The EPA will be able to receive air emissions information over a new exchange network
Next month, states will be able to submit air emissions inventory data to
the Environmental Protection Agency for the first time through a developing
information network linking states and the agency, EPA Administrator Christie
Whitman told a congressional committee Tuesday.
Whitman, testifying at a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee
hearing on EPA's fiscal 2002 budget request, said enabling states to share
their air emissions data demonstrates the progress EPA has made in developing
its National Environmental Information Exchange Network.
The network is designed to enable states, local governments, the EPA
and others to share information electronically and thus "reduce burden,
improve accuracy and inform decision-making," Whitman said in testimony
submitted to the committee. The network will include standardized data formats
and definitions, according to President Bush's budget request.
The request calls for $25 million in grants to help states and the EPA
develop the infrastructure to support the exchange network and improve states'
environmental information systems.
It's part of the Bush administration's plan to give states more control
over environmental matters. For example, another $25 million in grants will
support state environmental enforcement programs. About 95 percent of compliance
inspections and 90 percent of enforcement actions are made by states, Whitman
Sen. Bob Smith (R-N.H.), chairman of the committee, said the grant money
supporting the National Environmental Information Exchange Network is one
of several initiatives that will "better equip the states" and begin "the
necessary shift to increasing partnerships with them."
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