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New From the GAO

September 23, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Reports
Source: Government Accountability Office

1. Surface Transportation: Department of Transportation Should Measure the Overall Performance and Outcomes of the TIGER Discretionary Grant Program. GAO-14-766, September 23.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-766
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666024.pdf

2. F-35 Sustainment: Need for Affordable Strategy, Greater Attention to Risks, and Improved Cost Estimates. GAO-14-778, September 23.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-778
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666041.pdf
Podcast – http://www.gao.gov/multimedia/podcasts/665835

3. Health Resources and Services Administration: Action Taken to Train and Oversee Grantee Monitoring Staff, but Certain Guidance Could Be Improved. GAO-14-800, September 23.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-800
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666031.pdf

4. Federal Software Licenses: Most Agencies Have Reported Planned Actions to Address Our Prior Recommendations on Software License Management. GAO-14-835R, September 23.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-835R

5. Drinking Water: Characterization of Injected Fluids Associated with Oil and Gas Production. GAO-14-857R, September 23.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-857R

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New From the GAO

September 22, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Reports
Source: Government Accountability Office

1. Identity Theft: Additional Actions Could Help IRS Combat the Large, Evolving Threat of Refund Fraud. GAO-14-633,August 20.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-633
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/665367.pdf
Podcast – http://www.gao.gov/multimedia/podcasts/665529

2. Oil and Gas Transportation: Department of Transportation Is Taking Actions to Address Rail Safety, but Additional Actions Are Needed to Improve Pipeline Safety. GAO-14-667, August 21.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-667
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/665403.pdf
Podcast – http://www.gao.gov/multimedia/podcasts/665350

3. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: Procedures for Reporting Certain Financial Management Information Should Be Improved. GAO-14-697, September 22.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-697
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/665984.pdf

4. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: Some Privacy and Security Procedures for Data Collections Should Continue Being Enhanced. GAO-14-758, September 22.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-758
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666001.pdf

5. Bureau of Prisons: Management of New Prison Activations Can Be Improved. GAO-14-709, August 22.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-709
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/665416.pdf

6. Army Corps of Engineers: The Corps Needs to Take Steps to Identify All Projects and Studies Eligible for Deauthorization. GAO-14-699, August 21.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-699
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/665394.pdf

Country Analysis Brief: East China Sea

September 18, 2014 Comments off

Country Analysis Brief: East China Sea
Source: Energy Information Administration

The East China Sea is a semi-closed sea bordered by the Yellow Sea to the north, the South China Sea and Taiwan to the south, Japan’s Ryukyu and Kyushu islands to the east, and the Chinese mainland to the west. Studies identifying potentially abundant oil and natural gas deposits have made the sea a source of contention between Japan and China, the two largest energy consumers in Asia.

The East China Sea has a total area of approximately 482,000 square miles, consisting mostly of the continental shelf and the Okinawa Trough, a back-arc basin formed about 300 miles southeast of Shanghai between China and Japan. The disputed eight Senkaku islands are to the northeast of Taiwan. The largest of the islands is two miles long and less than a mile wide.

Though barren, the islands are important for strategic and political reasons, as sovereignty over land is the basis for claims to the surrounding sea and its resources under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. China and Japan both claim sovereignty over the islands, which are under Japanese administration, preventing wide-scale exploration and development of oil and natural gas in the East China Sea.

Country Analysis Brief: Australia

September 16, 2014 Comments off

Country Analysis Brief: Australia
Source: Energy Information Administration

Australia is rich in commodities, including fossil fuel and uranium reserves. It is one of the few countries belonging to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that is a significant net energy exporter, sending nearly 70% of its total energy production (excluding energy imports) overseas, according to data from Australia’s Bureau of Resource and Energy Economics (BREE).

Except for crude oil and other liquids, Australia retains a surplus of all other energy commodities. Australia was the world’s second-largest coal exporter based on weight in 2012 and the third-largest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in 2013. Energy exports accounted for 24% of Australia’s total export revenues in 2012, according to BREE. The country holds the world’s largest recoverable reserves of uranium (about 32%, based on 2012 data) and is the third-largest producer and exporter of uranium for nuclear-powered electricity, according to the World Nuclear Association. Australia is a net importer of crude oil and refined petroleum products, although the country exports some petroleum liquids.

New From the GAO

September 15, 2014 Comments off

New From the GAO
Source: Government Accountability Office

1. Critical Infrastructure Protection: DHS Action Needed to Enhance Integration and Coordination of Vulnerability Assessment Efforts. GAO-14-507, September 15.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-507
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/665787.pdf

2. EPA Regulations and Electricity: Update on Agencies’ Monitoring Efforts and Coal-Fueled Generating Unit Retirements. GAO-14-672, August 15.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-672
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/665324.pdf

CRS — Clean Coal Loan Guarantees and Tax Incentives: Issues in Brief (August 19, 2014)

September 15, 2014 Comments off

Clean Coal Loan Guarantees and Tax Incentives: Issues in Brief (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Coal represents a major energy resource for the United States. Coal-fired power plants provided approximately 37% of U.S. generated electricity (about 1.5 billion megawatt-hours) in 2012, while consuming over 800 million tons of coal. Power plants that use coal are also a major source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, contributing approximately 28% of total U.S. CO2 emissions in 2012.

As part of federal efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, loan guarantees and tax incentives have been made available to support private sector investment in “clean coal.” Both loan guarantees and tax incentives were included in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPACT05, P.L. 109-58). Mitigating CO2 emissions has also become the primary focus of U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) efforts within the clean coal research and development program (now Coal R&D) within its Office of Fossil Energy. At issue for Congress is the extent to which the private sector has used the financial incentive tools available, and whether they are the right tools for promoting the development of technology to reduce CO2 emissions from fossil fuel power plants.

8 Facts About U.S. Crude Oil Production

September 10, 2014 Comments off

8 Facts About U.S. Crude Oil Production
Source: Brookings Institution

The skyrocketing growth of unconventional oil and natural gas production in the United States has ignited an intense debate on the impact of energy exports on U.S. energy and economic security and its foreign policy. In “Changing Markets: Economic Opportunities from Lifting the U.S. Ban on Crude Oil Exports,” Charles Ebinger and Heather Greenley worked with National Economic Research Associates (NERA) to examine the economic and national security impacts of lifting the ban on crude oil exports. Learn eights facts about U.S. crude oil production within the key findings outlined below, and download the full report.

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