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    Subject Term: "Liability of environmental damages"

    2 publications with a total of 8 open recommendations
    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: Khan, Asif A
    Phone: (202)512-8341

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve internal controls over the development and reporting of environmental liabilities and to prevent recurrence of the types of problems we identified in our report, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) and the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force, as appropriate, to develop, document, and implement a program for financial management review, approval, assessment, and monitoring of the estimation and reporting processes for environmental liabilities.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with this recommendation. DOD updated its November 20, 2006 Financial Improvement and Audit Readiness Plan to include a key milestone for developing a program to monitor the estimation and reporting process. It also stated that it would establish a workgroup to improve the financial reporting of environmental liabilities and to assist the military departments in meeting key milestones. The estimated completion date is June 30, 2008. The DOD-IG closed this recommendation on November 20, 2006, once the FIAR plan was updated. GAO attempted to obtain documentation evidencing that a program to monitor the estimation and reporting process for environmental liabilities was established by DOD. We have followed up with Office of Undersecretary of Defense (Comptroller) officials to obtain documentation to determine if actions were taken to address this recommendation. As of July 2017, we have not received supporting documentation so this recommendation remains open. We will continue to follow up with Office of Undersecretary of Defense Comptroller officials to obtain documentation and determine if actions were taken to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve internal controls over the development and reporting of environmental liabilities and to prevent recurrence of the types of problems we identified in our report, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) and the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force, as appropriate, to improve compliance with federal accounting standards and FMR guidance and remedy the specific deficiencies we identified by including all appropriate budget elements for reporting financial liabilities for (1) the Navy's nuclear ships and submarines, (2) the Air Force's cleanup and restoration costs, and (3) all costs intended to be paid for with prior-year budgetary authority (e.g., unsigned contracts) by the Army, Navy, and Air Force.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with this recommendation and stated that it has instructed the military departments to include a step in their financial improvement plans to comply with this recommendation. It estimated a completion date of June 30, 2008. The DOD-IG closed this recommendation on November 20, 2006, once the FIAR plan was updated. GAO attempted to obtain documentation evidencing that a program to monitor the improved compliance with federal accounting standards and the DOD FMR guidance was established by DOD. We have followed up with Office of Undersecretary of Defense (Comptroller) officials to obtain such documentation to determine if actions were taken to address this recommendation. As of July 2017, we have not received documentation so this recommendation remains open.
    Recommendation: To improve internal controls over the development and reporting of environmental liabilities and to prevent recurrence of the types of problems we identified in our report, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) and the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force, as appropriate, to improve compliance with federal accounting standards and FMR guidance and remedy the specific deficiencies we identified by reconciling the Army's, Navy's, and Air Force's installation-level environmental records to installation-level property records as required and then using the corrected site inventories to determine that all sites with cleanup or corrective action costs and all hazardous waste operations with cleanup or closure costs are included in financial reports of environmental liabilities and all are reported by the appropriate Defense component.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with this recommendation and stated that it instructed the military departments to include a step in their financial improvement plans to comply with this recommendation. It estimated the completion date of June 30, 2008. The DOD-IG closed this recommendation on November 20, 2006, once the FIAR plan was updated. GAO attempted to obtain documentation evidencing that procedures were established by the military departments to ensure that reconciliations are performed and all cleanup and closure costs are recorded in financial reports of environmental liabilities. We have followed up with Office of Undersecretary of Defense (Comptroller) officials to obtain documentation to determine if actions were taken to address this recommendation. As of July 2017, we have not obtained such documentation so this recommendation remains open.
    Recommendation: To improve internal controls over the development and reporting of environmental liabilities and to prevent recurrence of the types of problems we identified in our report, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) and the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force, as appropriate, to improve compliance with federal accounting standards and FMR guidance and remedy the specific deficiencies we identified by producing and maintaining adequate supporting documentation for Army, Navy, and Air Force environmental liabilities at all levels in accordance with internal control standards in the federal government.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with this recommendation and stated that it instructed the military departments to include a step in their financial improvement plans to comply with this recommendation. It estimated the completion date of June 30, 2008. The DOD-IG closed this recommendation on November 20, 2006, once the FIAR plan was updated. GAO attempted to obtain documentation evidencing that procedures were established to ensure that the military departments are producing and maintaining adequate supporting documentation for environmental liabilities at all levels in accordance with internal control standards in the Federal Government. We followed up with Office of Undersecretary of Defense (Comptroller) officials to obtain documentation to determine if actions were taken to address this recommendation. As of July 2017, we have not obtained such documentation so this recommendation remains open.