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    Subject Term: "Impacted areas"

    6 publications with a total of 8 open recommendations
    Director: Daniel Garcia-Diaz
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: As FEMA determines the scope of its efforts to revise its existing guidance, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) should direct the Administrator of FEMA to update existing guidance to include additional information on and options for mitigating the risk of flood damage to agricultural structures to reflect recent farming developments and structural needs in vast and deep floodplains.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: To obtain information for updating existing guidance, FEMA engaged a contractor in April 2016 to conduct Phase 1 of a study evaluating recent farming developments. The June 2016 report from the contractor provided FEMA with information on the types of flood damage agricultural buildings and contents can sustain, required mitigation measures under NFIP, and insurance that is currently available to farmers. Phase 2 of the study is underway. This phase will identify the number and types of agricultural structures and the legislation, regulations, and various agency programs affecting the management of these structures; analyze the feasibility of mitigation options for these structures across different types of floodplains; and explore rating guidelines and potential mitigation techniques that could result in reduced risk or rates for agricultural structures. FEMA expects to receive a draft of the Phase 2 study from the contractor in July 2017. GAO will continue to monitor FEMA's progress.
    Director: Brian J. Lepore
    Phone: (202) 512-4523

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to facilitate the efforts of installation planners to efficiently implement the requirements of the Unified Facilities Criteria and DOD Instruction 4715.03, the Secretary of Defense--in conjunction with the Secretaries of the military departments--should provide further direction and information that clarifies the planning actions that should be taken to account for climate change in installation Master Plans and Integrated Natural Resource Management Plans. At a minimum, further direction could include definitions of key terms, such as the definition of "climate change" recently included in DOD Manual 4715.03; further information about changes in applicable building codes and design standards that account for potential climate change impacts; and further information about potential projected impacts of climate change for individual installations.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with our recommendation to provide further direction and information that clarifies the planning actions that should be taken to account for climate change in installation Master Plans and Integrated Natural Resource Management Plans, including providing further information about potential projected impacts of climate change for individual installations. Although DOD has not fully implemented this recommendation, DOD has started to take actions to address components of the recommendation. For example, the Department issued DOD Directive 4715.21 (January 14, 2016), in which DOD defines climate change. Also, the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program produced the report entitled Regional Sea Level Scenarios for Coastal Risk Management (April, 2016) and accompanying database, in which DOD provides regionalized sea level and extreme water level scenarios for three future time horizons (2035, 2065, and 2100) for 1,774 DOD sites worldwide. DOD intends the report and database to be used by planners to adapt to sea level rise, one impact of climate change. However, during July 2017 follow-up work, we learned that the department has not yet provided these planners with projections for the full set of expected impacts of weather effects associated with climate change.
    Recommendation: In order to improve the military services' ability to make facility investment decisions in accordance with DOD's strategic direction to include climate change adaptation considerations and additionally, to demonstrate an emphasis on proposing projects with an adaption component to installation planners, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the military departments to clarify instructions associated with the processes used to compare potential military construction projects for approval and funding so that, at a minimum, climate change adaptation is considered as a project component that may be needed to address potential climate change impacts on infrastructure.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with our recommendation to clarify instructions associated with the processes used to compare potential military construction projects for approval and funding so that, at a minimum, climate change adaptation is considered as a project component that may be needed to address potential climate change impacts on infrastructure. DOD stated that climate change may be one of many factors that can affect facilities and impact mission and readiness, and that the department will review processes and criteria, such as the Unified Facilities Criteria, to strengthen consideration of climate change adaptation. DOD concurred with our recommendation to provide further direction and information that clarifies the planning actions that should be taken to account for climate change in installation Master Plans and Integrated Natural Resource Management Plans, including providing further information about potential projected impacts of climate change for individual installations. Although DOD has not fully implemented this recommendation, during September 2016 follow-up work, we learned that the Army has started to take actions to address components of the recommendation. Specifically, in briefing slides presented to congressional staff in 2016, the Army noted that two military construction projects were sited in a manner specifically designed to mitigate the impacts of climate change. These projects were a powertrain facility at Corpus Christi Army Depot and a waste water treatment plant at West Point. However, as of July 2017, DOD had not provided us with evidence that the department's components have clarified instructions associated with the processes used to compare potential military construction projects for approval and funding.
    Director: Dillingham, Gerald L
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better ensure that federal investments effectively address the remaining airport noise problem and to more fully demonstrate the results of AIP noise grants, the Secretary of Transportation should direct FAA to establish a strategic noise reduction goal that aligns with the nature and extent of airport noise and targets the agency's noise grant program.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2013, FAA responded to GAO that it had conducted a review of its strategic goals related to noise and concluded that they were sufficiently robust. However, as noted in the report and in subsequent conversations with FAA officials as recently as 2016, FAA's strategic goal of reducing the population within a 65 Day-Night Average Sound Level (DNL) to less than 300,000 had no relationship with the noise grant program. Noise grants are for mitigating those people living within 65 DNL.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that federal investments effectively address the remaining airport noise problem and to more fully demonstrate the results of AIP noise grants, the Secretary of Transportation should direct FAA to establish performance measures to assess progress toward this goal that better demonstrate the results of the program and provide Congress and FAA's program managers with information to gauge progress and make programmatic decisions.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: FAA concurred in part to this recommendation. In August 2013, FAA responded to GAO that it had reviewed its noise grant performance measures and concluded that the performance measures and target levels remain valid, though acknowledged that emerging issues could eventually lead FAA to adjust its targets. However, as noted in the report and in subsequent conversations with FAA officials as recently as 2016, that there is insufficient performance information about the nature and extent of remaining airport noise exposure and the contribution of noise grants in mitigating the impact of that exposure. Specifically, FAA does not know how many residences, schools, or other public buildings are in significantly noise exposed areas or which of those have yet to benefit from noise insulation projects. Without this information, Congress and FAA program managers cannot make fully informed decisions about what the noise grant program can reasonably be expected to address in the future and the extent to which noise exposure remains a constraint on growth.
    Director: Gootnick, David B
    Phone: (202) 512-3000

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to strengthen its ability to collect, evaluate, and transmit reliable information to Congress, the Secretary of the Interior should disseminate guidelines to the affected jurisdictions that adequately address concepts essential to producing reliable impact estimates, and call for the affected jurisdictions to apply these guidelines when developing compact impact reports.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: In a January 13, 2012 letter, Interior provided a status update to GAO and the Congress on this recommendation. Interior stated that it generally concurred with the recommendation and that it would advise the governors of affected jurisdictions of possible guidelines to develop compact reports. In addition, Interior officials met with staff of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and GAO representatives on January 17, 2012 to discuss approaches to preparing this guidance. Interior targeted a completion date of September 15, 2012 for the guidance at that time. In March 2012, Interior met with three of the four governors of affected jurisdictions, Hawaii, the CNMI, and Guam. According to Interior, the governors reached the consensus that Hawaii would develop a template for developing guidelines by December 2012. Although the completion date was revised, such guidance was not prepared. Section 13 of S. 1237, as introduced June 27, 2013, would have required Interior to identify the amount of compact impact costs in affected jurisdictions for the purpose of permitting the amount of impact cost to be used as in-kind contributions for federal grants. In its statement at a July 11, 2013 Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee hearing on S. 1237, Interior stated that it "has urged the governors [of affected jurisdictions] to develop consistent standards of reporting among themselves, including the definition of FAS migrants, accurate accounting of migrant costs to the affected government, and benefits received by the affected jurisdiction from employment, taxation and consumption." but that it opposed the enactment of Section 13. On August 20, 2013, Interior sent letters to all four governors of affected jurisdictions stating that it was available to provide comments on any guidelines for measurement that the governors may choose to develop and present. Simultaneously, Interior sent a letter to GAO stating that the governing law, P.L. 108-188, does not give Interior authority to mandate either measurement processes or the reporting of impacts to the Congress. Therefore, Interior stated that it was unable to ensure that guidelines for reports to Congress are completed by the affected jurisdictions and that it can take no further action. However, our report found that, though the guidelines were not required under the law, without such guidelines, there were a number of weaknesses in affected jurisdictions' reporting of compact impacts to Interior from 2004 through 2010 related to accuracy, adequacy of documentation, and comprehensiveness. Interior prepared draft guidelines in late 2014, but these were not issued. In March 2016, Interior stated that OIA, in consultation with the leaders from the affected jurisdictions, would develop guidelines for measuring compact impact and that the guidelines would be completed in December 2016. In August 2016, Interior again stated to GAO that the guidelines would be completed by the end of the year, but they were not completed. In September 2017, Interior provided GAO with a draft template for recording costs but stated that, given new leadership at Interior and in the affected jurisdictions, more discussion would be needed before the template can be finalized. We continue to believe that providing more rigorous guidelines to the affected jurisdictions and promoting their use for compact impact reports would increase the likelihood that Interior can provide reliable information on compact impacts to Congress.
    Director: Cosgrove, James C
    Phone: (202)512-7029

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that changes in Medicare payment methods for dialysis care do not adversely affect beneficiaries, the Administrator of CMS should monitor the access to and quality of dialysis care for groups of beneficiaries, particularly those with above average costs of dialysis care, under the new bundled payment system. Such monitoring should begin as soon as possible once the new bundled payment system is implemented and be used to inform potential refinements to the payment system.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In March 2010, we recommended that the Administrator of CMS monitor the access to and quality of dialysis care for groups of beneficiaries, particularly those with above average costs, under the new bundled payment system to help ensure that changes in the Medicare payment methods for dialysis care do not adversely affect. We further specified that such monitoring begin as soon as possible once the new bundled payment system is implemented. CMS implemented the expanded bundled payment system for dialysis care in January 2011. As of August 2011, CMS is collecting data on dialysis care utilization that could be used to examine access to and quality of dialysis care by groups of beneficiaries. Although CMS anticipates using these data to identify potential problems in dialysis care, the agency has not begun using these data to examine access to and quality of care by groups of beneficiaries, nor has finalized plans to do so.
    Director: Trimble, David C
    Phone: (202)512-6225

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better enable EPA and its partner agencies to minimize the environmental risks resulting from future disasters, the EPA Administrator should work with potentially affected federal land management agencies, the Coast Guard, DHS, and FEMA to determine what actions are needed to ensure that environmental contamination on federal lands, such as national wildlife refuges, can be expeditiously and efficiently addressed in future disasters. Potential actions include the development of protocols or memorandums of understanding or amendments to the Stafford Act if the agencies determine that amendments are needed to achieve the timely availability of such funding when responding to disasters involving federal lands.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In July 2016, EPA reported that the National Response Team considered this issue but decided that it was addressed by the Major Disasters, Section 405 of the Stafford Act and that no further action was needed. We will update the status of this recommendation when we complete our review of Section 405 and determine whether additional actions by EPA are needed to respond to disasters involving federal lands.