Got scofflaw polluters in your audience area? Are they owned by political fat cats? Is EPA cutting them more slack than they deserve?
Such questions are easier to answer thanks to a recent upgrade of the Environmental Protection Agency's ECHO database, a key tool for environmental investigative reporters. ECHO stands for Enforcement and Compliance History Online. EPA is asking how to make it better still.
The online searchable database gives the public facts on permits, inspections, enforcement actions, violations, penalties for over 800,000 U.S. facilities. It covers enforcement under the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and Safe Drinking Water Act. The portal page is here. 
The beta 2.0 version of ECHO, which EPA put up October 23, 2013, makes it much easier to find pertinent data — and much easier to use it. For example, new mapping features can help make the job of your publication's graphics department much easier.
- "E-Gov Spotlight: EPA's Enforcement Database Gets Updated,"  Center for Effective Government, November 5, 2013, by Leeann Sinpatanasakul.