Priority Open Recommendations: Department of the Interior

GAO-20-289PR Published: Apr 06, 2020. Publicly Released: Apr 13, 2020.
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Fast Facts

Each year, we make more than 1,000 recommendations to help improve the federal government. We alert department heads to the recommendations where they can save the most money, address issues on our High Risk List, or significantly improve government operations.

This report outlines our 10 priority open recommendations for the Department of the Interior as of April 2020.

For example, we continue to recommend developing a plan to help Bureau of Indian Education schools address safety hazards.

Since our previous letter in April 2019, Interior implemented 1 of our priority recommendations.

Department of the Interior priority recommendations graphic

Department of the Interior priority recommendations graphic

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What GAO Found

In April 2019, GAO identified seven priority recommendations for the Department of the Interior (Interior). Since then, Interior has implemented one of those recommendations by, among other things, taking actions to demonstrate that it completed safety inspections of all of Interior's Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) schools and that inspection information is complete and accurate.

In April 2020, GAO identified four additional priority recommendations for Interior, bringing the total number to 10. These recommendations involve the following areas:

  • improving oversight of offshore oil and gas activities.
  • taking action to ensure safety and health of BIE school facilities.
  • improving management of energy development on Indian lands.
  • reducing factors that hinder tribal administration of federal programs.
  • improving Interior’s cybersecurity.

Interior’s continued attention to these issues could lead to significant improvements in government operations.

Why GAO Did This Study

Priority open recommendations are the GAO recommendations that warrant priority attention from heads of key departments or agencies because their implementation could save large amounts of money; improve congressional and/or executive branch decision making on major issues; eliminate mismanagement, fraud, and abuse; or ensure that programs comply with laws and funds are legally spent, among other benefits. Since 2015 GAO has sent letters to selected agencies to highlight the importance of implementing such recommendations.

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