EPA Solicits Input on New E-Enterprise for the Environment Portal
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plans to transform how it works with industry and partner government agencies. To this end, EPA is requesting public comment through April 26 on the development of an “E- Enterprise for the Environment” portal and the key functions such a portal should provide. The portal (a website that acts as a point of access to information and tools) would feature consolidated entry points for businesses and citizens to access, and take action on, federal and state environmental program information and resources.
Currently, EPA is scoping out the exact functionality and services of the Environmental Portal, which the agency expects to execute in several stages, starting this fall 2015. What AGC knows at this point is that EPA intends to create a web-based data-sharing system that regulated entities would use to apply for permits, report air emissions or effluent discharges, check their compliance status and learn about new regulations. Regulators (EPA and the states) would be able to share environmental data electronically with each other. In this way, E-Enterprise would leverage advances in technology (e.g., monitoring and reporting) and data management. It also would also give the regulated community and the public at large significantly more access to environmental information.
A related EPA initiative called Next Generation Compliance seeks to promote many of the same elements of E-Enterprise. As a step towards harnessing large amounts of “open data,” EPA already has begun efforts to eliminate paper-based filings and move to a required e-filing system nationwide (e.g., NPDES Electronic Reporting rule).
AGC recently met with EPA staff to begin discussing potential opportunities to integrate the AGC-sponsored Construction Industry Compliance Assistance Center (www.cicacenter.org) with any portal that EPA may choose to create. In follow-up written comments, AGC will reiterate how the CICA site is making it a lot easier for contractors to take the necessary steps to comply with all environmental regulations for their projects. EPA is also asking for feedback on the positive/negative aspects of it requiring (versus encouraging the voluntary) use of a portal to fulfill environmental regulatory obligations. AGC members already have shared that the system would need to be user-friendly because the vast majority of people who would use it are not experts in information technology or EPA requirements. AGC is continuing to do outreach and solicit member feedback on this initiative. If you need more information, or would like to share your opinion on the most important attributes for EPA’s Environmental Portal, please email AGC’s Senior Environmental Advisor Leah Pilconis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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