Initiatives aim to reduce paper

Initiatives aim to reduce paper

The Environmental Protection Agency is attempting to increase electronic reporting, as well as boost Internet accessibility of environmental data from government and private sources.

The electronic reporting initiative was designed to eliminate the costs of paper reports, as well as keystroking errors, EPA said.

Recent examples of EPA's electronic government efforts include five projects:

• The EPA Design for the Environment Program, part of the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics, recently launched an auto body shop information center, at www.epa.gov/dfe/autobody/autobody.html.

The new Web site was established to help auto painters and body shop workers use cleaner, more efficient environmental practices, EPA said. The site links visitors to the program's best practices guide, fact sheets on solvents, pigments and other chemicals used in auto refinishing, and paint companies' safety information.

• EPA has revised its Internet data analysis search tool, the Toxics Release Inventory Explorer, tripling the amount of toxic emissions information available.

Improvements to the site followed comments from the public. TRI Explorer 3 includes more information on waste management, such as recycling, energy recovery and waste treatment. The new site is at www.epa.gov/triexplorer.

• The agency recently released a state-by-state analysis of the 1998 TRI, which examines each state's data for manufacturers and other industries, including electric utilities, coal mining, metal mining, chemical wholesalers, petroleum plants, solvent recovery, and hazardous waste treatment, storage and disposal.

States must report toxic chemical data to EPA.

State fact sheets are online at www.epa.gov/tri/tri98.

• Last month, EPA conducted a 12-day Internet discussion on expanding public participation in environmental decision-making and protection.

Issues addressed included various information sources and public accessibility. Representatives from libraries, universities, and government, industry and environmental groups participated. For more information, visit www.network-democracy.org/epa.

• The Forensics Information Technology Branch of the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance analyzes, manages and disseminates comprehensive information services to support compliance with environmental regulations. Services include computer forensics investigation support, computer and electronic evidence seizure, data recovery and analysis, as well as database retrieval and information services.

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