EPA is Improving Public Access to (your) Environmental Inspection and Compliance Data

Seyfarth Shaw LLP
Andrew H. Perellis and Craig B. Simonsen

February 9, 2015

Marion Herz, the Chief of Staff for EPA’s Office of Compliance, just blogged that EPA has launched a new compliance website to “make it easier to stay informed about our work and to share tools that can help companies and others follow the law.”

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Herz notes that the Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO) database “lets you analyze compliance and enforcement data through dashboards, maps and charts. It also gives you access to other EPA tools designed to identify pollution sources, including greenhouse gases, wastewater discharges and toxic chemicals.”

Another related recent EPA blog discusses the Agency’s recent updates to the ECHO database, which provides information about environmental inspections, violations, and enforcement actions for EPA-regulated facilities. “As one of our most important and popular resources, ECHO houses information about more than 800,000 facilities nationwide, and last year, it was visited more than 2 million times.” Emphasis added.

Significant updates to ECHO include the ability for anyone with access to the Internet to download data to analyze violations at any of the 800,000 ECHO facilities, which data is now updated within the week.

With this now ever expanding and broadening release and publication of individual facility environmental inspection and compliance data, it is important that responsible company representatives are accessing and monitoring what the Agency is posting on your facilities. The data, hopefully, will not be a surprise (though in some cases it may likely be), but errors in data transmission and uploading are inevitable, and corrections should possibly be submitted and documented in company files. Consider whether it is important that your company data be reflected accurately online by the Agency, and take steps to monitor and correct erroneous data if is the case.

This article is being provided for informational purposes only and not for the purposes of providing legal advice or creating an attorney-client relationship. You should contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem you may have. In addition, the opinions expressed herein are the opinions of Mr. Perellis and Mr. Simonsen and may not reflect the opinions of Synergy Environmental, Inc., Seyfarth Shaw LLP or either of those firms’ clients.

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