The environmental liability of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Legacy Management (LM) was estimated at $7.35 billion in fiscal year 2019 and is expected to grow as the office acquires dozens more sites in the coming decades.

A report issued by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on May 13 details challenges faced by LM at some sites, including erosion and environmental conditions. It recommends that LM  develop procedures and plans for handling new cleanup work beyond the scope of its mission, capabilities, and resources, as well as for assessing the effects of climate change on its sites.

"LM plans to address the GAO’s findings, and we appreciate the thorough review," said Director Carmelo Melendez. "We are undertaking a risk analysis effort for our current and future sites, according to several types of risks, including risks to maintain current compliance with cleanup goals and how to maintain good stewardship into the future. We plan to use the results of the risk analysis to inform decisions about where to focus resources, to identify systemic technical challenges, and to identify possible opportunities for reducing LM’s environmental liability, such as through technology development."

Find the GAO report here: DOE Needs to Better Plan for Post-Cleanup Challenges Facing Sites