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contains inaccurate, sometimes outdated information on industrial facilities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
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
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."