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    Subject Term: "Energy development"

    5 publications with a total of 29 open recommendations including 3 priority recommendations
    Director: Rusco, Franklin W
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    10 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Energy should designate a career senior-level federal government employee to serve as co-chair of the White House Council on Native American Affairs' Energy Subgroup.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOE stated it will work to identify a career senior-level federal government employee to serve as co-chair of the White House Council on Native American Affairs' Energy Subgroup, but has not provided a timeline for completing the action. We will continue to monitor DOE's progress.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior, as Chair of the White House Council on Native American Affairs, should direct the co-chairs of the Council's Energy Subgroup to identify appropriate resources needed for the Subgroup to accomplish its goals, as well as a funding model.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to Interior officials, they will take actions to identify staff, resources, and timelines necessary to complete or sustain projects. We will continue to monitor Interior's actions.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior, as Chair of the White House Council on Native American Affairs, should direct the co-chairs of the Council's Energy Subgroup to establish formal agreements with all agencies identified for inclusion in the Subgroup to encourage participation.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to Interior officials, they will explore the possibility of amending the existing MOU to include other federal agencies participating in the Energy Subgroup. We will continue to monitor Interior's actions.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs to include the other regulatory agencies in the Service Center, such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Army Corps of Engineers, so that the Service Center can act as a single point of contact or a lead agency to coordinate and navigate the regulatory process.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In September 2017, a BIA official stated that the agency has initiated discussions with Interior's Fish and Wildlife Service, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Army Corps of Engineers in an effort to establish formal agreements. BIA has a target of December 31, 2017, to establish these agreements.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs to establish formal agreements with the Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development and the Department of Energy that identify, at a minimum, the advisory or support role of each office.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: In September 2017 a BIA official stated the agency developed and is currently reviewing an addendum to expand an existing MOU between DOE and Indian Energy and Economic Development (IEED) to include the Service Center. However, the existing MOU between DOE and IEED does not identify the role for these agencies as related to the Service Center. As such, the addendum, as currently described by BIA officials, will not fully implement our recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs to establish a documented process for seeking and obtaining input from key stakeholders, such as BIA employees, on the Service Center activities.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: On May 17, 2017, the Acting Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs testified before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs that the Service Center is developing a process that allows key agencies to provide input and requests for service. We will continue to monitor BIA's efforts to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs to document the rationale for key decisions related to the establishment of the Service Center, such as alternatives and tribal requests that were considered.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: BIA reported it has taken actions needed to implement our recommendation. On May 17, 2017, the Acting Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs testified before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs that Interior considers this recommendation implemented because (1) the development of the Service Center was the result of a concept paper produced by a multi-agency team and (2) a multi-agency team held a tribal listening session, received written comments, and conducted conference calls in an effort to gather input from relevant stakeholders. We do not agree these actions meet the intent of the recommendation. BIA's actions have not resulted in documentation on the alternatives considered, whether tribal input and requests were considered, and the rationale for not incorporating key suggestions. We will work with the agency to identify if additional actions are planned.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs to incorporate effective workforce planning standards by assessing critical skills and competencies needed to fulfill BIA's responsibilities related to energy development and by identifying potential gaps.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: In May 2017, Interior stated the BIA is in the process of identifying and implementing a workforce plan regarding positions associated with the development of Indian energy and minerals. First, the Indian Energy Service Center will collect data directly from BIA, BLM, Office of Natural Resources Revenue, and Office of Special Trustee employees in an effort to identify workload and necessary technical competencies. Then, the Service Center will work with partner bureaus to assess skills and competencies needed for energy and mineral workforce standards. This recommendation is expected to be completed by December 31, 2017.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs to establish a documented process for assessing BIA's workforce composition at agency offices taking into account BIA's mission, goals, and tribal priorities.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: On May 17, 2017, the Acting Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs testified before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs that the BIA is in the process of identifying and implementing a workforce plan regarding positions associated with the development of Indian energy and minerals. Specifically, the Acting Assistant Secretary stated that the Service Center will collect data directly from BIA, the Bureau of Land Management, the Office of Natural Resources Revenue, and the Office of Special Trustee employees in an effort to identify workload and necessary technical competencies. Then, the Service Center will work with partner bureaus to assess skills and competencies needed for energy and mineral workforce standards. BIA's target for completion of the activities is December 31, 2017.
    Recommendation: The Administrator of the General Services Administration should develop implementing guidance to clarify how contracting officials should implement and apply the statutory authority to provide a tribal preference to future acquisitions of energy products.

    Agency: General Services Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: GSA stated it will coordinate with the Federal Acquisition Council to determine whether government-wide guidance should be issued. We will continue to monitor GSA's actions.
    Director: Frank Rusco
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    7 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's analyses of the financial costs and benefits of renewable energy projects, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations and Environment and the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force to modify guidance for presenting land values in project documentation to apply to the range of alternative financing mechanisms DOD has used.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's analyses of the financial costs and benefits of renewable energy projects, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations and Environment and the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force to clarify the guidance to direct all project documentation for alternatively financed projects involving land use agreements to include the value of the land, the compensation DOD would receive for it, and how the value of the land compared with the value of the compensation.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's analyses of the financial costs and benefits of renewable energy projects involving long-term PPAs on its land, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations and Environment and the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force to revise guidance to develop consistent sources for assumptions for escalation.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's analyses of the financial costs and benefits of renewable energy projects involving long-term PPAs on its land, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations and Environment and the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force to revise guidance to clarify how to describe sensitivity analyses in project documentation.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve the information available to approving officials on projects' contributions to DOD's renewable energy goals and energy security objective and to help ensure the consistency and completeness of project documentation, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations and Environment and the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force to develop guidance to clarify that projects should specify their contribution to DOD's energy production and consumption goals.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve the information available to approving officials on projects' contributions to DOD's renewable energy goals and energy security objective and to help ensure the consistency and completeness of project documentation, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations and Environment and the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force to develop guidance to clarify the type of energy security benefit that projects will provide and state whether any such benefit is immediately available or would require additional investments and, for projects that would require additional investment, provide a detailed estimate of those investments.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve the information available to approving officials on projects' contributions to DOD's renewable energy goals and energy security objective and to help ensure the consistency and completeness of project documentation, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations and Environment and the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force to develop guidance to clarify that a consistent approach is to be taken to estimate the value of the energy security benefit of providing assured access to power during a grid outage and that a description of this approach is provided in project documentation.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Frank Rusco
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and, as appropriate, the Director of the Bureau of Land Management to establish required time frames for the review and approval of Indian CAs to ensure a more timely CA process.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to BIA officials, as of March 2017 an internal subject matter expert (SME) group met and drafted a process flow chart to establish timeframes for the review and approval of Indian CAs in an effort to ensure a more timely process. These timeframes need to be submitted to the BIA Trust Director for review and approval.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and, as appropriate, the Director of the Bureau of Land Management to develop a systematic mechanism for tracking Indian CAs through the review and approval process to determine, among other things, whether the revised CA process meets newly established time frames.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: Also as of March 2017, according to officials the same SME group met and formulated a proposal to create a tracking tool for Indian CAs through the review and approval process in the BIA system of records, TAAMS. The proposal includes several components of specific fields and data that must be captured to meet our recommendation. This proposal has to be edited prior to submission to the TAAMS Change Management Board, which may take several months. In the meantime, BIA is implementing a tracking tool within google drive until the proposed updates are made to TAAMS.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and, as appropriate, the Director of the Bureau of Land Management to assess whether the revised CA process is achieving its objective to improve the timeliness of the review and approval of Indian CAs, and if not, make changes as appropriate.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 2017, no additional updates were provided for this recommendation. However, Interior officials had previously noted that both BLM and BIA would use the same tracking spreadsheet mentioned above until completion of the enhanced TAAMS system in order to monitor and assess the results of their efforts to streamline the Indian CA review and approval process.
    Director: Frank Rusco
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    7 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure it can verify ownership in a timely manner and identify resources available for development, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs or the Director of the Office of the Indian Energy and Economic Development, as appropriate, to take steps to complete its geographic information system mapping module in the Trust Asset and Accounting Management System.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to BIA officials, the agency integrated and deployed data viewing and map creation capabilities into its database for recording and maintaining historical and current data on ownership and leasing of Indian land and mineral resources in the Trust Asset and Accounting Management System (TAAMS) on August 31, 2017. We will continue to monitor BIA's deployment of the geographic information system capability.
    Recommendation: To ensure it can verify ownership in a timely manner and identify resources available for development, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs or the Director of the Office of the Indian Energy and Economic Development, as appropriate, to work with the Bureau of Land Management to identify cadastral survey needs.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to a BIA official, the agency requested each of its 12 regions to review and identify historic survey requests from a data system that has not been fully maintained or consistently used since 2011 to determine if the requests are still valid. A BIA official stated that the agency's next step is to create a new database that will track cadastral survey needs and a reporting mechanism for each BIA region to use when making new survey requests. According to BIA officials, the agency anticipates the new database and reporting mechanism will be deployed by September 30, 2017.
    Recommendation: To improve the efficiency and transparency of its review process, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs or the Director of the Office of the Indian Energy and Economic Development, as appropriate, to develop a documented process to track its review and response times.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: On May 17, 2017, the Acting Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs testified before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs that a group of BIA subject matter experts have been working to modify Trust Asset and Accounting Management System (TAAMS), incorporating the key identifiers and data fields needed to track and monitor review and response times for oil and gas leases and agreements. The Acting Assistant Secretary also stated that BIA is in the process of evaluating and reviewing the current realty tracking system and TAAMS in order to improve efficiencies and timeliness in processing workloads.
    Recommendation: To improve the efficiency and transparency of its review process, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs or the Director of the Office of the Indian Energy and Economic Development, as appropriate, to enhance data collection efforts to ensure it has data needed to track its review and response times.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: In May 2017, Interior stated that a group of BIA subject matter experts in oil and gas processing have been working to modify Trust Asset and Accounting Management System (TAAMS), incorporating the key identifiers and data fields needed to track and monitor review and response times for oil and gas leases and agreements. BIA is also in the process of evaluating and reviewing the current realty tracking system and TAAMS in order to improve efficiencies and timeliness in processing workloads. Due to the fact that modifications to data systems must be reviewed by multiple entities within the Department, a request for an extension of time will be submitted to the GAO within this quarter.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs or the Director of the Office of the Indian Energy and Economic Development, as appropriate, to provide additional energy development-specific guidance on provisions of TERA regulations that tribes have identified to Interior as unclear.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: On May 17, 2017, the Acting Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs testified before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs that Interior is working to provide additional energy development-specific guidance on provisions of TERA regulations that tribes have identified to the Department as unclear. As part of this effort, the Acting Assistant Secretary reported that IEED continues to perform training and technical assistance on the TERA regulations, and will issue guidance on those provisions of TERA that have been identified as unclear. As of September 6, 2017, Interior has not issued additional guidance and several Interior officials told us it is unlikely it will issue guidance to clarify inherently federal functions, one provision of Interior's regulations tribes have identified as unclear.
    Recommendation: To ensure the tribal energy development capacity (TEDC) grant program is effective in moving tribes closer to developing the capacity needed to pursue TERAs, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs or the Director of the Office of the Indian Energy and Economic Development, as appropriate, to develop a documented process for evaluating the effectiveness of TEDC grants.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: Interior has taken a number of steps to develop a documented process for evaluating the effectiveness of TEDC grants and we are working with the agency to obtain the needed documentation.
    Recommendation: To ensure the TEDC grant program is effective in moving tribes closer to developing the capacity needed to pursue TERAs, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs or the Director of the Office of the Indian Energy and Economic Development, as appropriate, to identify features of the TEDC grant program that could limit the effectiveness of the program to help tribes eliminate capacity gaps.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Fennell, Anne-marie L
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that bonds are adequate to cover reclamation costs for wind and solar projects on federal land, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the Bureau of Land Management to establish data standards for the Bond and Surety System.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: In November 2016, BLM finalized its rulemaking effort for a competitive solar and wind energy leasing program that included requirements for bonding. In a February 2017 update, the agency said that data standards do exist for LR2000 and the agency is looking to add an appendix or section to that guidance that will clearly identify the data standards for the Bond and Surety System. They expect to do so in 2017. We will continue to monitor the agency's progress in addressing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that bonds are adequate to cover reclamation costs for wind and solar projects on federal land, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the Bureau of Land Management to develop an LR2000 action code to automatically notify BLM staff that a right-of-way is due for a bond adequacy review.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: In November 2016, BLM finalized its rulemaking effort for a competitive solar and wind energy leasing program that included requirements for bonding. In a February 2017 update, an agency official said that data standards are in process of being adjusted and guidance will be provided in the coming months that clearly identify an action code for future action on bonds, including an adequacy review. Additionally, BLM is continuing to work on its Mining, Lands, and Records System as a replacement to LR2000, which will include additional capabilities and other updates that LR2000 does not have. We will continue to monitor progress made to address this recommendation.