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E-M:/ Report Critical of Access to Enforcement Data
- Subject: E-M:/ Report Critical of Access to Enforcement Data
- From: "Alex J. Sagady & Associates" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Thu, 03 Apr 2003 14:18:53 -0500
- Delivered-To: email@example.com
- Delivered-To: firstname.lastname@example.org
- List-Name: Enviro-Mich
- Reply-To: "Alex J. Sagady & Associates" <email@example.com>
JUST RELEASED........ENVIRONMENTAL INTEGRITY PROJECT OF THE
ROCKEFELLER FAMILY FUND REPORTS ON PUBLIC
ACCESS TO STATE ENVIRONMENTAL ENFORCEMENT
DATA IN THE GREAT LAKES STATES
THE FULL REPORT IS AVAILABLE AT:
April 2, 2003
Robert Kaplan, (202) 478-6130
LAKES STATES NEED TO IMPROVE PUBLIC
ACCESS TO ENFORCEMENT DATA, SAYS NEW STUDY
Findings Indicate National Trend of Lack of Access
Five Great Lakes states need to improve public access to
enforcement data, according to a new report
State Enforcement: Too Many Claims, Too
today by the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP). Not only is
access to this information required by the law, but state and federal
must also have ready access to this data in order to do their jobs
According to the report, “Americans have a right to know when our
environmental laws are
broken, what actions government has taken to stop those violations, and
whether those who
broke the law have paid for their misconduct and corrected the
“Millions of dollars are spent each year on compliance assistance for
businesses,” said Eric
Schaeffer, former Director for Civil Enforcement at the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency
and current Director of EIP. “States should develop similar programs to
help citizens obtain and
understand information about how well companies comply with the
The report examined the accessibility and availability of enforcement
data in five Great Lakes
states — Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Some of
the biggest obstacles to
acquiring enforcement data included the following:
documents are difficult to access.
some state agencies publish summaries of
enforcement actions, they are not searchable and do not link to key
Instead, state enforcement documents can only be accessed by the public
cumbersome hand searches of agency files following an open records
to regularly conduct independent audits of the state environmental
are no regular and comprehensive internal or external audits
of state enforcement programs.
high fees to process open records requests.
state agency, for
instance, charged EIP more than $2,000 for fulfilling an open records
request that involved
reviewing approximately 200 individual files in the Air Quality
“State agencies should fulfill their mission to protect public health by
enhancing public access to
key environmental information. We look forward to working with them to
find ways to
improve their current systems,” said Schaeffer.
EIP recommendations include:
conduct independent audits of the state environmental enforcement
will allow states to identify and correct deficiencies in their
programs, including improving data systems.
environmental enforcement documents on the agency website, in a
and others should be able to access key data such as inspections
performed, violation notices, enforcement actions and compliance
schedules. States should
also make information searchable by facility and provide links to permits
and other related
a right-to-know advocate within the agency.
should have the authority to press for continual improvements in the
public’s access to basic
data about compliance with environmental laws.
permit fees as a funding source for the public information program.
examine their current permit fee structures and establish or increase
fees for permits. These
fees should be used to improve public access to enforcement data.
report “Assessing State Enforcement: Too Many Claims, Too Little
(March 2003) is available at
EIP invites state agencies reviewed in “Assessing State
to respond to the report.
Agency responses should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Responses received will be posted on
Alex J. Sagady & Associates
Environmental Enforcement, Permit/Technical Review, Public Policy,
Evidence Review and Litigation Investigation on Air, Water and
Waste/Community Environmental and Resource Protection
PO Box 39, East Lansing, MI 48826-0039
(517) 332-6971; (517) 332-8987 (fax); email@example.com
Howard Dean for President http://deanforamerica.com/