Environmental Information:

EPA Needs Better Information to Manage Risks and Measure Results

GAO-01-97T: Published: Oct 3, 2000. Publicly Released: Oct 3, 2000.

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Peter F. Guerrero
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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) needs comprehensive and accurate data to manage its programs more effectively. In reports going back to 1988, GAO has identified many long-standing problems in the agency's efforts to collect and use environmental data. This report summarizes GAO's findings on: (1) EPA's need to set risk-based priorities for its programs, and (2) develop outcome-oriented measures of its programs' results. EPA's ability to assess risks and establish risk-based priorities has been hampered by data quality problems, including critical data gaps, databases that do not operate compatibly with one another, and persistent concerns about the accuracy of the data in many of EPA's data systems. To ensure future success in developing outcome measures, however, EPA will need to make a long-term commitment to overcome major challenges to obtaining the data needed to show the results of environmental programs.

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