Now's Your Chance: Talk to EPA About Information You Need

April 23, 2008

EPA has begun a "National Dialogue" about what information the public needs from the agency and how the agency can better provide that information. You can let the agency know what you think on its new interactive Web page.

On Thursday, April 24, 2008, from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm ET, EPA's chief information officer Molly O'Neill (the Assistant Administrator who runs EPA's Office of Environmental Information) will be answering questions interactively online in one of the Web site's "Ask EPA" sessions. Another good chance to offer questions. Submitting questions early by e-mail is the best way to get them answered.

As part of the dialogue, EPA held an April 23 "listening session" at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, led by the Stratus consulting firm. O'Neill attended, mostly to listen, but also commenting occasionally. Some members of EPA's press office also attended, but took a less active part. The session focused mostly on data and online information, which is OEI's purview. The WatchDog attended this session.

The National Dialogue includes an online forum as well as opportunity for e-mail input.

Largely at White House and industry urging, EPA and OEI have in recent years cut back on information available to the public through channels like the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) and the EPA libraries. This is not the first such dialogue, but the initiative may lay the groundwork for a return to normalcy during the next administration.