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Open Recommendations

Decarbonization: Opportunities Exist to Improve the Department of Energy's Management of Risks to Carbon Capture Projects

GAO-24-106489
May 16, 2024
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2 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Energy The Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management should take actions to more clearly document project risk treatment strategies consistent with the project management principles identified in its Guide to Financial Assistance. (Recommendation 1)
Open
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Department of Energy The Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management should take steps to ensure that the office adheres to guidance and only selects projects that are deemed to be technically acceptable, as required by its Merit Review Guide for Financial Assistance. (Recommendation 2)
Open
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Gas Pipeline Safety: Better Data and Planning Would Improve Implementation of Regulatory Changes

GAO-24-106690
Apr 03, 2024
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3 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration The Administrator of PHMSA should, as PHMSA considers possible changes to the potential impact radius calculation, evaluate what additional data are needed from operators to better understand the actual impact of pipeline incidents. (Recommendation 1)
Open
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration The Administrator of PHMSA should develop an implementation plan for the remaining activities for the 2022 final rule that includes clear objectives, timelines, and an outreach strategy. (Recommendation 2)
Open
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration The Administrator of PHMSA should update the 2019 and 2022 Gas Transmission Final Rule Implementation web pages to increase accessibility to rule implementation information. (Recommendation 3)
Open
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Nuclear Power Plants: NRC Should Take Actions to Fully Consider the Potential Effects of Climate Change

GAO-24-106326
Apr 02, 2024
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3 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Nuclear Regulatory Commission The Chair of the NRC should direct NRC staff to assess whether its licensing and oversight processes adequately address the potential for increased risks to nuclear power plants from climate change. (Recommendation 1)
Open
In its response to our draft report, NRC stated that this recommendation is consistent with actions that are either underway or under development. NRC stated that the NRC staff plans to review the recently released Fifth National Climate Assessment under NRC's Process for the Ongoing Assessment of Natural Hazard Information and will determine how the updated information can best inform the oversight of existing licensed power plants. In addition, the National Climate Assessment review may inform actions and guidance related to the licensing of new and existing facilities.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission The Chair of the NRC should direct NRC staff to develop, finalize, and implement a plan to address any gaps identified in its assessment of existing processes. (Recommendation 2)
Open
In response to our draft report, NRC stated that this recommendation is consistent with actions that are either underway or under development. NRC stated that based on the review of the Fifth National Climate Assessment conducted to implement recommendation 1, NRC will develop a plan for gaps identified, if specific gaps are found.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission The Chair of the NRC should direct NRC staff to develop and finalize guidance on incorporating climate projections data into relevant processes, including what sources of climate projections data to use and when and how to use climate projections data. (Recommendation 3)
Open
In response to our draft report, NRC stated that this recommendation is consistent with actions that are either underway or under development. Specifically, NRC stated that it has programs for the development and maintenance of guidance for both the staff and the regulated community, which include where consideration of climate projection data might be important. NRC further stated that it will decide how best to make use of the Fifth National Climate Assessment and other climate change-related resources through NRC's Process for the Ongoing Assessment of Natural Hazard Information.

Offshore Oil and Gas: Interior Needs to Improve Decommissioning Enforcement and Mitigate Related Risks

GAO-24-106229
Feb 20, 2024
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5 Open Recommendations
2 Priority
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of the Interior The Secretary of the Interior should direct the BSEE Director to strengthen BSEE's approach to proactively overseeing and enforcing decommissioning deadlines, including by (1) assessing the effectiveness of enforcement tools to incentivize compliance and data and practices supporting their timely use, and (2) identifying and implementing regulatory or policy changes as needed in consultation with BOEM, such as by providing clear timelines or other trigger criteria for use of existing enforcement tools and identifying additional enforcement tools. (Recommendation 1)
Open
Interior agreed with this recommendation. According to BSEE's fiscal year 2025 budget justification, to address these issues the agency has begun developing a strategy that will include a risk assessment; objectives and performance measures; and roles, responsibilities, and resource needs. As of April 2024, we will continue to monitor the agency's actions to implement these plans and provide updated information when available.
Department of the Interior
Priority Rec.
The Secretary of the Interior should ensure the BSEE Director completes planned actions to identify, propose, finalize, and fully implement changes to decommissioning regulations and guidance, including by (1) clarifying decommissioning criteria and deadlines for idle infrastructure in all regions and for end-of-lease infrastructure in the Pacific Region, and (2) addressing any other identified limitations. (Recommendation 2)
Open
Interior agreed with this recommendation. BSEE first published notice that it intended to update subpart Q decommissioning regulations, including on idle infrastructure, in the fall 2021 regulatory agenda. As of April 2024, BSEE had not published a proposed rule. We will continue to monitor any agency actions to do so and provide updated information when available.
Department of the Interior
Priority Rec.
The Secretary of the Interior should ensure the BOEM Director completes planned actions to further develop, finalize, and fully implement changes to financial assurance regulations and procedures that reduce financial risks, including by (1) requiring higher levels of supplemental bonding, and (2) addressing other known weaknesses. (Recommendation 3)
Open
Interior agreed with this recommendation and finalized BOEM's financial assurance rule in April 2024. We will continue to monitor the agency's actions to implement the final rule and provide updated information when available.
Department of the Interior The Secretary of the Interior should ensure the BOEM Director completes planned actions to assess and revise qualification procedures to address decommissioning capacity and compliance history in consultation with BSEE, such as through qualification and disqualification criteria or fitness to operate standards. (Recommendation 4)
Open
Interior agreed with this recommendation. BOEM posted in the fall 2023 regulatory agenda a target of September 2024 for publication of a proposed rule. As of April 2024, we will continue to review the agency's actions to implement these plans and provide updated information when available.
Congress To the extent that Congress wants to further encourage Interior to manage risks posed by decommissioning liabilities, it should consider implementing an oversight mechanism—such as requiring annual reporting on the status of decommissioning enforcement efforts and associated liabilities—or providing additional direction to Interior on how to balance the goals outlined by the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act as it makes decisions about decommissioning oversight and enforcement priorities. (Matter 1)
Open
As of March 2024, Congress has not introduced any legislation related to this matter.