor Fuels: Understanding the Factors That Influence the Retail Price of Gasoline, GAO-05-525SP, May 2005. Meeting Energy Demand in the 21 st Century: Many Challenges and Key Questions, GAO-05-414T, March 16, 2005. Energy Markets: Mergers and Many Other Factors Affect U.S. Gasoline Markets, GAO-04-951T, July 7, 2004. Propane: Causes of Price Volatility, Potential Consumer Options, and Opportunities to Improve Consumer Information and Federal Oversight, GAO-03-762 , June 27, 2003. Energy Security: Evaluating U.S. Vulnerability to Oil Supply Disruptions and Options for Mitigating Their Effects, GAO/RCED-97-6, December 12, 1996. Environment and Natural Resources: Agricultural Conservation: USDA Needs to Better Ensure Protection of Highly Erodible Cropland and Wetlands, GAO-03-418, April 21, 2003. Wetlands Overview: Problems With Acreage Data Persist, GAO/RCED-98-150, July 1, 1998. Coastal Barriers: Development Occurring Despite Prohibition Against Federal Assistance, RCED-92-115, July 17, 1992. Emergency Disaster Farm Loans: Government's Financial Risk Could Be Reduced, RCED-96-80, March 29, 1996. Flood Control: Flood Map Modernization: Program Strategy Shows Promise, but Challenges Remain, GAO-04-417, March 31, 2004. Federal Flood Control Funding for Rural Areas, GAO/RCED-97-25R, December 23, 1996. Midwest Flood: Information on the Performance, Effects and Control of Levees, GAO/RCED-95-125, August 7, 1995. Improved Planning Needed By the Corps of Engineers to Resolve Environmental, Technical, and Financial Issues on the Lake Pontchartrain Hurricane Protection Project, GAO/MASAD-82-39, August 17, 1982. Improvements Being Made in Flood Fighting Capabilities in the Jackson, Mississippi, Area, GAO/CED-80-36, December 18, 1979. Cost, Schedule and Performance Problems of the Lake Pontchartrain and Vicinity, Louisiana, Hurricane Protection Project, PSAD-76-161, August 31, 1976. Infrastructure: Protection of Chemical and Water Infrastructure: Federal Requirements, Actions of Selected Facilities, and Remaining Challenges, GAO-05-327, March 28, 2005. Hazardous Waste Sites: Improved Effectiveness of Controls at Sites Could Better Protect the Public, GAO-05-163, January 28, 2005. Federal-Aid Highways: FHWA Needs a Comprehensive Approach to Improving Project Oversight, GAO-05-173, January 31, 2005. Water Infrastructure: Comprehensive Asset Management Has Potential to Help Utilities Better Identify Needs and Plan Future Investments, GAO- 04-461, March 19, 2004. Electricity Restructuring: 2003 Blackout Identifies Crisis and Opportunity for the Electricity Sector, GAO-04-204, November 18, 2003. Drinking Water: Experts' Views on How Future Federal Funding Can Best Be Spent to Improve Security, GAO-04-29, October 31, 2003. Highway Infrastructure: Stakeholders' Views on Time to Conduct Environmental Reviews of Highway Projects, GAO-03-534, May 23, 2003. Highway Infrastructure: Perceptions of Stakeholders on Approaches to Reduce Highway Project Completion Time, GAO-03-398, April 9, 2003. Environmental Protection: MTBE from Underground Tanks, GAO-02-753T, May 21, 2002. Drinking Water: Information on the Quality of Water Found at Community Water Systems and Private Wells, RCED-97-123, June 12, 1997. Insurance: National Flood Insurance Program: Oversight of Policy Issuance and Claims, GAO-05-532T, April 14, 2005. Catastrophe Risk: U.S. and European Approaches to Insure Natural Catastrophe and Terrorism Risks, GAO-05-199, February 28, 2005. National Flood Insurance Program: Actions to Address Repetitive Loss Properties, GAO-04-401T, March 25, 2004. Catastrophe Insurance Risks: The Role of Risk-Linked Securities and Factors Affecting Their Use, GAO-02-941, September 24, 2002. Budget Issues: Budgeting for Federal Insurance Programs, GAO/AIMD-97- 16, September 30, 1997. Military's Role, Including National Guard and Reserves: Reserve Forces: Actions Needed to Better Prepare the National Guard for Future Overseas and Domestic Missions, GAO-05-21, November 10, 2004. Reserve Forces: Observations on Recent National Guard Use in Overseas and Homeland Missions and Future Challenges, GAO-04-670T, April 29, 2004. Homeland Defense: DOD Needs to Assess the Structure of U.S. Forces for Domestic Military Missions, GAO-03-670, July 11, 2003. Military Personnel: Full Extent of Support to Civil Authorities Unknown but Unlikely to Adversely Impact Retention, GAO-01-9, January 26, 2001. Military Operations: DOD's Disaster Relief Assistance in Response to Hurricane Mitch, GAO/NSIAD-99-122R, March 29, 1999. Disaster Assistance: DOD's Support for Hurricane Andrew and Iniki and Typhoon Omar, GAO/NSIAD-93-180, June 18, 1993. Preparedness: Homeland Security: DHS' Efforts to Enhance First Responders' All- Hazards Capabilities Continue to Evolve, GAO-05-652, July 11, 2005. Strategic Budgeting: Risk Management Principles Can Help DHS Allocate Resources to Highest Priorities, GAO-05-824T, June 29, 2005. Continuity of Operations: Agency Plans Have Improved, but Better Oversight Could Assist Agencies in Preparing for Emergencies, GAO-05- 619T, April 28, 2005. Homeland Security Management of First Responder Grant Programs and Efforts to Improve Accountability Continue to Evolve, GAO-05-530T, April 12, 2005. Results-Oriented Government: Improvements to DHS's Planning Process Would Enhance Usefulness and Accountability, GAO-05-300, March 31, 2005. Homeland Security: Successes and Challenges in DHS's Efforts to Create an Effective Acquisition Organization, GAO-05-179, March 29, 2005. Department of Homeland Security: A Comprehensive and Sustained Approach Needed to Achieve Management Integration, GAO-05-139, March 16, 2005. Homeland Security: Management of First Responder Grant Programs Has Improved, but Challenges Remain, GAO-05-121, February 2, 2005. Homeland Security: Agency Plans, Implementation, and Challenges Regarding the National Strategy for Homeland Security, GAO-05-33, January 14, 2005. Homeland Security: Further Action Needed to Promote Successful Use of Special DHS Acquisition Authority, GAO-05-136, December 14, 2004. Homeland Security: Effective Regional Coordination Can Enhance Emergency Preparedness, GAO-04-1009, September 15, 2004. Homeland Security: Federal Leadership and Intergovernmental Cooperation Required to Achieve First Responder Interoperable Communications, GAO- 04-740, July 20, 2004. Homeland Security: Coordinated Planning and Standards Needed to Better Manage First Responder Grants in the National Capital Region, GAO-04- 904T, June 24, 2004. Homeland Security: Management of First Responder Grants in the National Capital Region Reflects the Need for Coordinated Planning and Performance Goals, GAO-04-433, May 28, 2004. Status of FEMA's FY03 Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program, GAO-04-727R, April 28, 2004. Project Safecom: Key Cross-Agency Emergency Communications Effort Requires Stronger Collaboration, GAO-04-494, April 16, 2004. Homeland Security: Reforming Federal Grants to Better Meet Outstanding Needs, GAO-03-1146T, September 3, 2003. Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Department of Homeland Security, GAO-03-102, January 2003. Homeland Security: Critical Design and Implementation Issues, GAO-02- 957T, July 17, 2002. Homeland Security: Responsibility And Accountability For Achieving National Goals, GAO-02-627T, April 11, 2002. Homeland Security: Key Elements of a Risk Management Approach, GAO-02- 150T, October 12, 2001. Combating Terrorism: Selected Challenges and Related Recommendations Report to Congressional Committees, GAO-01-822, September 20, 2001. Chemical Weapons: FEMA and Army Must Be Proactive in Preparing States for Emergencies, GAO-01-850, August 13, 2001. Combating Terrorism: FEMA Continues to Make Progress in Coordinating Preparedness and Response, GAO-01-15, March 20, 2001. Budgeting for Emergencies: State Practices and Federal Implications, AIMD-99-250, September 30, 1999. Combating Terrorism: Issues to be Resolved to Improve Counterterrorism Operations, GAO/NSIAD-99-135, May 13, 1999. Public Health: September 11: Monitoring of World Trade Center Health Effects Has Progressed, but Not for Federal Responders, GAO-05-1020T, September 10, 2005. Influenza Pandemic: Challenges in Preparedness and Response, GAO-05- 863T, June 30, 2005. Federal Emergency Management Agency: Crisis Counseling Grants Awarded to the State of New York after the September 11 Terrorist Attacks, GAO- 05-514, May 31, 2005. Veteran's Health Care: VA's Medical Support Role in Emergency Preparedness, GAO-05-387R, March 23, 2005. Flu Vaccine: Recent Supply Shortages Underscore Ongoing Challenges, GAO- 05-177T, November 18, 2004. Emerging Infectious Diseases: Review of State and Federal Disease Surveillance Efforts, GAO-04-877, September 30, 2004. Infectious Disease Preparedness: Federal Challenges in Responding to Influenza Outbreaks, GAO-04-1100T, September 28, 2004. September 11: Health Effects in the Aftermath of the World Trade Center Attack, GAO-04-1068T, September 8, 2004. Public Health Preparedness: Response Capacity Improving but Much Remains to Be Accomplished, GAO-04-458T, February 12, 2004. HHS Bioterrorism Preparedness Programs: States Reported Progress but Fell Short of Program Goals for 2002, GAO-04-360R, February 10, 2004. Hospital Preparedness: Most Urban Hospitals Have Emergency Plans but Lack Certain Capacities for Bioterrorism Response, GAO-03-924, August 6, 2003. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome: Established Infectious Disease Control Measures Helped Contain Spread, But a Large-Scale Resurgence May Pose Challenges, GAO-03-1058T, July 30, 2003. SARS Outbreak: Improvements to Public Health Capacity Are Needed for Responding to Bioterrorism and Emerging Infectious Diseases, GAO-03- 769T, May 7, 2003. Infectious Disease Outbreaks: Bioterrorism Preparedness Efforts Have Improved Public Health Response Capacity, but Gaps Remain, GAO-03-654T, April 9, 2003. Public Health: Maintaining an Adequate Blood Supply is Key to Emergency Preparedness, GAO-02-1095T, September 10, 2002. Homeland Security: New Department Could Improve Coordination but Transferring Control of Certain Public Health Programs Raises Concerns, GAO-02-954T, July 16, 2002. Bioterrorism: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Role in Public Health Protection, GAO-02-235T, November 15, 2001. Influenza Pandemic: Plan Needed for Federal and State Response, GAO-01- 4, October 27, 2000. West Nile Virus Outbreak: Lessons for Public Health Preparedness, GAO/HEHS-00-180, September 11, 2000. West Nile Virus: Preliminary Information on Lessons Learned, GAO/HEHS- 00-142R, June 23, 2000. Response: Homeland Security: DHS' Efforts to Enhance First Responders' All- Hazards Capabilities Continue to Evolve, GAO-05-652, July 11, 2005. Homeland Security: Federal and Industry Efforts Are Addressing Security Issues at Chemical Facilities, but Additional Action Is Needed, GAO-05- 631T, April 27, 2005. Continuity of Operations: Improved Planning Needed to Ensure Delivery of Essential Services, GAO-04-638T, April 22, 2004. Human Capital: Opportunities to Improve Federal Continuity Planning Guidance, GAO-04-384, April 20, 2004. Continuity of Operations: Improved Planning Needed to Ensure Delivery of Essential Government Services, GAO-04-160, February 27, 2004. Homeland Security: Challenges in Achieving Interoperable Communications for First Responders, GAO-04-231T, November 6, 2003. Nuclear Security: Federal and State Action Needed to Improve Security of Sealed Radioactive Sources, GAO-03-804, August 6, 2003. Homeland Security: Effective Intergovernmental Coordination is Key to Success, GAO-02-1013T, August 23, 2002. Homeland Security: Intergovernmental Coordination and Partnerships Will Be Critical to Success, GAO-02-900T, July 2, 2002. Homeland Security: New Department Could Improve Coordination but May Complicate Priority Setting, GAO-02-893T, June 28, 2002. Combating Terrorism: Intergovernmental Partnership in a National Strategy to Enhance State and Local Preparedness, GAO-02-547T, March 22, 2002. Combating Terrorism: Federal Response Teams Provide Varied Capabilities; Opportunities Remain to Improve Coordination, GAO-01-14, November 30, 2000. Managing for Results: Barriers to Interagency Coordination, GGD-00-106, March 29, 2000. Disaster Management: Improving the Nation's Response to Catastrophic Disasters, GAO/RCED-93-186, July 23, 1993. Disaster Management: Recent Disasters Demonstrate the Need to Improve the Nation's Response Strategy, GAO/T-RCED-93-46, January 27, 1993. Recovery: Interagency Contracting: Problems with DOD's and Interior's Orders to Support Military Operations, GAO-05-201, April 29, 2005. Small Business Administration: SBA Followed Appropriate Policies and Procedures for September 11 Disaster Loan Application, GAO-04-885, August 31, 2004. Rebuilding Iraq: Fiscal Year 2003 Contract Award Procedures and Management Challenges, GAO-04-605, May 27, 2004. Purchase Cards: Increased Management Oversight and Control Could Save Hundreds of Millions of Dollars, GAO-04-717T, April 28, 2004. September 11: Overview of Federal Disaster Assistance to the New York City Area, GAO-04-72, October 31, 2003. Foreign Assistance: USAID's Earthquake Recovery Program in El Salvador Has Made Progress, but Key Activities Are Behind Schedule, GAO-03-656, May 15, 2003. Small Business Administration: Response to September 11 Victims and Performance Measures for Disaster Lending, GAO-03-385, January 29, 2003. Foreign Assistance: Disaster Recovery Program Addressed Intended Purposes, but USAID Needs Greater Flexibility to Improve Capability, GAO-02-787, July 24, 2002. Guidelines for Rescuing Large Failing Firms and Municipalities, GGD-84- 34, March 29, 1984. Federal Emergency Management Agency: Lack of Controls and Key Information for Property Leave Assets Vulnerable to Loss or Misappropriation, GAO-04-819R, July 14, 2004. FEMA Cerro Grande Claims: Payments Properly Processed, but Reporting Could Be Improved, GAO-04-129, December 24, 2003. Freight Transportation: Strategies Needed to Address Planning and Financing Limitations, GAO-04-165, December 19, 2003. September 11: Overview of Federal Disaster Assistance to the New York City Area, GAO-04-72, October 31, 2003. Results-Oriented Cultures: Implementation Steps to Assist Mergers and Organizational Transformations, GAO-03-669, July 2, 2003. Potential Terrorist Attacks: Additional Actions Needed to Better Prepare Critical Financial Market Participants, GAO-03-251, February 12, 2003. Homeland Security: Management Challenges Facing Federal Leadership, GAO- 03-260, December 20, 2002. September 11: Small Business Assistance Provided in Lower Manhattan In Response to the Terrorist Attacks, GAO-03-88, November 1, 2002. FOOTNOTES  See the National Strategy for Homeland Security, the White House, July 2002.  See GAO, Bioterrorism: Preparedness Varied Across State and Local Jurisdictions, GAO-03-373 (Washingon, D.C.: Apr. 7, 2003).  See GAO, Public Health Preparedness: Response Capacity Improving, but Much Remains to Be Accomplished, GAO-04-458T, (Washington, D.C.: February 12, 2004).  See GAO, SARS Outbreak: Improvements to Public Health Capacity Are Needed for Responding to Bioterrorism and Emerging Infectious Diseases, GAO-03-769T (Washington, D.C.: May 7, 2003).  See GAO, Hospital Preparedness: Most Urban Hospitals Have Emergency Plans but Lack Certain Capacities for Bioterrorism Response, GAO-03-924 (Washington, D.C.: Aug. 6, 2003).  For a primer on gasoline prices, see GAO, Motor Fuels: Understanding the Factors That Influence the Retail Price of Gasoline, GAO-05-525SP (Washington, D.C.: May 2, 2005).  See GAO, Gasoline Markets: Special Gasoline Blends Reduce Emissions and Improve Air Quality, but Complicate Supply and Contribute to Higher Prices, GAO-05-421 (Washington, D.C.: June 17, 2005).  See GAO, Energy Markets: Gasoline Price Trends, GAO-05-1047T (Washington, D.C.: Sept. 21, 2005).  See GAO, Army Corps of Engineers: Lake Ponchartrain and Vicinity Hurricane Protection Project, GAO-05-1050T, (Washington, D.C.: Sept. 28, 2005).  See GAO, Wetlands Overview: Problems With Acreage Data Persist, GAO/RECED-98-150, (Washington, D.C.: July 1, 1998).  See GAO, Homeland Security: Efforts to Improve Information Sharing Need to Be Strengthened, GAO-03-760, (Washington, D.C.: Aug. 27, 2003); and Homeland Security: Challenges in Achieving Interoperable Communications for First Responders, GAO-04-231T (Washington, D.C.: Nov. 6, 2003).  See GAO, Homeland Security Federal leadership and Intergovernmental Cooperation Required to Achieve First Responder Interoperable Communications, GAO-04-740 (Washington, D.C.: July 20, 2004).  See GAO, Project SAFECOM: Key Cross-Agency Emergency Communications Effort Requires Stronger Collaboration, GAO-04-494 (Washington, D.C.: Apr.16, 2004).  See GAO, Bioterrorism: Public Health Response to Anthrax Incidents of 2001, GAO-04-152 (Washington, D.C.: Oct. 15, 2003).  Second Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act to Meet Immediate Needs Arising from the Consequences of Hurricane Katrina, 2005, Pub. L. 109-62, 119 Stat. 190, 191 (2005).  See GAO, Disaster Management: Improving the Nation's Response to Catastrophic Disasters, GAO/RCED-93-186 (Washington, D.C.: July 23, 1993).  See GAO, Combating Terrorism: Selected Challenges and Related Recommendations, GAO-01-822 (Washington, D.C.: Sept. 20, 2001).  See GAO, Managing for Results: Barriers to Interagency Coordination, GAO/GGD-00-106 (Washington, D.C.: Mar. 29, 2000).  See GAO, Continuity of Operations: Improved Planning Needed to Ensure Delivery of Essential Government Services, GAO-04-160 (Washington, D.C.: Feb. 27, 2004).  See GAO, Homeland Security: DHS' Efforts to Enhance First Responders' All-Hazards Capabilities Continue to Evolve, GAO-05-652 (Washington, D.C.: July 11, 2005).