Surface Mining:

Interior Is Acting to Improve Its Applicant Violator System

AFMD-90-63: Published: Jun 22, 1990. Publicly Released: Jul 23, 1990.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO evaluated: (1) the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement's (OSMRE) actions to improve the permit review process; and (2) the National Wildlife Federation's agreement with the Department of the Interior for improving the permit review process.

GAO found that: (1) OSMRE took several steps to improve its permit review process, primarily by upgrading its database to add mine identification numbers; (2) OSMRE eliminated a recommendations backlog and redesigned its Applicant Violator System (AVS); (3) although OSMRE strengthened AVS, it still did not produce reliable permit issuance or denial recommendations, and OSMRE continued to manually verify AVS-generated recommendations; (4) in 1989, OSMRE manual verifications agreed with about 63 percent of AVS-generated recommendations, a 9-percent improvement over the agreement rate in 1987 and 1988; (5) OSMRE implemented redesigned systems to address the data accuracy problem, and the system had a 77-percent accuracy rate; and (6) OSMRE had not determined what was causing the large number of incorrect links in AVS.

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