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EPA report on environment highlights national and regional trends

Release Date: 05/20/2008
Contact Information: Gerard Bulanowski 303 312-6141; Rich Mylott 303 312-6654

Indicators for EPA's Mountains and Plains region include measures of air and water quality, land use, climate, human health, population, disease

      (Denver, Colo. -- May 20, 2008) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued the 2008 EPA Report on the Environmenttoday, a document that provides the American people with information on trends in the condition of air, water, and land and related changes in human health in the United States.

      In addition to national scale indicators, the ROE also provides data broken out by EPA Regions. This includes nearly 30 indicators for EPA Region 8, which includes the states of Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming. Indicators presented include air pollutant emissions and concentrations, acid deposition, drinking water quality, land use patterns, population, fertilizer use, cardiovascular and pulmonary disease, forestland, fish populations, carbon storage, temperature and precipitation, and more.

      The EPA 2008 ROE is a valuable resource that will inform and focus EPA activities to improve and protect America’s environment. The report frames key questions related to the protection of human health and the environment, and addresses each issue using scientifically sound indicators that have been developed with extensive public input. The 2008 ROE updates a draft report released by EPA in 2003.
The EPA 2008 ROE uses scientifically sound indicators to measure and report on overall progress toward protecting the environment and human health. The environmental indicators analyzed are quantifiable and provide valuable information on the condition of air, land, water, human health, or ecological condition. For example, one water ROE environmental indicator is the percentage each year of public or community water systems that have reported no violations of EPA health-based standards.

This report and the indicators it contains were created in an open and transparent manner. The Agency took the extraordinary step of having the proposed indicators reviewed in a public forum to determine if citizens- -not just scientists- -believed the proposed indicators provided the kind of information that was useful, and were supported by technically sound data. From the ROE, EPA and the public will know better where the U.S. needs to focus future work and resources.

It is important to note that the EPA 2008 ROE is not intended as a “report card.” There are both positive and negative trends contained in the report. The purpose of the report is to create a reliable set of information that can be used for year-to-year comparisons as well as planning. It is hoped that in the future, EPA will be able to look at the trends of ROE environmental indicators over a span of years, similar to the analysis done on the 20 years of data in the Toxics Release Inventory. The report may also lead to the development of new indicators, new monitoring strategies, and new programs and policies based on measured environmental trends.

Later this year, EPA will also publish the 2008 Report on the Environment: Highlights of National Trends, which summarizes highlights of the EPA 2008 ROE without all of the technical detail. EPA is committed to releasing periodic updates of the ROE and its indicators so that up-to-date information on environmental conditions and trends is available to the American public.

EPA’s 2008 Report on the Environment: