Last updated on: 7/1/2009 | Author: ProCon.org

Government Accountability Office (GAO) Biography

Position:
Not Clearly Pro or Con to the question "Can Alternative Energy Effectively Replace Fossil Fuels?"
Reasoning:

“Advanced renewable, fossil, and nuclear energy technologies all face key challenges to their deployment into the market. The primary renewable energy technologies with the potential to substantially expand their existing production capacity during the next 25 years are ethanol, a partial substitute for gasoline in transportation, and wind and solar energy technologies for generating electricity. For advanced fossil technologies, the primary challenge is controlling emissions of mercury and carbon dioxide generated by conventional coal-fired plants by using coal gasification technologies that cost about 20 percent more to construct than conventional coal-fired plants and demonstrating the technological feasibility of the long-term storage of carbon dioxide captured by a large-scale coal-fired power plant. For advanced nuclear technologies, investors face substantial risk because of nuclear reactors’ high capital costs and long construction time frames and uncertainty about the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) review of license applications for new reactors.”

“Advanced Energy Technologies: Key Challenges to Their Development and Deployment,” www.gao.gov, Feb. 28, 2007

Description:

“The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for Congress. Often called the ‘congressional watchdog,’ GAO investigates how the federal government spends taxpayer dollars. The head of GAO, the Comptroller General of the United States, is appointed to a 15-year term by the President from a slate of candidates Congress proposes…

[GAO] work is done at the request of congressional committees or subcommittees or is mandated by public laws or committee reports. We also undertake research under the authority of the Comptroller General. We support congressional oversight by

  • auditing agency operations to determine whether federal funds are being spent efficiently and effectively;
  • investigating allegations of illegal and improper activities;
  • reporting on how well government programs and policies are meeting their objectives;
  • performing policy analyses and outlining options for congressional consideration; and
  • issuing legal decisions and opinions, such as bid protest rulings and reports on agency rules.We advise Congress and the heads of executive agencies about ways to make government more efficient, effective, ethical, equitable and responsive.

    Our work leads to laws and acts that improve government operations, saving the government and taxpayers billions of dollars.”

“About GAO,” www.gao.gov (accessed June 29, 2009)

Mission:

“Our Mission is to support the Congress in meeting its constitutional responsibilities and to help improve the performance and ensure the accountability of the federal government for the benefit of the American people. We provide Congress with timely information that is objective, fact-based, nonpartisan, nonideological, fair, and balanced.”

“About GAO,” www.gao.gov (accessed June 29, 2009)

Other:
None found