EPA network adds businesses

A network linking the Environmental Protection Agency to state offices is reaching even further this month to include businesses.

In Michigan, companies that submit environmental reports to state offices were able to do so over the National Environmental Information Exchange Network, which feeds state reports directly into EPA's Central Data Exchange via the Internet.

Bringing industry into the data exchange closes the triangle of groups regularly trading environmental information. Roughly 50,000 companies across the country submit data to the EPA. The test in Michigan, which began June 1, uses the Extensible Markup Language schema and data exchange templates that states and EPA employ.

'That was huge for us,' said Molly O'Neill, state director for the EPA Network Steering Board. By not having to receive a company's paper reports and then manually enter it into its own systems, states will be able to save 'lots of resources,' O'Neill said.

Other states also are participating in efforts to connect to EPA more easily.

Since April, seven states'Delaware, Maine, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico and Utah'have installed and configured network nodes allowing them to send data to the EPA for the Facility Registry System, Toxic Release Inventory and National Emission Inventory. Michigan and Florida will soon follow, and O'Neill said the agency expects 11 more states to join by the end of this year.

Prime contractor Computer Sciences Corp. has hired several subcontractors to work with the states.


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