lLetters

EPA's public access

You reported in Fedwire May 4: "EPA unveils new public-access site." That is true; however, you misstated the Environmental Protection Agency's public access efforts in the last sentence. You reported that the "pilot

project is the EPA's first attempt to format information from its disparate databases into reports that are understandable to the public."

For the last two years EPA's World Wide Web site has offered Envirofacts (www.epa.gov/enviro) to the Internet public. Over 4 million hits have been recorded at the Envirofacts Web site over the last two years. Hundreds of thousands of users have queried the database, which contains six national environmental systems.

With Envirofacts, users can see regulatory information from a single national system, such as air, water, hazardous waste, toxic releases or drinking water, or they can query the database looking at all six systems at once.

Envirofacts has won numerous awards for its innovation with technology and its excellent service to the public and the agency.

Envirofacts is not a pilot project, it is an online database that has been operational for two years and used by the public and environmental professionals to see a multimedia perspective on regulated facilities.

Pat Garvey

Team Leader

Envirofacts Warehouse Team

EPA

Outsourcing and privatization

The clear bias in Warren H. Suss' editorial [FCW, May 18] on outsourcing and privatization irritates me. I would restate his points thus:

- Allow the Defense Department to get rid of outmoded information technology infrastructure. Sell it. Trash it. Give it away.

- Give DOD real evaluation incentives to buy new, more efficient and cost-effective hardware and software systems as part of its solutions.

- Reward proposals that make innovative IT investments to reduce personnel costs.

- Make contractual commitments long enough to allow DOD to recover infrastructure investments and transition costs.

- Give DOD the flexibility to optimize across organizational boundaries and across multiple bases and regions.

Now don't those points make more sense with "DOD" substituted for "industry"?

There's no reason that DOD people shouldn't be able to bring about such changes better than outsiders, is there?

(I am the Unix systems administrator for the chemistry lab at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, which is not responsible for my opinions.)

Peter Madsen

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