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RE: Question for Sept 19: What about EPA's info?

We use EPA information in conjuction with resources from the private sector and other federal and state agencies in putting together our water quality and monitoring program. We have found technical errors in some EPA documents and sometimes find the materials are at higher reading levels than the audiences we are targeting. Like all resources they need to be checked and not necessarily taken as gospel truth. I most often will compare the EPA web site information with U.S.G.S and U.S.D.A. information as well as one or more business and non-profit web sites or resources. Individual authors sometimes at EPA, and other agencies for that matter, will stray from information to advocacy. In general I use the EPA web sites and hard copy publications to support issues education...they are good place to start a discussion. Sorting the facts from the opinions then becomes the learners responsibility. The other concern I have is sometimes the public discussions can become broad strokes of the paint brush on hot environmental topics. They are not necessarially ground truthed by individuals, aqencies or the media and key factors (that do not make headlines) are missed. EPA and other federal agency data can be invluable in building better foundations to these discussions, especially if we are to move from issues of conflict to issues for public or private action. I guess reflecting on this question I wish that a reading level guide, standard were one of the web options for each news release, story or publication that EPA puts out. Sorting materials can take a lot of time and most citizens don't have time to sort through some of the valuable but dense EPA publications.

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