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Coast Guard regulations require tankers and other large vessels to have plans for responding to incidents that caused or could cause an oil spill. Plans must identify response resources, such as the equipment needed for spill cleanup, salvage, and firefighting.
Facilities that produce, use, or store hazardous chemicals could be targeted by terrorists. The Department of Homeland Security identifies and regulates high-risk facilities that contain certain quantities of these chemicals.
Climate change has led to record low levels of ice in the U.S. Arctic—prolonging the shipping season and opening up shipping routes. This may expand economic opportunities, but harsh weather and ice conditions—plus the lack of maritime infrastructure—pose safety risks.
The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway serves more than 100 ports and supplies drinking water for millions of people. To protect it, federal law requires foreign commercial vessels to use local registered pilots for navigation.
What GAO Found The U.S. Coast Guard's National Pollution Funds Center (NPFC) has responsibility for disbursements from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund (Fund).The Fund enables the Coast Guard and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to respond to oil spills.
What GAO Found Federal data provide insight into the number of facilities in the United States with ammonium nitrate but do not provide a complete picture because of reporting exemptions and other data limitations.
What GAO FoundAccording to the National Research Council (NRC) and others, infrastructure such as roads and bridges, wastewater systems, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) centers are vulnerable to changes in the climate.