Michael Jacoby of Springfield Township said on Wednesday that he is seeking help from municipal and local leaders to fix incorrect data in an interactive map — maintained by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — that tracks the location of environmental hazards and other structures subject to regulation.
Jacoby discovered discrepancies several years ago and he pushed the county to review the EPA website, which gives the public access to multiple databases.
I wrote about the issue in April of 2012, after the county completed a review. Here’s what county administrator Chuck Noll said at the time:
Now that county officials have completed the review, Noll said they plan to send a file listing all of the needed corrections to the federal government so officials there can fix the mistakes. On Wednesday, Jacoby asked county leaders to also send a letter to the state, informing them of the problem. Noll agreed to do that.
But he said there’s one thing the county does not want to do: Another review of the data.
“We’re not going to do this again,” Noll said after the meeting. “The issue lies with someone at the federal or state government level.”
The county found mistakes for hundreds of sites and submitted them to the EPA. Jacoby said errors with those sites have been corrected.
But he said there are hundreds of more sites that the county wasn’t able to identify. He said municipal officials would be able to help him with those.
Jacoby said he recently spoke at a meeting in Washington, D.C. about the issue. President Barack Obama signed Executive Order 13650 on Aug. 1 that’s focused on improving chemical facility safety and security.
Part of the order calls for enhanced information collection and sharing. Here’s a key part:
(a) Within 90 days of the date of this order, the Working Group shall develop an analysis, including recommendations, on the potential to improve information collection by and sharing between agencies to help identify chemical facilities which may not have provided all required information or may be non-compliant with Federal requirements to ensure chemical facility safety. This analysis should consider ongoing data-sharing efforts, other federally collected information, and chemical facility reporting among agencies (including information shared with State, local, and tribal governments).
(b) Within 180 days of the date of this order, the Working Group shall produce a proposal for a coordinated, flexible data-sharing process which can be utilized to track data submitted to agencies for federally regulated chemical facilities, including locations, chemicals, regulated entities, previous infractions, and other relevant information. The proposal shall allow for the sharing of information with and by State, local, and tribal entities where possible, consistent with section 3 of this order, and shall addr
Jacoby spoke at Wednesday’s commissioners’ meeting. He said he’s seeking their help to get the word out to municipal officials.
President Commissioner Steve Chronister thanked Jacoby for his work and asked him to keep county officials updated.
After the jump, more highlights from the meeting: