Senator Carper Calls on Government Accountability Office to Examine the Threats of Climate Change

May 17, 2019

by ASME.org

Senator Tom Carper, Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee recently sent the Government Accountability Office (GAO) five letters calling on the agency to conduct five separate studies examining the threat climate change poses to nuclear waste, energy infrastructure, flood risk infrastructure, hazardous materials, and chemical facilities.

“The Government Accountability Office has already joined leagues of scientists and nonpartisan experts in raising the alarm about the short- and long-term risks climate change poses to our country’s environment, public health and economy,” Senator Carper said. “These nonpartisan studies would help to inform our oversight and legislative work on the Environment and Public Works Committee as we continue working on climate change solutions.”

The letters request the GAO examine and then provide written reports detailing a variety of factors specific to each requested sector:

  • Energy Infrastructure: Sen. Carper and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) co-request a report that provides an evaluation of domestic efforts to increase the resilience of U.S. energy infrastructure, as well as study effective methods used by other countries.
  • Flood Risk Infrastructure: Senators Carper and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) co request a report highlighting how taxpayer-funded flood risk management infrastructure, such as levees, are planned and maintained in a way that would minimize climate-related risks for various stakeholders.
  • Nuclear Waste: Senator Carper requests a report examining the U.S.’s cleanup efforts on international sites that have been impacted by nuclear waste as a result of U.S. activity, as well as the potential risk to legacy nuclear waste storage facilities from sea level rise, extreme weather, and melting ice.
  • Hazardous Materials: Senators Carper and Booker (D-NJ) co-request a report  on the implementation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 (RCRA), examining if and how the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. states are factoring adverse climate effects and extreme weather events into their planning for the treatment and disposal of hazardous materials.
  • Chemical Facilities: Senators Carper and Booker co-request a report reviewing the obstacles EPA-regulated chemical facilities face when planning and safeguarding against external hazards that may be exacerbated by climate change, as well as what regulated facilities may be particular vulnerable to climate change risks.