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Open Recommendations (16 total)

Broadband Deployment: Agencies Should Take Steps to Better Meet Deadline for Processing Permits

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1 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Bureau of Land Management The Director of BLM should continue to analyze the factors that contribute to delays in processing communications use applications as they occur and take actions to address those factors. (Recommendation 3)
Open
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Broadband Deployment: Agencies Should Take Steps to Better Meet Deadline for Processing Permits

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2 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Bureau of Land Management The Director of BLM should establish a method to alert staff to communications use applications at risk of exceeding the 270-day deadline. (Recommendation 5)
Open
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Bureau of Land Management The Director of BLM should develop controls to ensure BLM data are sufficiently accurate and complete to track processing times for all communications use applications. (Recommendation 1)
Open
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Oil and Gas: Federal Actions Needed to Address Methane Emissions from Oil and Gas Development

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1 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Bureau of Land Management The Director of BLM should consider whether to require gas capture plans that are similar to what states require, including gas capture percentage targets, from operators on federal lands. (Recommendation 2)
Open
Interior concurred with the recommendation. BLM stated that it is in the process of developing a proposed rulemaking that would require operators to submit waste minimization plans with every oil well application for permit to drill. The plans would provide BLM with information on anticipated associated gas production and the operator's capacity to capture that gas for sale or use. BLM stated that it did not plan to include gas capture percentage targets in the proposed rule, in part due to prior legal challenges. BLM expects to publish the Waste Prevention, Production Subject to Royalties, and Resource Conservation Final Rule in April 2024. When we confirm what actions Interior has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Bureau of Land Management: Better Workforce Planning and Data Would Help Mitigate the Effects of Recent Staff Vacancies

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1 Open Recommendations
1 Priority
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Bureau of Land Management
Priority Rec.
The Director of BLM should develop an agency-wide strategic workforce plan that aligns the agency's human capital program with emerging mission goals and includes long-term strategies for acquiring, developing, and retaining staff to achieve programmatic goals. (Recommendation 2)
Open – Partially Addressed
The Department of the Interior concurred with this recommendation. As of February 2024, the Bureau of Land Management developed a draft workforce planning framework and project plan, which we reviewed. The agency expects to implement its workforce plan in fiscal year 2025.

Bureau of Land Management: Better Workforce Planning and Data Would Help Mitigate the Effects of Recent Staff Vacancies

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1 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Bureau of Land Management The Director of BLM should track data on vacancies and the use of details for all offices. (Recommendation 1)
Open
The Department of the Interior concurred with this recommendation. As of February 2024, Bureau of Land Management officials said the agency, via the Interior Business Center, is developing a model for vacancy tracking.

Oil and Gas Leasing: BLM Should Update Its Guidance and Review Its Fees

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1 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Bureau of Land Management The Director of BLM should conduct a review to determine why the agency has had difficulty updating handbooks and its manual for oil and gas leasing as directed by BLM policy, and then adjust BLM's approach to updating them accordingly. (Recommendation 1)
Open
According to BLM officials, in March 2022, BLM reviewed the difficulty it has had in updating its oil and gas leasing handbooks and manuals. The agency found that difficulties were due to litigation, pending court action, or pending rulemaking on leasing regulations. However, agency officials did not indicate that BLM adjusted its approach to updating its handbooks and manual. Instead, BLM officials said the agency would start preparing to update its handbooks as part of its rulemaking process. BLM issued its proposed rule for comment in 2023, and anticipates finalizing the rule by April 2024.

Oil and Gas Leasing: BLM Should Update Its Guidance and Review Its Fees

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1 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Bureau of Land Management The Director of BLM should revise the agency's approach to conducting biennial fee reviews to ensure that future biennial reviews examine all costs BLM intended to recover with its application fees and, where appropriate, adjust fees accordingly. (Recommendation 3)
Open
BLM agreed with this recommendation and has taken some actions to address it. In 2023, BLM issued proposed regulations which would revise existing fees associated with processing oil and gas applications. The new regulations have since been undergoing review. BLM expects to finalize the regulations by April 2024. BLM has not indicated how it will revise its approach to conducting biennial fee reviews, which is also critical to addressing this recommendation. Once these actions have been taken, BLM will be better able to determine the appropriateness of its fees.

Oil and Gas: Interior Should Strengthen Management of Key Data Systems Used to Oversee Development on Federal Lands

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1 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Bureau of Land Management The Director of BLM should define and document processes for developing and managing requirements for AFMSS II and MLRS in a manner consistent with existing or updated IT policies and guidance. (Recommendation 5)
Open
In May 2022, BLM issued guidance reiterating that its 2016 Capital Planning and Investment Control handbook should be used, and considers this recommendation addressed as a result. While the 2016 policy provides a broad framework for requirements, it does not specify in any detail BLM's expectations for how requirements are to be developed and managed for AFMSS II and MLRS. For example, our report highlighted a lack of definition regarding which stakeholders should be involved in providing input and at what stages when developing customer requirements. The 2016 handbook does not address such issues and therefore does not address the recommendation. As of March 2024, we continue to monitor actions to address this recommendation.

Oil and Gas: Interior Should Strengthen Management of Key Data Systems Used to Oversee Development on Federal Lands

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1 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Bureau of Land Management The Director of BLM should develop training plans for key data systems that identify users and how they will be trained. (Recommendation 3)
Open
Interior stated that the BLM will document a standard operating procedure and/or guidance for training users on key data systems. The BLM will also work closely with the National Training Center to create and maintain training resources and other materials for users throughout the life of key data systems. To implement this recommendation, BLM should finalize the training plans for key data systems. As of March, 2024, we continue to monitor actions to address this recommendation.