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    Subject Term: "Energy policy"

    2 publications with a total of 12 open recommendations including 1 priority recommendation
    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: Rusco, Franklin W
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the Bureau of Land Management to take steps, including making changes to AFMSS, and in any new system that replaces AFMSS, to improve the ability of staff to identify wells that are a high priority for environmental inspection and to incorporate information on the inspection history of wells into the environmental inspection prioritization process.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: BLM concurred with the recommendation and has initiated action to update its Application for permit to drill (APD) permit processing system. This new system will be known as AFMSS II and, when fully implemented, may address GAO's recommendations. Currently, BLM's actions are insufficient to close this recommendation because they have not completed the updates to AFMISS. Specifically, BLM has not completed its update of AFMSS II to cover environmental inspections. We will continue to follow up with BLM as the agency continues to take action to improve its well tracking system. As of September 2017, BLM said it intends to update AFMSS II to cover environmental issues but has not yet done so.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the Bureau of Land Management to take steps to ensure that environmental violations or problems and enforcement actions are documented in a consistent manner.

    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.