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 2017, USDA announced a major initiative to provide better customer service to U.S. farmers, ranchers, and foresters by modernizing its IT operations. A key IT project was the 2018 launch of Farmers.gov to provide online self-service applications, like a farm loan eligibility tool.
Hardrock minerals, like gold and copper, are crucial for modern technology. But mining can create lasting health hazards and contamination.
This report describes, among other things, stakeholder views on management of hardrock mining on federal lands.
Draining wetlands can harm water quality and wildlife habitat. Millions of acres of wetlands known as "potholes" remain in the Midwest, often on farms. The U.S. Department of Agriculture can withhold benefits from farmers who violate wetlands conservation rules.
The Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River waterway supports multiple users in the U.S. and Canada that live, visit, or conduct business in the region. Representatives of both countries serve on a commission that implements Plan 2014, which governs water releases from the lake into the river.
Mining on federal lands can produce minerals such as gold, copper, coal, and phosphate. Several laws govern such mining. Depending on the type of federal land and what kind of mineral is produced, mine operators may or may not have to pay the government a royalty.
A large 2017 wildfire in southwest Oregon destroyed 6 homes and threatened thousands more. Its smoke also contributed to respiratory and other health problems in nearby communities and hurt businesses and workers.
Until the 1970s, mine operators could mine for valuable hardrock minerals—i.e., gold or copper—then abandon the land. On lands they oversee, federal agencies identified about 140,000 remnants of these hardrock mines, including unsecured tunnels and toxic waste piles.
Extreme weather related to climate change potentially threatens utilities that produce drinking water and treat wastewater.
We examined federal technical and financial assistance to make such infrastructure more resilient to extreme weather and asked experts about additional options.