Transition Series:

Interior Issues

OCG-89-24TR: Published: Nov 1, 1988. Publicly Released: Nov 1, 1988.

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GAO summarized Department of the Interior program issues facing the new administration.

GAO found that the new administration will need to: (1) develop a systematic, comprehensive approach to protecting and managing national park resources; (2) take aggressive steps to assess the carrying capacity of public rangelands, establish appropriate grazing levels, and restore grazing-damaged riparian areas; (3) require all mine operators to post a bond or financial guarantee to ensure reclamation of federal lands if mining operations cause significant land disturbance; (4) vigorously enforce environmental standards relating to surface mining; (5) provide adequate funding to prevent growth of the backlog of deferred park maintenance and further deterioration of park assets, introduce legislation to extend fee collections beyond 1992 to help reclaim abandoned mine sites, and increase funding to identify and protect irreplaceable cultural artifacts on public lands; (6) ensure that mineral royalties collections are complete and accurate; (7) discontinue consideration of proposed Alaska land exchanges because they are not in the best interest of either the government or the wildlife they are intended to protect; (8) require clarification of congressional intent relating to a 960-acre farm size limitation if federally supplied irrigation water is limited to separately operated farms; and (9) discontinue the practice of selling miners the land that they mine.

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