September 22, 2000
We have decided to change the
format of the daily summaries and simply point you to hot topics
in the threads of the day. This will shorten the summaries and
highlight the most actively discussed topics.
There are two broad areas of
discussion in the Dialogue. One relates to how the EPA manages
information, and the other involves library issues and public
access. Continuing threads are summarized below.
Threads relating to information
- Trusting EPA as an organization and as
a provider of data. [Summary from Tom Beierle]
- The thread ranges broadly across issues
of trust and EPA, but two themes stand out. The first deals
with whether individual staff or the entire agency manipulate
information (and access to it) to push a particular policy
agenda (pro-industry or pro-environment--opinions differ).
- The second theme deals more with issues
of competence: Given its staff, mandates, budget, does EPA
have the ability to provide quality information?
- From the perspective of someone seeking
"trustworthy" information from any source, these two themes
translate into two quite different questions:
- Is this information biased by an agenda
that is not in my interest? and
- Is this information complete and correct?
- Complaints about EPA inadequately maintaining
data on the IRIS, Heast and AirsData systems.
- Suggestions to provide permit notification
Threads reflecting concerns
of the Library Community:
- Organizing and cataloguing information.
- Performance partnership grants through
EPA's new Office of Information as a tool for reforming
the way information is provided and disseminated.
- Library environmental links.
- Use of EPA librarians to assist in
State and national environmental
Web sites. Friday's agenda introduced questions relating
to state and national environmental Web sites. Several
new threads emerged:
- Resources on toxicological and environmental
health at the regional, state and county level [Stoss] and
from the Missouri Watershed Information Network [Madzura]
which effectively link state, federal and other Web sites
into an effective resource for grassroots users.
- EPA Region III asked us to evaluate
their Green Communities Web site, which provides local communities
with information and tools on topics of sustainable development
and environmental protection. See http://www.epa.gov/greenkit
- A query for a comprehensive list of
periodicals and newsletters covering EPA activities was
answered by another participant.
by Barbara Brandon, email@example.com