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Michigan and great lakes area residents who have industrial facilities
in their neighborhood will be interested in trying out EPA's new ECHO
compliance/enforcement information access system.....
To: "ocorelink" <ocorelink@lists.epa.gov>
From: "Virginia Bueno" <bueno.virginia@epamail.epa.gov>

Reply-To: "Virginia Bueno" <bueno.virginia@epamail.epa.gov>
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EPA Press Release:


Citizens, Industry Can Access Environmental Records on More Than 800,000

Teresa Libera 202-564-7873/libera.teresa@epa.gov

Nov. 18, 2002: Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced
that on Wednesday, Nov. 20, it will release an innovative pilot
information tool 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:

         •       Federal and state compliance inspections;
         •       Environmental violations;
         •       Recent formal enforcement actions taken; and
         •       Demographic profile of surrounding area.

“We encourage all parties interested in environmental protection --
industry, environmental groups, citizens -- to review ECHO during the
60-day pilot period and give us reactions and suggestions about how to
make it as useful and effective as we can,” John Peter Suarez, EPA’s
Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.  “We
believe that ECHO will significantly increase public awareness of
information about environmental compliance.”

“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:

•       Although all of the information on ECHO was previously available to the
public, ECHO provides benefits, including a single point of access to
environmental compliance information;

•       Providing citizens with easier to understand information  regarding
environmental issues;

•       Allowing companies to use ECHO as a tool to monitor their record of
compliance under federal environmental laws; and

•       Assisting regulated entities in achieving compliance with their
environmental obligations.

The easy-to-use Web tool that will be available beginning on Wednesday,
found at www.epa.gov/echo, integrates EPA and state compliance information
for facilities regulated under the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.  Data reports are updated monthly
and cover a two-year period.  The system retrieves information from
federal and state data entered into EPA databases: the Air Facility
System, which provides information on compliance with air permits for
various stationary sources of air pollution; the Permit Compliance System,
which provides information on companies issued permits to discharge waste
water into rivers; and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
Information System, a national program management and inventory system
about hazardous waste handlers.  Moreover, ECHO includes links to
additional State enforcement and compliance information.

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 are 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

R-223                                                           ###

Alex J. Sagady & Associates  http://my.voyager.net/~ajs/sagady.pdf

Environmental Enforcement, Technical Review, Public Policy and
Communications on Air, Water and Waste/Community Environmental Protection

PO Box 39,  East Lansing, MI  48826-0039
(517) 332-6971; (517) 332-8987 (fax); ajs@sagady.com
Quote of the Week:

  "Osama bin Laden is still alive and plotting more attacks while we play 
bureaucratic shuffleboard."    Sen. Robert C. Bird (during debate on 
homeland security bill).

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