Skip to main content

Priority Open Recommendations: Department of the Interior

GAO-23-106461 Published: May 11, 2023. Publicly Released: May 18, 2023.
Jump To:

Fast Facts

Each year, we make more than 1,000 recommendations to help the federal government save money, address issues on our High Risk List, and significantly improve government operations.

This letter to the Department of the Interior outlines 12 open recommendations that it should prioritize. For example, Interior should improve its oversight of offshore oil and gas activities, and address the safety and environmental risks associated with shutting down offshore pipelines.

Interior implemented 1 of the recommendations we identified as a priority last year.

We regularly update priority recommendations here.

Graphic that says, "GAO's Priority Open Recommendations" and includes the DOI seal.

Skip to Highlights


Why GAO Did This Study

Priority open recommendations are the GAO recommendations that warrant priority attention from heads of key departments or agencies because their implementation could save large amounts of money; improve congressional and/or executive branch decision-making on major issues; eliminate mismanagement, fraud, and abuse; or ensure that programs comply with laws and funds are legally spent, among other benefits. Since 2015 GAO has sent letters to selected agencies to highlight the importance of implementing such recommendations.

What GAO Found

In June 2022, GAO identified 13 priority recommendations for the Department of the Interior. Since then, Interior has implemented one of those recommendations by establishing a plan to develop an inventory of pending transactions related to energy development activities at field offices, and to begin meeting regularly with field offices to monitor their processing of these transactions. GAO removed priority status from two additional recommendations.

In April 2023, GAO identified two additional priority recommendation for Interior, bringing the total number to 12. These recommendations involve the following areas:

  • improving oversight of offshore oil and gas activities;
  • taking action to ensure special education services at Bureau of Indian Education schools;  
  • addressing Micronesia and the Marshall Islands' transition to trust fund income;
  • conducting strategic workforce planning at the Bureau of Land Management; and
  • protecting the privacy of personal information.

Interior's continued attention to these issues could lead to significant improvements in government operations.

For more information, contact Mark Gaffigan at (202) 512-3841 or

Full Report

GAO Contacts

Office of Public Affairs


CybersecurityFederal assistance programsFinancial accountabilityHigh-risk issuesHuman capital managementLabor forceLand managementOil and gasPersonally identifiable informationPipeline operationsPrivacyPublic affairsRisk managementSchoolsSpecial educationStrategic planningWorkforce planning