2002 News Releases
EPA Seeks Comment on Pilot Online Tool to Access Facilities’ Environmental Compliance; Citizens, Industry Can Access Environmental Records on More than 800,000 Facilities
Release Date: 11/21/2002
|(#02122) NEW YORK, N.Y.— The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released an innovative pilot information tool yesterday that gives the public and industry direct access to the current environmental compliance record of more than 800,000 regulated facilities nationwide.
EPA is seeking public comment on Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO), which was developed in partnership with the Environmental Council of the States (ECOS), a national association representing State and territorial environmental commissioners. When final, ECHO provides users detailed facility reports, which include:
“The States have been leaders in the development of data systems that provide information to citizens. We have formed an effective, ongoing partnership with EPA to improve both the quality and accessibility of data,” said Steve Thompson, Chair, ECOS Compliance Committee, and Executive Director, Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality. “We also understand that care must be taken to present the data in such a way as to reduce unintended misunderstanding of the data.”
As will be announced in the Federal Register later this week, the 60-day comment period provides users and other interested parties, particularly those responsible for facilities included within the database, an opportunity to review and comment on ECHO’s content, design and data accuracy. In addition, ECHO provides an online error reporting process to ensure continued public participation on data quality.
Benefits of ECHO include:
EPA has field-tested ECHO’s approach and data through the Sector Facility Indexing Project (http://www.epa.gov/sfipmtn1/ ), which presents data for a limited number of industrial sectors, and through a recent four-State pilot in the Pacific Northwest. Public feedback and lessons learned from these projects contributed to ECHO’s development.
To ensure that ECHO’s data is of high quality, EPA and the States also conducted a comprehensive data review and established an EPA-State network of “data stewards” to manage, research and correct reported errors, as appropriate. Furthermore, ECHO includes an online error reporting process that allows users to alert EPA and the States to possible errors
More about ECHO and details regarding the 60-day comment period are published in the Federal Register at http://www.epa.gov/fedrgstr/index.html.