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Rubber Manufacturers Association Files comments with U.S. EPA Regarding Accuracy of EPA Website Information

Suggestions are Given Concerning Recommendations for Change

Washington, DC— A new federal government database contains inaccurate, sometimes outdated information on industrial facilities and needs to be cleaned up, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association in comments recently filed with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The online database, known as the Enforcement & Compliance History Online (ECHO) contains information on EPA, state and local government environmental compliance inspections. The public can access the database on the EPA website to find information about manufacturing facilities' environmental law violations and any enforcement actions and penalties assessed.

Although this database is intended to provide the public with accurate information on company environmental compliance, the information is often misleading.

"EPA should be providing the public with accurate, complete and meaningful data," said Tracey Norberg, RMA vice president, environment and resource recovery. "Unfortunately, ECHO has data quality problems and the information provided often lacks the proper context, which causes the database to provide misleading information."

ECHO contains demographic information coupled with incomplete and sometimes inaccurate compliance and enforcement information. The compilation of this information could easily be taken out of context, leading the public to inappropriate assumptions about potential environmental risks.

"Without accurate, complete and meaningful data, the public will be misled, rather than informed," Norberg said.

RMA also noted that ECHO lacks a timely review and correction system for the data and the online system for reporting database errors is cumbersome and not timely.

Additionally, RMA recommends that EPA establish a timeline for response and resolution of data error reports and a system for providing the public with information about the nature and status of error reports. In addition, RMA recommended that the agency should consider taking ECHO offline while existing errors are being corrected.

"The public is not well served by inaccurate information," Norberg said. "EPA needs to make significant improvements to the current ECHO database and create efficient quality control processes to ensure the accuracy of new information that is submitted."

 

 

 

 


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