Site flags environmental information
- By Brian Robinson
- Sep 10, 2001
The federal Environmental Protection Agency and the Environmental Council
of States are partnering on a new Web site that will flag upcoming major
reports and computer models that may be of interest to the public.
"We came to realize that information products that are not formal regulations
still do have an impact in the public arena," said Elaine Stanley, director
of the EPA's Office of Information Analysis and Access. "But we didn't have
a process though which we could tell people what was in the pipeline, and
what products might be of interest to them."
Underlying the decision to create the Information Products Bulletin site
(www.epa.gov/ipbpages), she said, was the
understanding that the more notice you can give people about these products
and the more comments and input you can get on them, the better the final
product will be.
The site is mainly populated with EPA information products, but state officials
feel the site could stimulate increased publication of non-federal information,
particularly that associated with multistate and regional issues.
"With the advent of the Internet, people have become hungry for more and
more information to be made available," said Steve Thompson, deputy executive
director of Oklahoma's Department of Environmental Quality. "And there's
a perception that if it is not made available, then government is hiding
On the government side, the thought has prevailed that the public was not
interested in the often esoteric kind of information published by government
agencies, he said, "but that has shown not to be correct."
The Information Products Bulletin site will be updated quarterlya time
frame that Stanley said was decided upon, after comment from the public,
in order to provide timely updates without overloading the site.
People cannot comment on issues via the Web site, but contact information
is provided for each of the published issues that are open for public input.
Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore.
Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.