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Clarification



3/27/00

I am interested in the P2 List Service commentary on this remark.

Best Wishes, 
Donald Sutherland
Member of the Society of Environmental Journalists

-----Original Message-----
From: James Bernard <jbernard@sover.net>
To: Redefining Progress Listserve <rp-cinet@igc.topica.com>
Date: Friday, March 24, 2000 9:24 AM
Subject: Clarification


>To clarify, the indicators referred to by Don Sutherland and Richard
>Sumpter are the set developed under the 1995 National Environmental
>Performance Partnership System (NEPPS) agreement between the
>Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) (all state environmental
>protection agencies) and US EPA.  These "core performance measures"
>(CPMs) were developed to "ensure accountability to Congress and the
>public" for the transfer of 13 categorical grants to the states in the
>form of a single block grants.  They were not intended as a
>environmental report card, but rather as a necessity to have the money
>flow.  The reason that there are so few measures is that the states
>rebelled over the number of "bean counts" they were required to report
>to EPA.  The CPMs are definitely a work in progress as evidenced that
>there are no measures in FY 2000 for the pollution prevention,
>pesticide, and toxics programs of the agency.
>
>Bob Paterson is right on target when he says that "comparisons across
>states or regions to see how you're doing (with few exceptions) probably
>
>will not give you an accurate read on the bottom line -- status of the
>environmental capital in your region."  This is especially true in the
>area of compliance where level of administrative effort is a factor.
>
>EPA, out of necessity, in reporting to Congress, aggregates data from
>the 50 states that are truly not comparable.  The classic example is the
>
>305(b) (a section of the federal Clean Water Act) water quality report
>where states measure the number and percent of assessed river miles,
>lake acres, and estuary square miles that have water quality "supporting
>
>designated beneficial uses."  The states measure different amounts of
>their water resources using different techniques and levels of effort,
>but nonetheless are compared in a homogenized fashion.  An associated
>problem occurs when EPA disaggregates this same national data set to the
>
>watershed level as a component of their Index of Watershed Indicators
>(IWI). The result is that, in a good percentage of cases, the status of
>water quality in a particular sub-watershed or stream reach isn't
>accurate as reported by IWI.
>
>The bottomline is the CIPs should use care in utilizing data or adopting
>
>indicators from aggregated national sources and might do better to use
>state level data with care or local data that is a better fit to their
>needs.
>
>James Bernard
>
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