Adequacy of Geologic Data for Proposed Coal Lease Tracts in Central Utah and Western Colorado

RCED-85-35: Published: Nov 5, 1984. Publicly Released: Nov 5, 1984.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO determined the adequacy of data on coal reserves contained in tracts being considered for leasing in the Uinta federal coal region, which covers central Utah and western Colorado.

GAO found that, in 1981, Interior modified several of its leasing guidelines which resulted in tracts being delineated and considered for leasing even though some tracts did not contain drill hole data within their boundaries. GAO also found that Interior did not have adequate geologic data to determine coal reserves and values for 19 of the 24 proposed Uinta coal lease tracts. The Regional Coal Team's reliability and usefulness in preparing the lease sales was reduced because tract delineation reports contained inconsistencies and the maps accompanying the reports contained undetected errors. GAO also found that Interior had not prescribed internal control procedures for verifying the accuracy, reliability, and completeness of the data. GAO believes that data standards could be improved if coal companies participating in the leasing process were required to contribute significantly to the enhancement of data adequacy.

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