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REMARKS FOR SECTOR FACILITY INDEXING PROJECT BRIEFING BY CAROL M. BROWNER U.S. EPA ADMINISTRATOR

05/01/1998
REMARKS FOR SECTOR FACILITY INDEXING PROJECT BRIEFING BY CAROL M. BROWNER U.S. EPA ADMINISTRATOR
                             
5/1/98


     I wanted to stop by for a moment to underscore the importance of this announcement.  I am here with Sylvia Lowrance and Chuck Fox who will be available to answer any questions you may have.  Today, we take another significant step forward to extend the public's right to know.

     Today EPA is making available, for the first time ever, access to comprehensive information about the environmental performance of hundreds of industrial facilities.  For each facility included, all of the information already required under the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, inspections, violations,  enforcement actions and toxic releases   will now be available in one place.  Citizens across the country, through the internet, will be able to access this information and learn more about the facilities in their communities.  

     This project is part of the Clinton Administration's on-going efforts to expand the public's right to know about environmental pollution in their hometowns.  We believe that providing the public with basic environmental information about their communities is one of the most powerful tools available for protecting public health and the environment.  This information now is as easy to obtain as connecting to the internet.  Here at EPA we already have seen an explosion in the public's demand for information.  Public access to existing websties that now averages over a million "hits" or "visits" per day.  Hundreds of thousands of people each and every day are exercising their right-to-know.

     The pilot program we announce today -- called the Sector Facility Indexing Project -- includes comprehensive information on over 600 facilities in five industrial sectors.  Those sectors are:  auto assembly, pulp manufacturing, petroleum refining, iron and steel production, and primary smelting.  These data include information on inspections and enforcement actions, the annual releases of toxic chemicals into the environment, and even demographic information about the communities that are adjacent to these facilities.  Citizens can use these data to monitor the environmental performance of facilities and compare how their local facility stacks up against other facilities across the country.

     Most of these data were supplied by states and industries pursuant to existing federal statutes.   EPA, states and industries then engaged in an extensive quality review of the data to verify accuracy.  EPA's commitment in this new Age of Information is not only to make environmental data widely available to the public, but also to make sure that such information is of the highest possible quality.

     This Administration remains committed to putting as much environmental information as possible about communities across this nation into the hands of our citizens.  Giving citizens the facts can only mean greater protection for the health and environment of our communities, ourselves, and our children.