GAO provides recommendation to improve Bureau of Land Management inspection data, environmental impact monitoring

Published on May 12, 2017 by Daily Energy Insider Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently offered six recommendations to the Bureau
of Land Management (BLM) to help improve its inspection data and its ability to monitor compliance with
and the effectiveness of its environmental protection requirements.

BLM requires oil and gas companies on federal lands to use the Bureau’s environmental management best practices and inspects oil and gas wells to verify that the practices are in use and assess their effectiveness
in protecting the environment. According to GAO, BLM’s field offices document inspections and use data inconsistently, which makes it difficult to conduct monitoring.

GAO recommended that BLM to develop a policy to ensure that field offices consistently track exception data, develop procedures for documenting the information and processes used to make exception decisions and direct field offices to make that information available to the public.

GAO’s report also recommended that BLM should clarify guidance for documentation of environmental inspections and ensure that inspections are documentation indicates whether all permit requirements were checked as part of the inspection.

While more guidance for field offices on how to collect and use data related to inspection to evaluate the effectiveness of the agency’s mitigation efforts will help drastically, BLM staff should also be responsible for conducting environmental and monitoring inspections participate in standardized training, according to GAO’s report.