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 2010, an explosion on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico resulted in 11 deaths and the largest oil spill in U.S. history.
Responders applied chemical dispersants to the surface oil slick—to break oil into smaller droplets.
Since 2004, the federal government has offered a tax credit that supports the production of refined coal, which could help reduce air pollution. Producers claimed nearly $9 billion in these credits since 2010.
The EPA uses National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits to regulate wastewater discharges. However, nearly 11,000 facilities significantly exceeded their permit limits and illegally discharged pollutants into nearby waters in 2018.
Each year, we make more than 1,000 recommendations to help improve the federal government. We alert department heads to where they can save the most money, address issues on our High Risk List, or significantly improve government operations.
To see the version of this page in English, see GAO-21-268.
El Departamento de Defensa continúa los esfuerzos de limpieza de municiones y sustancias peligrosas en las antiguas áreas militares en Vieques y Culebra, Puerto Rico, pero queda mucho que hacer.
More than 10% of the U.S. population gets drinking water from privately-owned water utilities and most states regulate the rates these utilities can charge. The utilities are owned by for-profit or nonprofit water companies, or other companies as part of another business.
Since the 1960s, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement has allowed the offshore oil and gas industry to leave 97% of pipelines (18,000 miles) on the seafloor when no longer in use. Pipelines can contain oil or gas if not properly cleaned in decommissioning.