Pursuant to a legislative mandate, GAO determined the status of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) efforts to: (1) provide communities with risk information on toxic chemical releases in their areas; (2) make the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act's (EPCRA) chemical inventory information publicly accessible; and (3) develop policies, procedures, and standards for disseminating environmental information to the public.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Environmental Protection Agency||1. To help ensure that EPA provides the public with data that are accurate, complete, and relevant to its needs, the Administrator, EPA, should supplement the agency's existing policies on information resources management by developing agencywide policies and procedures that specify guidance and standards for program offices involved in designing, developing, and implementing information dissemination projects. Such guidance and standards should address obtaining stakeholders' involvement in the projects' design and development, testing for and correcting errors in the data, and communicating contextual information on the data's uses and limitations.|
|Environmental Protection Agency||2. Given the potential usefulness of EPCRA section 312 data to the public, the Administrator, EPA, should evaluate options to make the data more accessible and implement the most cost-effective option that provides availability on a regional and national basis. In implementing the project, EPA should use the policies and standards for dissemination projects that GAO has recommended.|