Mapping Tool Allows New Way To Cover EPA Enforcement Actions

January 6, 2010

With the release of its data on about 4,600 civil and criminal enforcement actions in fiscal year 2009, EPA has included a mapping tool that may provide journalists with a better opportunity to assess the agency's actions.

The results allow you to determine trends by state and EPA Region for type and extent of enforcement; track down enforcement actions in areas of interest to your audience; and serve as a starting point for stories that are seemingly unrelated to an enforcement action. For instance, a facility could be forced to pay a tiny fine for an improper Risk Management Plan, which may not be much of a story, but it could trigger a much bigger story as you look into all aspects of that facility's RMP, which you may not have been aware of.

The enforcement actions occurred in every state, and the mapping tool breaks them out in numerous categories: air, water, land, cross-media, federal facility, and criminal. A series of clicks and zooms gets you to considerable detail on the enforcement action and the facility.

In addition, EPA provides some highlights related to particular topics, such as air toxics, concentrated animal feeding operations, storm water, and "Indian Country."

The site includes links to enforcement actions in prior years, which you can use to analyze trends under various presidential administrations and EPA administrators.