What GAO Found
In April 2019, GAO identified 17 priority recommendations for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Since then, EPA has implemented three of those recommendations by, among other things, taking actions to assess established timeframes for each step in the Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) process and publish current information about chemicals being assessed.
In April 2020, GAO identified seven additional priority recommendations for EPA, bringing the total number to 21. These recommendations involve the following areas:
- Assessing and controlling toxic chemicals.
- Reducing pollution in the nation’s waters.
- Ensuring cybersecurity at EPA.
- Addressing data, funding, and cybersecurity issues for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure.
- Managing climate change risks.
EPA’s continued attention to these issues could lead to significant improvements in government operations.
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.