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.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for regulating hazardous wastes (such as mercury) under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Under RCRA, mercury-containing hazardous waste must meet specific treatment standards before land disposal.
Power plants emit pollutants that have been linked to various negative health effects. In 2003, two new power plants, owned by Sempra Energy and Intergen, began operations 3 miles south of the U.S.-Mexico border near Imperial County, California.
Chemicals play an important role in everyday life, but some may be harmful to human health and the environment. Chemicals are used to produce items widely used throughout society, including consumer products such as cleansers, paints, plastics, and fuels, as well as industrial solvents and additives.
Terrorist attacks on chemical facilities could severely damage the U.S. economy and public health. About 15,000 facilities produce, use, or store large amounts of chemicals that pose the greatest risk to human health and the environment.
In September and October 2001, letters laced with Bacillus anthracis (anthrax) spores were sent through the mail to two U.S. senators and to members of the media. These letters led to the first U.S. cases of anthrax disease related to bioterrorism.
The National Strategy for Homeland Security grouped critical infrastructure into 13 sectors which include assets that if attacked by terrorists could have a debilitating impact on the nation. Two of these 13 sectors are the chemical and water sectors.
When the World Trade Center (WTC) buildings collapsed on September 11, 2001, nearly 3,000 people died and an estimated 250,000 to 400,000 people who were visiting, living, working, and attending school nearby, or responding to the attack, were exposed to a mixture of dust, debris, smoke, and various...