Environmental Protection:

Issues Facing the Energy and Defense Environmental Management Programs

T-RCED/NSIAD-96-127: Published: Mar 21, 1996. Publicly Released: Mar 21, 1996.

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GAO discussed the Department of Energy's (DOE) and Department of Defense's (DOD) efforts to control the cost of environmental cleanup of their nuclear weapons facilities. GAO noted that: (1) if DOE incorporated more realistic land use assumptions into the selection process for cleanups, that could result in significant cost savings of $200 million to $600 million annually; (2) deactivation of surplus facilities, a shortened environmental restoration process, and privatization of some cleanup processes could also result in DOE savings; (3) DOE excess carryover balances of uncosted obligations and unobligated balances could be used to fund cleanup efforts and reduce its future budget requests; (4) DOD has evaluated about 70 percent of its 10,000 cleanup sites, but it has not ranked over half of the sites based on relative risk or ranked sites based on geographical or organizational boundaries; and (5) DOD does not have sufficient data to manage its environmental compliance programs.

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