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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.
Federal agencies are required, at times, to consult with tribes on infrastructure projects like pipelines that may harm tribal natural and cultural resources.
According to tribal and agency officials, there are several factors making these consultations less effective.
Puget Sound is the nation's second largest estuary, supporting millions of people and a wide variety of species. Development and use, however, have degraded its water quality and habitat, and harmed critical species like salmon and killer whales.
What GAO Found The five agencies GAO reviewed—the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Forest Service, General Services Administration (GSA), Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and Internal Revenue Service (IRS)—generally do not have policies or processes for identifying unneeded...
What GAO Found The Departments of Agriculture (USDA), the Interior, Defense (DOD), and Energy (DOE) have identified thousands of contaminated and potentially contaminated sites on land they manage but do not have a complete inventory of sites, in particular, for abandoned mines.
What GAO FoundThe Task Force agencies use the Action Plan to implement the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) and use an interagency process to enter into agreements among themselves to identify GLRI projects and with other stakeholders to implement GLRI projects.
What GAO Found The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the Forest Service, and the Department of Energy (DOE) are the key agencies that oversee uranium exploration and extraction on federal land, but GAO identified three areas where their oversight processes differ.