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.
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.
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.
Overgrown vegetation can fuel wildfires, which have been increasing in size and severity. Federal land management agencies reduce vegetation on high-risk public lands primarily by cutting it or intentionally burning it, often in combination.
Forest Service uses the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) to acquire land. Under the LWCF Act, not more than 15% of the land added is to be west of the 100th meridian, which runs through the Midwest.
Federal land management agencies have law enforcement divisions to help protect employees and facilities on nearly 700 million acres of land. Security incidents on federal land include the 2016 armed occupation of a wildlife refuge by individuals motivated by anti-government beliefs.