Recent GAO reports

BIOFUELS: DOE Lacks a Strategic Approach to Coordinate Increasing Production with Infrastructure Development and Vehicle Needs, GAO-07-713 (pdf, 56pp/1.4MB), June 8, 2007

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) found limited progress in the production and distribution of biofuels. Some of the challenges:
  • in 2006 the wholesale price of ethanol was 33 percent higher than gasoline
  • whether the rail industry, by which biofuels are generally transported, can meet the growing demand
  • in early 2007, only 1 percent of U.S. fueling stations offered E85
  • for flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs) to have an impact on biofuel use, E85 must become less expensive and more widely available.
GAO recommends that the Dept. of Energy (DOE) develop a comprehensive strategy for increasing biofuels and vehicle production and developing biofuel infrastructure.

Related FR posts:
     Ethanol - 100 billion gallons by 2025? 8-23-06
     Ethanol - background and policy issues, 3-9-06

AVIAN INFLUENZA: USDA Has Taken Important Steps to Prepare for Outbreaks, but Better Planning Could Improve Response GAO-07-652, (pdf, 60pp/3.2MB), June 11, 2007

GAO reports on steps the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) has taken for outbreaks of a highly pathogenic strain of avian influenza (AI), H5N1. For this study, GAO visited 5 states (California, Delaware, Maryland, Texas, and Virginia) that have experienced outbreaks in the last 5 years. Since the Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) is responsible for emergency planning and response, GAO urges USDA and DHS to better coordinate their roles and responsibilities.

INFLUENZA PANDEMIC: Efforts to Forestall Onset Are Under Way; Identifying Countries at Greatest Risk Entails Challenges, GAO-07-604 (pdf, 78pp/3.5MB), June 20, 2007

According to GAO, the risks of avian influenza causing an influenza pandemic in humans depend on a country's environmental and preparedness risk factors: the presence of AI in that country or a neighboring country, and high-risk poultry farming practices, and the capacity to control outbreaks.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has categorized countries by level of risk.

Related FR post:      Pandemic flu effects - from macro to you

SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS: Use is Widespread and Protection Could Be Improved GAO-07-1023T (pdf, 18pp/260kB), June 21, 2007

This testimony addresses: (1) use of SSNs by government agencies, (2) use of SSNs by the private sector, and (3) vulnerabilties that remain to protecting SSNs. It notes that in April 2007, the President's Identity Theft Task Force released a strategic plan to combat identity theft.

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