GAO’s reports and testimonies give Congress, federal agencies, and the public timely, fact-based, non-partisan information that can improve government operations and save taxpayers billions of dollars.
In 2000, Congress authorized the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Forest Service to allow the Colorado State Forest Service to conduct certain activities, such as reducing hazardous vegetation, on U.S. Forest Service land when performing similar activities on adjacent state or private land.
The Department of Agriculture's Forest Service and the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management (BLM) have stewardship contracting authority, which allows the agencies to trade goods--such as timber--for services (e.g.
Recognizing that millions of acres are at risk from wildland fire, the federal government expends substantial resources on thinning brush, trees, and other potentially hazardous fuels to reduce the fire risk to communities and the environment.
Ranchers pay a fee to graze their livestock on federal land. Grazing occurs primarily on federal land located in the western states managed by 10 federal agencies. Generally, the fee is based on animal unit months (AUM)--the amount of forage that a cow and her calf can eat in 1 month.
American Samoa, a U.S. territory, relies on federal funding to support government operations and deliver critical services. The Secretary of the Interior has administrative responsibility for coordinating federal policy in the territory.
U.S. consumption of oil and natural gas increasingly outpaces domestic production, a gap that is expected to grow rapidly over the next 20 years. There has been increasing concern about U.S. reliance on foreign energy sources.
Decades of fire suppression, as well as changing land management practices, have caused vegetation to accumulate and become altered on federal lands. Concerns about the effects of wildland fires have increased efforts to reduce fuels on federal lands. These efforts also have environmental effects.
Over the past decade, a series of devastating and deadly wildland fires has burned millions of acres of federal forests, grasslands, and deserts each year, requiring federal and management agencies to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to fight them.