One of the oldest environmental database reporting tools is still one of the edgiest after all these years. Right-To-Know Network gave reporters access to EPA's Toxics Release Inventory — still a key reporting tool — when it first went online (before the Internet) in 1989.
Today, with a modern and searchable Web interface, it offers access to some data that reporters would be hard put to find anywhere else.
Most important is its collection of Risk Management Plans — which chemical plants are required to maintain to prevent, prepare for, and respond to toxic disasters. Congress and EPA have hindered access to some of this data on the grounds that terrorists could use it. But recent Congressional hearings suggest the secrecy only hides the threats chemical companies pose to neighboring communities and the incompetence of the Department of Homeland Security in managing the program.
Are there facilities in your community so dangerous that they need a Risk Management Plan? When was the last time you checked up on them?