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    Subject Term: "Land management"

    19 publications with a total of 56 open recommendations including 2 priority recommendations
    Director: Rebecca Gambler
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Commissioner of CBP should develop and implement a policy and related guidance for documenting arrangements with landowners, as needed, on Border Patrol's maintenance of roads it uses to conduct its operations, and share these documented arrangements with its sectors. (Recommendation 1)

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Customs and Border Protection
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Commissioner of CBP should clearly document the process and criteria for making decisions on funding non-owned operational requirements and communicate this process to Border Patrol sectors. (Recommendation 2)

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Customs and Border Protection
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Commissioner of CBP should assess the feasibility of options for addressing the maintenance of nonfederal public roads. This should include a review of data needed to determine the extent of its reliance on non-owned roads for border security operations. (Recommendation 3)

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: United States Customs and Border Protection
    Status: Open

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

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help determine the extent to which the goals of the Cohesive Strategy are being met, the Secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior should direct the Chief of the Forest Service and the Director of the Office of Wildland Fire, respectively, to work with WFLC to develop measures to assess national progress toward achieving the strategy's goals.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its April 2017 agency comments and a May 2017 follow up discussion, the Forest Service generally agreed with our recommendation. In August 2017, the Forest Service stated that it is working with partners to develop a framework for reporting progress toward the goals of the Cohesive Strategy, based on its own and other potential measures. The agency stated that the framework will be shared with the Wildland Fire Leadership Coalition for input and feedback and that initial meetings with partners were to occur in July 2017, with a proposal to be shared with WFLC in early fall 2017. The final framework is planned for spring of 2018.
    Recommendation: To help determine the extent to which the goals of the Cohesive Strategy are being met, the Secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior should direct the Chief of the Forest Service and the Director of the Office of Wildland Fire, respectively, to work with WFLC to develop measures to assess national progress toward achieving the strategy's goals.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its April 2017 agency comments, the Department of the Interior stated that it did not concur with our recommendation. In a letter dated August 2, 2017, Interior stated that it nevertheless will work with its federal and nonfederal partners, with input from the Wildland Fire Leadership Council, to propose a framework using existing measures to assess national progress toward achieving the goals of the Cohesive Strategy. Interior expects initial meetings with partners to occur in the summer of 2017 with a proposal to be shared with WFLC by the fall of 2017 and final framework to be completed in the spring of 2018.
    Director: Frank Rusco
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Director of the Bureau of Land Management should develop a policy to ensure that field offices consistently track exception data.

    Agency: Department of the Interior: Bureau of Land Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Director of the Bureau of Land Management should develop bureau-wide written procedures for consistently considering and clearly documenting the information and processes used to make exception decisions.

    Agency: Department of the Interior: Bureau of Land Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Director of the Bureau of Land Management should direct field offices to make the results of exception request decisions available to the public, such as on BLM's public website.

    Agency: Department of the Interior: Bureau of Land Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Director of the Bureau of Land Management should clarify guidance related to documentation of environmental inspections to ensure that inspections are documented in a manner that indicates whether all permit requirements were checked as part of the inspection.

    Agency: Department of the Interior: Bureau of Land Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Director of the Bureau of Land Management should provide additional guidance to field offices on how to collect and use data collected during monitoring inspections and, in doing so, determine and implement an approach for using the data to assess the effectiveness of the agency's mitigation efforts, including its best management practices.

    Agency: Department of the Interior: Bureau of Land Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Director of the Bureau of Land Management should establish a policy requiring staff responsible for conducting environmental and monitoring inspections to take standardized training.

    Agency: Department of the Interior: Bureau of Land Management
    Status: Open

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

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the effectiveness of BLM's efforts to track and deter unauthorized grazing, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of BLM to amend the regulations on unauthorized grazing use--43 C.F.R. Subpart 4150 (2005)--to establish a procedure for the informal resolution of violations at the local level, or follow the existing regulations by sending a notice of unauthorized use for each potential violation as provided by 43 C.F.R. 4150.2(a) (2005).

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of November 2016, GAO is awaiting action by the agency to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the effectiveness of BLM's efforts to track and deter unauthorized grazing, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of BLM to record all incidents of unauthorized grazing, including those resolved informally.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of November 2016, GAO is awaiting action by the agency to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the effectiveness of BLM's efforts to track and deter unauthorized grazing, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of BLM to revise the agency's Unauthorized Grazing Use Handbook to make it consistent with 43 C.F.R. pt. 4100 (2005).

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of November 2016, GAO is awaiting action by the agency to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the effectiveness of the Forest Service's efforts to track and deter unauthorized grazing, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Chief of the Forest Service to amend the regulations on range management--36 C.F.R. pt. 222--to provide for nonmonetary settlement when the unauthorized or excess grazing is non-willful and incidental, or follow the existing regulations by determining and charging a grazing use penalty for all unauthorized and excess use when it is identified as provided by 36 C.F.R. 222.50(a) and (h).

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of November 2016, GAO is awaiting action by the agency to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the effectiveness of the Forest Service's efforts to track and deter unauthorized grazing, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Chief of the Forest Service to record all incidents of unauthorized grazing, including those resolved informally.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of November 2016, GAO is awaiting action by the agency to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the effectiveness of the Forest Service's efforts to track and deter unauthorized grazing, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Chief of the Forest Service to adopt an unauthorized grazing penalty structure that is based, similar to BLM's, on the current commercial value of forage.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of November 2016, GAO is awaiting action by the agency to implement this recommendation.
    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: Anne-Marie Fennell
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure effective oversight, strengthen internal controls, and address challenges associated with the hardrock mine plan review process, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Chief of the Forest Service to take actions to improve the quality of mine plan submissions by, for example, developing guidance for mine operators and agency field officials that instructs them to hold pre-plan submittal meetings whenever possible.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to a letter received from the agency in May 2016, the Department of Agriculture will provide training opportunities at all Forest Service levels in the proper administration and approval of mining plans and hold pre-planning meetings when possible. In addition, the Forest Service will promulgate regulations by October 1, 2017, to incorporate a pre-plan submittal meeting requirement in the revision of the Forest Service regulations at 36 CFR 228 Subpart A, Locatable Minerals.
    Recommendation: To ensure effective oversight, strengthen internal controls, and address challenges associated with the hardrock mine plan review process, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Chief of the Forest Service to issue a rule that establishes a fee structure for hardrock mine plan processing activities and request the authority from the Congress to retain any fees it collects.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to a letter received from the agency in May 2016, the Forest Service will review and evaluate all existing authorities that may allow the agency to promulgate a rule to collect and retain fees for hardrock mine plan processing activities. If authorities exist, the Forest Service will promulgate a rule by October 1, 2018. The letter also stated that the Forest Service has contacted the Office of General Counsel to aid in their review and will begin the process for requesting the authority from Congress for collecting and retaining hardrock mine plan processing fees.
    Recommendation: To ensure effective oversight, strengthen internal controls, and address challenges associated with the hardrock mine plan review process, Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of BLM to take actions to improve the quality of mine plan submissions by, for example, developing guidance for mine operators and agency field officials that instructs them to hold pre-plan submittal meetings whenever possible.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to a letter received from the agency in April 2016, BLM agrees that pre-plan submittal meetings are worthwhile and may help prevent delays in the permitting process. The letter also stated that BLM will issue policy guidance for BLM employees regarding participation in pre-plan submittal meetings when possible and when desired by the operator. BLM will include general guidelines and will encourage each state office to create state-specific guidelines that will better meet the needs of the mining industry in each state. According to agency officials in February 2017, BLM has completed a draft of the pre-plan submittal meeting guidelines and expect to issue the final version by March 31, 2017.
    Recommendation: To ensure effective oversight, strengthen internal controls, and address challenges associated with the hardrock mine plan review process, Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of BLM to issue a rule that assesses fees associated with reviewing hardrock mine plans that involve conducting environmental assessments.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to a letter received from the agency in April 2016, BLM expressed concern about whether promulgating a rule to assess cost recovery fees for environmental assessment would result in faster permitting times and noted that such an undertaking may be challenging to complete given resource limitation as a result of other high priority rulemaking efforts currently underway by BLM. In the preamble of BLM's 2005 cost recovery rule, BLM indicated that it would consider issuing a separate rule to recover costs associated with reviewing mine plans that require an environmental assessment. BLM proposes to fulfill the intent of the preamble by conducting an internal analysis to determine whether requiring cost recovery would result in reduced permitting times. BLM will report its findings and address other options for increasing staff resources. According to agency officials in February 2017, BLM expects to complete its internal analysis and report its findings by September 30, 2017.
    Recommendation: To ensure effective oversight, strengthen internal controls, and address challenges associated with the hardrock mine plan review process, Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of BLM to create new codes in its Legacy Rehost 2000 database distinguishing between different types of mine plans to help track the length of time to complete the mine plan review process.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to a letter received from the agency in April 2016, BLM will develop new LR2000 codes to differentiate between different types of operations. According to agency officials in February 2017, BLM expects to revise the LR2000 codes by June 30, 2017.
    Director: Anne-Marie Fennell
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help improve its management of recreation fees, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the Park Service to revise its guidance on recreation fees so that the agency periodically reviews its entrance fees to determine whether the fees are reasonable.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its initial response to our published report, the Park Service stated that it plans to revise Reference Manual 22A: Recreation Fee Collection (RM22A). This revision will include a requirement to reevaluate the entrance fee pricing structure every 3 years. The Park Service last reviewed and updated the fee schedule in August 2014. As of November 2016, the Park Service told GAO that it was planning to review its fee schedule on a 3-year cycle, so the next review will be in 2017. The agency also reported that it was on track to update its guidance to reflect this new schedule, but has not yet completed this effort. We will continue to monitor agency progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Director: Anne-Marie Fennell
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better ensure that the agencies have sufficient information to understand the effectiveness of their approach to wildland fires, and to better position them to develop appropriate and effective strategies for wildland fire management, the Secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior should direct the Chief of the Forest Service and the Director of the Office of Wildland Fire to develop specific criteria for selecting wildland fires for review and for conducting the reviews as part of their efforts to improve their approach to reviewing fires.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2017, the Forest Service amended its policy to reflect criteria it developed for selecting wildland fires for review. In addition, in August 2017, Forest Service officials told us the agency will host a "Risk Learning Summit" in November 2017 during which they plan to begin developing criteria for conducting fire reviews. They told us that once criteria are agreed upon, they will be reflected in Forest Service policy (through the Forest Service Manual) within a year or so of the summit (around November 2018).
    Recommendation: To better ensure that the agencies have sufficient information to understand the effectiveness of their approach to wildland fires, and to better position them to develop appropriate and effective strategies for wildland fire management, the Secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior should direct the Chief of the Forest Service and the Director of the Office of Wildland Fire to, once such criteria are established, revise agency policies to align with the specific criteria developed by the agencies.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2017, the Forest Service amended its policy to reflect criteria it developed for selecting wildland fires for review. In addition, in August 2017, Forest Service officials told us the agency will host a "Risk Learning Summit" in November 2017 during which they plan to begin developing criteria for conducting fire reviews. They told us that once criteria are agreed upon, they will be reflected in Forest Service policy (through the Forest Service Manual) within a year or so of the summit (around November 2018).
    Director: Beryl H. Davis
    Phone: (202) 512-2623

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To strengthen BLM's controls and reasonably assure accountability over mining law program expenditures, both payroll and nonpayroll, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the Bureau of Land Management to establish procedures for regular and timely communication to all BLM employees on policy and procedural changes affecting the mining law program's expenditure-related processes.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: In support of closing this recommendation, officials from the Department of Interior's (DOI) Bureau of Land Management (BLM) provided us with an example of its timely communication (dated September 20, 2016) to BLM employees to announce the issuance of its revised Fund Code Handbook (dated August 12, 2016). They also re-iterated their policy about sending updates regarding guidance changes, which is included in its directives handbook. We reviewed the directives handbook and verified that it contains guidance for communicating policy and procedural changes affecting the mining law program's expenditure-related processes. However, we were unable to determine what procedures were established to ensure the regular and timely communication to all employees of policy and procedural changes take place. While we see the directives handbook is a good start towards meeting the intent of our recommendation, we did not see evidence within the directives handbook that requires these communications to be sent to employees within a specific timeframe (e.g., within 30 days of issuance of policy and procedural changes). We will continue to monitor the agency's actions to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To strengthen BLM's controls and reasonably assure accountability over mining law program expenditures, both payroll and nonpayroll, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the Bureau of Land Management to develop and implement a training program that provides all BLM employees with an understanding of the use of the mining law program funds to reasonably assure uniform application and effective execution of BLM policies and procedures. This training, to be successful, should be provided to all BLM employees who charge the program and communicate clear instructions on how employees should charge, document, and review transactions related to mining law program expenditures.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Interior's (DOI) Bureau of Land Management (BLM) agreed with our recommendation. On September 22, 2016, DOI's BLM informed us that the training material that will address this recommendation has been developed and reviewed by the BLM's Mining Law Administration Program and Budget leads. The BLM's National Training Center is currently preparing the training to be posted to "DOI Learn", the Department of the Interior's training portal. Once the training is ready for use, BLM anticipates issuing an Information Memorandum that directs targeted staff to complete the training. At the present time, the training is expected to be ready by end of fiscal year 2017. We will continue to monitor the agency's actions to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To strengthen BLM's controls and reasonably assure accountability over mining law program expenditures, both payroll and nonpayroll, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the Bureau of Land Management to develop and implement internal control activities for regularly monitoring compliance with expenditure-related policies and procedures in the mining law program. These activities should, at a minimum, (1) determine whether transactions were recorded to the correct subactivity and verified by an approving official and (2) assure that documentary evidence of review is maintained, as required in BLM's policies and procedures.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Interior's (DOI) Bureau of Land Management (BLM) agreed with our recommendation. On September 22, 2016, DOI's BLM informed us that DOI's BLM is developing a repeatable standardized annual internal control process which will include validation of Mining Law Administration Program (MLAP) expenditure transactions utilizing a "canned" report that is generated from the Financial Business Management System (FBMS), which is DOI's BLM's financial accounting system. This process will be incorporated into an existing DOI's BLM-wide budgetary review cycle requirement, such as the formal mid-year or 3rd quarter fiscal year reviews. The MLAP expenditures report will be distributed to DOI?s BLM state offices with instructions to obtain an adequate sample size from which to test MLAP fund transactions for compliance with Bureau policy. State budget officials will be required to identify their findings, corrective actions and certify the results from this exercise. It is anticipated that this requirement will be disseminated to the DOI's BLM state offices by Instruction Memorandum. The source report to be used for these reviews is still in the development stage and it is expected to be completed by end of fiscal year 2017. We will continue to monitor the agency's actions to address this recommendation.
    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.
    Director: Anne-Marie Fennell
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To provide the agency with better information to support its decisions when implementing the act, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of BLM to issue a rule--perhaps an interim final rule if BLM finds there is good cause to do so, given the time constraints--to require refiners to report information about signed agreements to toll less than 15 million cubic feet of helium and about refiners' attempts to negotiate tolling agreements that do not result in signed agreements.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: The intent of this recommendation was to ensure that BLM had the information that it needed to best implement the Helium Stewardship Act. As of April 2017, BLM provided evidence that (1) it has amended its helium reporting forms to ask the helium companies to voluntarily report this information and (2) some companies have voluntarily reported. We will continue to monitor this recommendation for 2 more years to ensure that the voluntary compliance continues.
    Director: Gomez, Jose A
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that USDA has the information needed to better identify potentially contaminated sites--particularly abandoned mines--on properties it manages and, thereby, help minimize possible risks to human health and the environment, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the heads of the department's land management agencies to develop plans and procedures for completing their inventories of potentially contaminated sites.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help resolve disagreements between EPA and USDA and Interior regarding which remaining docket sites require preliminary assessments, the Administrator of EPA should direct the Office of Federal Facilities Restoration and Reuse to review available information on USDA and Interior sites where EPA's Superfund Enterprise Management System indicates that a preliminary assessment has not occurred to determine the accuracy of this information, and update the information, as needed.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In response to this recommendation, EPA Federal Facilities Restoration and Reuse Office (FFRRO) generated a spreadsheet with information from EPA's Superfund Enterprise Management System showing the status of USDA and Interior sites on the docket. In January 2016 FFRRO sent letters to USDA and Interior which included information from the spreadsheet showing the status of each department's sites and requested that the departments work with EPA to determine the accuracy of the data. In addition, the departments were to--for those sites where EPA believed that a preliminary assessment was needed--provide a schedule for completion of the sites. In a June 2016 letter to EPA, USDA responded that with help from EPA regions they were able to substantially reconcile the list, complete preliminary assessments or their equivalent, and provide a status to EPA on its 251 sites. In an October 2016 letter to EPA, Interior responded that 79 sites have one or more areas of uncertainty regarding their status within the Federal Facilities Docket system. Interior stated that it had developed a work plan for obtaining additional information on the sites, which is scheduled for completion in March 2018. We will continue to monitor EPA's and Interior's progress to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help resolve disagreements between EPA and USDA and Interior regarding which remaining docket sites require preliminary assessments, the Administrator of EPA should direct the Office of Federal Facilities Restoration and Reuse to work with the relevant USDA and Interior offices to obtain any additional information needed to assist EPA in determining the accuracy of the agency's data on the status of preliminary assessments for these sites.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to EPA officials and documents, in response to this recommendation, EPA's Federal Facilities Restoration and Reuse Office (FFRRO) has been meeting quarterly with USDA and Interior to discuss, among other issues, any additional information needed to assist EPA in determining the accuracy of the agency's data on the status of preliminary assessments for these sites. According to a June 2016 letter USDA sent to EPA, preliminary assessments or their equivalent have been completed for its 251 sites. Interior informed EPA in an October 2016 letter that it has developed a plan--scheduled for completion in March 2018--for obtaining additional information on the sites. After the updated list of sites is developed, Interior plans to work with EPA to determine the final steps necessary to complete a preliminary assessment for each site. We will continue to monitor EPA's and Interior's progress to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help resolve disagreements between EPA and USDA and Interior regarding which remaining docket sites require preliminary assessments, the Administrator of EPA should direct the Office of Federal Facilities Restoration and Reuse to, after completing this review, inform USDA and Interior whether the requirement to conduct a preliminary assessment at the identified sites has been met or if additional work is needed to meet this requirement

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to EPA officials and documents, in response to this recommendation, EPA's Federal Facilities Restoration and Reuse Office (FFRRO) has been meeting quarterly with USDA and Interior to discuss, among other issues, whether the requirement to conduct a preliminary assessment at the identified sites has been met or if additional work is needed to meet this requirement. According to a June 2016 letter USDA sent to EPA, preliminary assessments or their equivalent have been completed for its 251 sites. Interior informed EPA in an October 2016 letter that it has developed a plan--scheduled for completion in March 2018--for obtaining additional information on the sites. After the updated list of sites is developed, Interior plans to work with EPA to determine the final steps necessary to complete a preliminary assessment for each site. We will continue to monitor EPA's and Interior's progress to address this recommendation.
    Director: Frank Rusco
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the Bureau of Land Management to take steps to establish a documented process that will provide reasonable assurance that oil and gas rules and guidance is reviewed and periodically updated.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: We are waiting to review requested documentation from BLM on actions the agency took in September 2017 that may have addressed this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the Bureau of Land Management to take steps to establish formal agreements with all relevant state regulatory agencies regarding oil and gas inspection activities; better leverage state inspection resources to avoid duplicative oversight activities, to the extent possible.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: We are waiting to review requested documentation from BLM on actions the agency took in September 2017 that may have addressed this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of the Bureau of Land Management to identify and take necessary steps to ensure communitization agreements are reviewed within required time frames.

    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: 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.
    Director: Fennell, Anne-marie Lasowski
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance the overall sustainability of the Forest Service's trail system, consistent with the vision articulated in A Framework for Sustainable Recreation, and to reduce the trail maintenance backlog, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Chief of the Forest Service to take several actions to improve the agency's trail maintenance approach in both the short and long terms. To improve the agency's ability to keep up with its maintenance goals in the short term and reduce its maintenance backlog, the agency should, recognizing the importance of volunteers for trail maintenance, take steps to improve management of volunteers, including by ensuring that collaboration with and management of volunteers are clear expectations of trails staff and offering relevant training.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Forest Service reported that it has taken and continues to take steps to improve management of volunteers. In particular, the agency has taken steps to reduce barriers to volunteering, such as its fiscal year 2014 implementation of a revised approach to funding volunteer worker's compensation costs from a national funding pool rather than allocating funds locally. In addition, the December 2016 national trail strategy identifies some additional key actions, such as developing and providing efficiency tools to support active partnering. The Forest Service also reported that it is developing training materials that address volunteer and partnership program management skills. The Forest Service has not, however, taken steps to ensure that collaboration with and management of volunteers are clear expectations of trails staff.
    Director: Gaffigan, Mark E
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that EM more effectively manages all its projects, the Secretary of Energy should direct the Senior Advisor for Environmental Management and the Director of the Office of Management, as appropriate, to provide the Office of Acquisition and Project Management with information on EM's project classification decisions to ensure that all capital asset projects have been appropriately classified and are managed in accordance with DOE Order 413.3B.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: When commenting on our report, DOE agreed with our recommendation. According to agency information provided in March 2017, DOE has ongoing internal discussions to develop and document a policy addressing EM capital asset project and operations activity classifications. However, DOE has not yet established and approved such a policy.
    Director: Rusco, Franklin W
    Phone: (202)512-4597

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To increase Interior's assurance that it is accurately measuring oil and gas produced on federal lands and waters, and to help ensure that Interior's production accountability inspection program consistently addresses key areas affecting measurement accuracy and that BLM meets its inspection goals, the Secretary of the Interior should establish goals for (1) witnessing onshore oil and gas meter calibrations, (2) witnessing onshore and offshore gas sample collections, (3) comparing onshore reported British Thermal Units (BTU) values with gas analyses, and (4) inspecting onshore and offshore orifice plates and meter tubes.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2014, BLM had not established goals for witnessing oil meter provings or gas meter calibrations. Officials stated that it would be too challenging to coordinate, as BLM inspectors would have to meet oil and gas company officials on site to witness the gas sample collection. BLM has also not established goals for comparing BTU analyses with gas analyses, though an official stated that comparisons do occur during an in office records review. For witnessing inspections of orifice plates and meter tubes, BLM officials again stated that coordinating these activities with companies would be cumbersome. Officials stated that inspectors do typically inspect the orifice plate when it is pulled for inspection by a company official during a gas meter calibration. For meter tubes, BLM has not taken any actions. BLM officials stated that when updating its oil and gas measurement regulations, it may address some of these issues. Interior officials set a time frame of 2016 to complete this effort.
    Recommendation: To increase Interior's assurance that it is accurately measuring oil and gas produced on federal lands and waters, and to improve the consistency of Interior's management of its onshore production and inspection program, the Secretary of the Interior should direct BLM to review and revise, as appropriate, its oversight of field and state offices and train managers involved in BLM's inspection and enforcement program to ensure adequate and appropriate review of personnel, processes, and production, consistent with standards for internal controls.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: In December 2014, Interior officials stated it had a completion rate of 96 percent for its two part training class called Oil and Gas Field Managers Training. Interior officials have not taken any steps to review and revise, as appropriate, its oversight of field and state offices and have not provided a time frame for when they might take any actions.
    Director: Wise, David J
    Phone: (202) 512-3000

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To strengthen formal collaboration efforts, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of the Federal Transit Administration, and the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development should direct the appropriate program offices, to develop a plan to ensure that data collected on the various programs of the agencies related to affordable housing and transit are sufficient to measure the agencies' performance toward goals and outcomes established in the HUD-FTA action plan and the Partnership for Sustainable Communities.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: On November 30, 2009, we received a response from HUD stating that actions were planned or underway to address this and the other recommendation in this report. As of June 2011, we have received no response from DOT. However, we are following up with DOT on the actions it has taken and will follow up with HUD about the status of the actions it planned.
    Recommendation: To strengthen formal collaboration efforts, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of the Federal Transit Administration, and the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development should direct the appropriate program offices, to develop a plan to ensure that data collected on the various programs of the agencies related to affordable housing and transit are sufficient to measure the agencies' performance toward goals and outcomes established in the HUD-FTA action plan and the Partnership for Sustainable Communities.

    Agency: Department of Transportation: Federal Transit Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: On November 30, 2009, we received a response from HUD stating that actions were planned or underway to address this and the other recommendation in this report. As of June 2011, we have received no response from DOT. However, we are following up with DOT on the actions it has taken and will follow up with HUD about the status of the actions it planned.