Natural Resources and Environment

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Open Recommendations

Environmental Liabilities: Improvements Needed to Measure Progress of Cleanup of Formerly Used Defense Sites

GAO-22-104744
Jun 16, 2022
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2 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Defense The Secretary of Defense should ensure that the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations, and Environment develops guidance to weigh the relative risk or other factors between IRP and MMRP sites when selecting sites for funding. (Recommendation 1)
Open
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Department of Defense The Secretary of Defense should ensure that the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Energy, Installations, and Environment establishes a relevant cleanup goal for the FUDS MMRP. (Recommendation 2)
Open
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Critical Minerals: Building on Federal Efforts to Advance Recovery and Substitution Could Help Address Supply Risks

GAO-22-104824
Jun 16, 2022
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3 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Energy The Secretary of Energy, the Secretary of the Interior, and the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, in collaboration with the members of the Critical Minerals Subcommittee, should update the 2019 critical minerals national strategy as it relates to recovery and substitution. The update should address newly enacted statutory requirements and recent federal efforts and incorporate characteristics of effective national strategies, including (1) goals, subordinate objectives, activities, and performance measures; (2) resources, investments, and risk management; and (3) integration and implementation. (Recommendation 1)
Open
As of July 2022, we are following up on this recommendation and will update it when we receive information.
Department of the Interior The Secretary of Energy, the Secretary of the Interior, and the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, in collaboration with the members of the Critical Minerals Subcommittee, should update the 2019 critical minerals national strategy as it relates to recovery and substitution. The update should address newly enacted statutory requirements and recent federal efforts and incorporate characteristics of effective national strategies, including (1) goals, subordinate objectives, activities, and performance measures; (2) resources, investments, and risk management; and (3) integration and implementation. (Recommendation 1)
Open
As of July 2022, we are following up on this recommendation and will update it when we receive information.
Office of Science and Technology Policy The Secretary of Energy, the Secretary of the Interior, and the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, in collaboration with the members of the Critical Minerals Subcommittee, should update the 2019 critical minerals national strategy as it relates to recovery and substitution. The update should address newly enacted statutory requirements and recent federal efforts and incorporate characteristics of effective national strategies, including (1) goals, subordinate objectives, activities, and performance measures; (2) resources, investments, and risk management; and (3) integration and implementation. (Recommendation 1)
Open
As of July 2022, we are following up on this recommendation and will update it when we receive information.

Water Quality: Agencies Should Take More Actions to Manage Risks from Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia

GAO-22-104449
Jun 15, 2022
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10 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration The Administrator of NOAA and the Administrator of EPA, in collaboration with the members of the working group, should document and define what a national HAB and hypoxia program would entail, including identifying the program's resource needs. (Recommendation 1)
Open
NOAA and EPA agreed with this recommendation. In addition, the agencies stated that they will work together to realize a more defined national program, including by defining the scope of the program and its resource needs.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration The Administrator of NOAA and the Administrator of EPA, in collaboration with the members of the working group, should develop performance measures to assess the working group's efforts, including the extent to which the recommended goals from the Research Plan and Action Strategy have been achieved. (Recommendation 2)
Open
NOAA and EPA agreed with this recommendation and stated that they will work together, in collaboration with the working group members, to develop formal performance measures.
Environmental Protection Agency The Administrator of EPA, working with the other members of the working group, should develop an interagency framework, including prioritizing water bodies and identifying resource needs, to expand monitoring of freshwater HABs and hypoxia. (Recommendation 3)
Open
EPA agreed with this recommendation. EPA further stated that, in consultation with other working group members, it intends to coordinate the development of a framework and determine the resources needed to prioritize water bodies and expand monitoring for HABs and hypoxia in freshwater systems.
Environmental Protection Agency The Administrator of EPA, working with the other members of the working group, should develop an interagency framework, including prioritizing water bodies and identifying resource needs, to expand forecasting of freshwater HABs and hypoxia. (Recommendation 4)
Open
EPA agreed with this recommendation. In addition, EPA stated that it intends to coordinate with other working group members to develop an interagency framework--including identifying resource needs and prioritizing water bodies based on magnitude, spatial extent, and frequency--to expand forecasting of freshwater HABs and hypoxia.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration The Administrator of NOAA and the Administrator of EPA, in collaboration with the members of the working group, should develop a national goal for the group focused on efforts to prevent HABs and hypoxia. (Recommendation 5)
Open
NOAA and EPA agreed with this recommendation and stated that they will work together, in collaboration with the working group members, to develop a national goal focused on prevention.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration The Administrator of NOAA and the Administrator of EPA, in collaboration with the members of the working group, should coordinate the development of a more comprehensive body of information on the costs and benefits of mitigation, control, and prevention actions for use by state, local, and tribal governments. (Recommendation 6)
Open
NOAA and EPA agreed with this recommendation. In addition, the agencies stated that they will work together and in collaboration with the working group members to identify the resources and information needed to determine the costs and benefits of mitigation, control, and prevention actions.

Oil and Gas: Federal Actions Needed to Address Methane Emissions from Oil and Gas Development

GAO-22-104759
May 20, 2022
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2 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Environmental Protection Agency The EPA Administrator should provide greater flexibility to operators for using alternative technologies to detect methane emissions. (Recommendation 1)
Open
EPA generally agreed with the recommendation. EPA stated that its November 15, 2021, proposed rule would allow operators greater flexibility to use advanced methane detection technologies to more frequently screen sites for large emissions, in addition to using EPA-approved technologies. When we confirm what actions EPA has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Bureau of Land Management The Director of BLM should consider whether to require gas capture plans that are similar to what states require, including gas capture percentage targets, from operators on federal lands. (Recommendation 2)
Open
Interior concurred with the recommendation. BLM stated that it is in the process of developing a proposed rulemaking that would require operators to submit waste minimization plans with every oil well application for permit to drill. The plans would provide BLM with information on anticipated associated gas production and the operator's capacity to capture that gas for sale or use. BLM stated that it did not plan to include gas capture percentage targets in the proposed rule, in part due to prior legal challenges. When we confirm what actions Interior has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
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