Information: A Catalyst for Environmental Risk Reduction
          Philadelphia, Pennsylvania • December 2-5, 1991

                                  ***  Introduction <*
             A Catalyst for Environmental Risk Reduction


When we (in the Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Information Resources Management (OIRM)
and EPA Region III) set out to organize the fourth National Environmental Information Conference, we
hoped to provide participants with a perspective on how the new strategic directions for the Agency (i.e.,
reducing the risks to human health and the environment through pollution prevention) had affected
information resources management in the Agency, and among our counterparts at the State level By
involving representatives from other Federal agencies and the international community, we hoped to
provide a glimpse into the larger national and world environmental context in which the United States is
becoming a more active player. Our hopes for the Conference were summarized in the theme: "Informa-
tion: A Catalyst for Environmental Risk Reduction "

We think we have come away from this Conference with much more: an entirely new paradigm — the
"learning organization"  — for understanding the Agency's mission, the vital role of information in that
mission, and some suggestive indicators of how our world in environmental protection will be changing
through the end of the century. Administrator William Reilly's taped introduction re-emphasized the point
he had made at our 1989 Conference in Kansas City, "all we have is information    Information  is the
foundation on which we build our agenda for environmental protection."

Building on that vision,  Deputy Administrator Hank Habicht provided the kernel of our transformed view of
the Agency's role in his keynote speech. Mr  Habicht then went on to describe the challenges which face
EPA as it strives to transform itself into a model of the "learning organization."

Christine Gregoire's keynote speech and the breakout sessions provided many different perspectives on
the possibilities and prospects for moving into the learning organization mode, especially at the (EPA)
Regional and State level. Marvin Cetron's speech provided a critique of the current status and historical
development of the  national environmental protection agenda

In the following section of this report we summarize the opening speech of the Deputy Administrator, and
the description of Christine Gregoire's remarkable success in reforming the mission of the Department of
Ecology in Washington State, followed by a short discussion of how the five learning organization issues
affect environmental information resources management, and the presentations in each session.

We conclude with a brief summary of the lessons we have learned from the Conference.

Thank you all for making this glimpse of the future both possible and exciting, and we hope to see you
again in two years.
              Bill Wisniewski

                                        <*  NEIC Proceedings  <$»
                                          Table of Contents

   Charge to Conference Attendees: "EPA, the Learning Organization"	1

   Keynote Speaker	2

       Environmental Leadership in the Environmental Age	2

r)  Luncheon Speaker	3
 '  Conference Themes	4
          A New Definition of the Environmental Organization	      	     	4
j         Defining and Sharing Environmental Goals     	     	    	4
          The Knowledge Base	     	     	       4
          Cooperative Planning Approaches 	      	     	     	        	4
s          Adaptive Organizational Structures..      	        	    	    	    	  4

   A Summary of Each Session	5

   Introductory Primers	32

   What Did We Learn?	37

          Broadening the Environmental Organization	     	     	37
          Widely Shared Environmental Goals	     	     .      ...37
          Accessible Environmental Knowledge  	        	       	      	 37
          Cooperative Planning Approaches	     	     	     	     	38
          Adaptive Organizational Structures	     	       	       .  38

   Thanks for the Conference	Inside Back Cover
                                U.S. Environmental Prelection Agency
                                Region 5, L:':r,rv (PL-12J)
                                77 W3?t J..-,- --,r Pc.-.'icvatf, 12th Floor
                                Chicago, IL  tOGG4-3t>90

                                       <»  NEIC Proceedings  <*
Charge to Conference Attendees:  "EPA, the  Learning Organization"

F. Henry Habicht II, Deputy Administrator, USEPA

The Conference keynote speech was presented by EPA Deputy Administrator, F. Henry Habicht II, who was introduced
by Ted Erickson, Regional Administrator for EPA Region III.

In keeping with the opening remarks from "Benjamin Franklin", Habicht began by alluding to the ideals of our founding
fathers. "The core of a successful democracy is an informed citizenry...  Democracy succeeds by virtue of every citizen...
The job of government is to make sure the system works by informing citizens." People will not protect the environment
effectively if they are not part of the process, receiving information that is both understandable and usable. Information is
the key to long-term effectiveness in protecting the environment for organizations, society and the world community.

Habicht attributes the success of EPA  to its ability to aggressively capitalize on advances in information technology. Ray
Smith, CEO of Bell Atlantic Corporation, identifies three key elements of a modern information system:

1.  Availability of data in digital form;
2.  Computer power to process and integrate the data; and
3.  Capacity to communicate data.

Habicht stated that applications of Smith's concepts may be found throughout the Agency. Examples include the conver-
sion of key information to geographic information systems (GIS) and the establishment of national and international
telecommunications networks.  Both Habicht and EPA Administrator Reilly feel a moral obligation to make the growing
volume of information accessible and  useful to a wide range of potential users.

In Habicht's analysis of the article, "The Leader's New Work: Building Learning Organizations" by Peter M. Senge, he
focused on obstacles to becoming a learning, information-based organization:

1.  Modern organizations will not succeed if they are oriented toward reacting to events;
2.  Organizations that address symptoms rather than underlying causes are not likely to be successful; and
3.  Organizations limit their horizons if information and decision-making are centralized at the top of the organization.

To avoid these pitfalls, Habicht believes EPA must "set up structures in the  organization that are able to deal in the long-
term as well as the short-term." As evidence of EPA's commitment to growth, Habicht revealed that EPA Assistant
Administrators have identified building a knowledge base and geographic,  system-wide approaches as the top two
budget priorities for two consecutive years.

Habicht reiterated that the Agency's environmental messages are consistent with the characteristics of information-based
organizations. Specifically, identifying underlying causes is the fundamental premise of EPA's pollution prevention
strategy. Pollution prevention requires looking at long-term systematic relationships. The command and control form of
management is giving way to an empowering form of management, which gives individuals access to basic relevant
information. The organization is more likely to see the inter-relationships among the pieces when people with different
perspectives work together.

Progress has been made because EPA management and staff at all levels are committed to:

•  Targeting based on risk;
•  Empowering citizens with information;
•  Integrating information; and
•  Developing meaningful indicators.

Strategic planning, pollution prevention, and total quality management are  the "three pillars of strategic change" in EPA.
Habicht believes that information is critical to each pillar. Also, integrating information gives EPA leverage to get the
maximum impact from its actions. Habicht told participants that the sessions and exhibits were a good example of how
the "pillars" are being used throughout the Agency to transform EPA into a learning, integrated, information-based

                                       <$»   NEIC Proceedings
Habicht concluded by re-emphasizing that "day-to-day work is critical because if offers the best opportunity to use
information to think beyond individual offices and media". Likewise, the Conference was a good opportunity for partici-
pants to "leave with new ideas and new partners".

Hank Habicht:          "This is our future, the core of our strategic direction...This is about partnerships and sharing — building
                      the learning organization — both for EPA and the institutions with which EPA works..."

Keynote Speaker

Environmental Leadership in  the Environmental Age

The Honorable Christine Gregoire, Director, Department of Ecology, State of Washington

Al Pesachowitz introduced Christine Gregoire, Director of the Department of Ecology for the State of Washington. Ms.
Gregoire provided a candid account of how Washington State is using information management to address environmen-
tal challenges. She stressed the need for "better monitoring systems, better data, better data management, and better ways
to communicate in plain terms so the public understands what data actually means to them."

Gregoire began by characterizing environmental data in the State of Washington. In many cases the State was running to
catch up with the information age. Environmental data was seldom helpful to scientists, policy makers, and the public.
Most data related to human health risks, not risks to ecological systems. There were few reliable indicators to provide
information about environmental trends.

Gregoire urged participants to be clear about intended uses as they work to improve environmental information systems.
Systems should allow users to periodically reevaluate assumptions and decision support needs.

Washington was ranked among the top 10 states in quality-of-life. However, a 35% projected growth rate had environ-
mental and economic consequences. Competing priorities for economic vitality and environmental quality divided
business and environmental interests. In 1988, Governor Ruth Gardner asserted that the State was at an environmental
crossroads. She identified five obstacles to effective environmental management. The State had:

1.  No clear strategy for the future;
2.  No systematic approach for identifying and assessing environmental and natural resource issues;
3.  No ability to anticipate emerging problems;
4.  No ability to set priorities among conflicting issues; and
5.  Little environmental management coordination among state agencies, Indian tribes, and local organizations.

In response to the Governor's concerns, Environment 2010 was developed by a steering committee of 17 State agencies,
two federal agencies, and a Citizen Advisory Committee representing the political, economic and regional diversity of the
State. Environment 2010 gave the State of Washington a "common vision of where the State was headed and what infor-
mation was needed" to make the trip. 2020 provided a clear set of priorities to support the mission of the Department of
Ecology for the next 20 years.

Within a comparative risk analysis framework, the committees surveyed all readily accessible environmental monitoring
information  to

•  Evaluate current conditions of environmental resource (e.g., air, land, water, wild life, fisheries, and shellfish);
•  Assess socio-economic trends based on impacts on resources;
•  Assess major resource threats; and
•  Establish priorities based on:
    1.   Human risk;
    2.   Ecological risks;
    3.   Potential for economic damage;
    4.   Direction and apparent slope of trends; and
    5.   Manageability based on existing laws and technology.

                                            NEIC Proceedings
The comparative risk analysis resulted in the first State of the State Environment Report. The top two priorities in the Report
were air quality and point and non-point water pollution. Initially, the public was not willing to embrace the report
because it addressed symptoms rather than causes. Gregoire admitted that State agencies were reluctant to identify causes
without public input. Through a series of public meetings, four sources of environmental problems were identified:

•  Uncontrolled population growth;
•  Consumptive life-styles;
•  Lack of environmental awareness/environmental education; and
•  Lack of common values.

Gregoire felt the public response was illuminating because it supported phasing out crisis oriented, command and control
environmental management practices. Though the approach worked to reduce point source pollution, public  priorities
related to values and individual choice are difficult to address with an enforcement-based environmental protection
strategy.  Gregoire recommended shifting the role of government and environmental managers to address these issues.
The Washington State experience illustrates how the role of information is central to that shift.

Washington can now articulate a common set of values for a sustainable future supported by legislative products. As a
result of Environment 2010, the Washington legislature passed the Washington Clean Air Act and bills for energy conser-
vation, water conservation, environmental education and growth management. Gregoire attributed legislative success to
the Environment 2010 effort, information and data derived from the risk analysis, education, and public involvement in
agenda setting.
Christine Gregoire:      "Many of our old paradigms do not always accommodate the new information we are receiving — yet
                      much of this information is alarming ..."

Luncheon Speaker

Dr. Marvin J. Cetron, President, Forecasting International

Before turning the podium over to Dr. Marvin Cetron, Al Pesachowitz advised the audience to be prepared for some
provocative thoughts and predictions, and asked them not to "kill the messenger." A well known futurist, and forecaster
of technological trends, Dr. Cetron focused his speech on why EPA does not have the budgetary clout it ought to have, in
spite of the fact that, as he said, "in these days, we all have to be environmentalists from the day we're born." The envi-
ronment consistently ranks fifth or sixth in public opinion polls of important national problems, but the nation (and
resource allocation processes) are still controlled by leaders who grew up in the thirties and forties, before the era or
environmental awareness that dawned during the 1960's and 1970's.

Cetron cautioned that while the current economic recession has probably bottomed out, it may be years before environ-
mental agencies begin to receive funding that is anywhere near adequate to redress the multiple problems which need to
be addressed. This will be a special problem for state agencies, where revenue streams are slower to respond to general
economic improvements than the federal system.

To accelerate the growth of environmental resources, Cetron challenged the audience to become environmental leaders,
and to find ways to use information as a tool to inform and involve the public. An example of the kind of dynamic leader
the Agency needs is Dr. C. Everett Koop who can reallocate funds, change priorities, and get information to the public.
Coop recognizes how, "Information makes things take place." Cetron said information was so powerful that leaks of
information into the former communist countries was directly responsible for the fall of the Iron Curtain.

Marvin Cetron:         "Information is the lifeblood of what goes on."
	"New ideas happen not because of facts, but because of time."	

                                       *  NEIC Proceedings  *
Conference Themes

A New Definition of the Environmental Organization
As EPA moves from a media-specific, enforcement-based view of its mission to a holistic perspective based on health and
ecological principals and environmental status and trends, it will necessarily expand the definition of the community of
interests involved in environmental protection. As evident by the testimony of our speakers, this process is already well
advanced in many arenas. The complex of organizations that are concerned with and work toward environmental protec-
tion now includes States, other Federal agencies, Indian tribes, citizens groups, non-governmental environmental organi-
zations, the scientific community, industry, and international agencies and foreign partners in a wide range of bilateral
and multilateral agreements.

For those of us in the information resource management business, this change will require rethinking the design and
growth pattern of many of our most established systems. We need to be prepared to increase the scope of our systems,
and their ability to both access outside resources and to be accessed by others. For example, investigators and site manag-
ers at the local level need access to the most reliable information on chemical toxicity and transport from the worldwide
research community; and international planners and policy makers need the latest and best monitoring data available to
assess the velocity and extent of conditions, such as global warming and acid deposition. Communications will require
the establishment of whole new networks, operating at enormous speeds, carrying volumes of data unmanageable and
unimaginable until the mid-80s.

Defining and Sharing Environmental Goals
Consensus is developing quickly that the real goals of the environmental protection movement need to shift from reacting
to violations of specific contaminant limits to anticipating how society needs to develop to produce an ecologically
sustainable future. EPA, other Federal agencies, the States, international organizations, and public interest groups need to
develop a better mutual understanding of goals and their respective roles in environmental protection.

The Conference has taught us much about how far we've come in this direction, as highlighted by Bill Reilly and Hank
Habicht, and how much of the task still needs to be done, based on the experiences of Christine Gregoire in Washington
State, and dozens of the other Federal, regional, State and tribal experiments which we have heard described.

The Knowledge Base
Sixty percent of the people at the conference were directly involved in information resources management, according to
both pre-Conference registrations and the Conference evaluation forms. The amazing thing at this Conference was not
how much we already knew about sharing information, but how much we learned from each other about new ways of
sharing data and information. From the office of the future to new GIS analysis and display capabilities, it is clear that
building new ways to share the EPA knowledge base will be limited only by immediate resources, not by the tools we
have or the imagination of our colleagues at every level.

Cooperative Planning Approaches
Organizing the new environmental community to use effectively the multitude of new information resources at our
disposal will not be the work of one man or one agency. Using the new spectrum of communications tools at our disposal,
we need to enlist the insights, imagination and energy of everyone — not because "public participation" is a political goal,
but because we need all possible input to lead to true problem solutions, rather than simply pushing the problem further
down the pipeline.

One of the advantages enjoyed by the environmental movement is that there has been a geometric growth in public
appreciation for the seriousness of the issues which are under discussion, from global warming to solid waste disposal.
Given that blessing, it is incumbent on policy makers to apply the energy such awareness generates  to the planning
process in efficient and creative ways.

Adaptive Organizational Structures
The pace of events and technological change force us to change our ways of doing business in ever more rapid and radical
ways. Our organizations have to become inherently flexible and reformable or we will spend all of our time in the perfect

                                            NEIC Proceedings
Parkinsonian nightmare: one hundred percent of our efforts will be taken up in meetings and committees deciding how
we should change.

Again, the tools and techniques of information resource management possess the potential to free us from rigid tradi-
tional forms and structures and permit us to be most effective in ad hoc workgroups organized on a variety of geographic
and institutional scales to resolve real problems revealed by sound scientific analysis of accurate measures of both envi-
ronmental health and human risk.

This may seem like a dream to some, but this Conference has demonstrated that the environmental learning organization
is both possible and desirable as a working goal for managers of the environmental community.

A Summary of Each Session

Following is a series of brief summaries of each of the individual break out sessions. The wealth of information and
insights which were provided by these sessions are far greater than we have space to capture here, but represent one of
the great values which we carried away from the conference. We all owe a debt to the time and effort put into these
sessions by each and every one of the presenters and discussants.

Following the break-out sessions, we have summarized the "Introductory Primers" which gave a detailed look at the
current status of four major issues for environmental information managers: international environmental information
initiatives, the State-EPA Data Management (SEDM) Program, the on-going role of Unfinished Business and Reducing Risk
in EPA strategic thinking, and current major systems initiatives at EPA. Special thanks to those who expended the extra
effort to organize these pre-conference sessions, which were attended by hundreds of participants.

Pollution Prevention

Information Needs, Sources, and Sharing

Moderator:      Mark A, Greenwood, Director, Office of Toxic Substances, Office of Pesticides and Toxic Substances, U.S. EPA

               Kirsten Oldenburg, Office of Industry and Environment, UNEP, Paris, France

               Stanley L. Laskowski, Deputy Regional Administrator, Region III, U.S. EPA

               Suzi Peck, Director, Toxic Use Reduction Act Program, Department of Environmental Quality,
               Commonwealth of Massachusetts

The panelists agreed that pollution prevention is now a top priority in environmental agencies and most industries
throughout the world.

Mark Greenwood identified the four basic information management questions which must be answered for pollution

•  Why do we need information?
•  What data do we need?
•  Can existing data gathering tools meet our needs?
•  How will we use data to measure progress toward pollution prevention goals?

Kirsten Oldenburg described the rationale and information management needs of the Cleaner Production Programme of
the Office of Industry and Environment of UNEP. Cleaner production means the continuous  application of technology to
reduce pollutant loads — the programme comprises both conservation and prevention goals. The overall process of the
programme is to develop networks to solve problems. Major initiatives include:

• Working groups by both industrial sector (e.g., textiles and solvents) and cross-cutting issue (e.g., educational poli-
• A newsletter;
• Training workshops for both the private and public sector; and
• Access to the International Chemical Production Clearinghouse (ICPC) — an on-line database of worldwide regis-
   tered producers of chemicals.

                                            NEIC Proceedings  *
Oldenburg highlighted several operational problems and issues which affect the usefulness of the ICPC, and which have
implications for any worldwide pollution prevention effort. These include: (1) problems with access ; (2) costs of main-
taining accuracy and timeliness of the database; (3) a great hunger for information among the developing countries, and
(4) extra constraints they face because of the costs of long distance telephone charges and language barriers.

Stan Laskowski emphasized that pollution prevention is really a tactic to reduce risk. He also discussed the importance of
using available tools to reduce risk. Among the information tools which should be used for pollution prevention is the
Pollution Prevention Clearinghouse bulletin board (703/506-1025), which provides information on waste minimization
audits, workshops and training. Another important resource is the American Institute of Pollution Prevention in Cincin-
nati. Pollution Prevention is important because its goals are quantifiable, easy to understand, and cost-effective. For the
future, the movement needs to (1) establish more measurable goals, (2) get information more effectively to clients, (3) get
the right information to the right decision-makers, (4) improve the programs awareness of economic considerations, and
(5) export pollution prevention knowledge to other countries.

Suzi Peck reviewed the experience of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in building a pollution prevention program,
with specific reference to their information needs and implications. Information systems need to focus early and continu-
ously on the issue of "what is pollution prevention?" This translates to the basic measures of pollution prevention, which
include: the number of firms doing pollution prevention; quantities of waste reduced; quantities of by-products; quanti-
ties normalized across functional levels (with the problem of using the proper unit of production, which relates directly to
the quantity of waste prevented); and throughput (the amount of wastes produced by the amount of product made).

Based on experience to date, the priority information issues for pollution prevention are:

•  We need to better understand the limits of data, based in large part on how it is generated by industry and public
    monitoring systems;
•  Focus on major users and generators of toxic chemicals;
•  What are the trade-offs between controls at the smokestack and drain, and working with industry to establish pollu-
    tion prevention programs, based on re-engineering.
EMAP National and Local Perspective

Moderator:     Dr. fay Messer, Acting Associate Director, Atmospheric Research and Exposure Assessment Laboratory, U.S. EPA

               Dr. John H. Skinner, Deputy Assistant Administrator, Office of Research and Development, U.S. EPA
               Dr. Jonathan Berger, President, Expert Information Systems (EIS), Inc.
The moderator and speakers began the session with some reflections on the relationship of EMAP goals and objectives to
some of the needs identified in the Conference's opening plenary session by Christine Gregoire, including: need for status
and trends data; need to identify  environmental indicators; need to set priorities for action.

John Skinner described EMAP as an essential program for meeting these needs on a national basis and for providing an
"ecological score card" to guide environmental research. He outlined EMAP's three major components:
    Research —i.e., How to measure/assess?
    Monitoring — i.e., Collection of statistically valid data for measurement purposes; and
    Assessment — i.e., Diagnosis based on the data.
 EMAP's holistic and multimedia perspective was described along with its focus on describing environmental health..
 Skinner discussed the national sampling grid based on 12,600 areal hexagons. Super computers will eventually be used to
 support data management for this massive effort.

 Jonathan Berger then detailed a site-specific EMAP characterization for the Washington's Crossing hexagon. This covers a
 portion of Pennsylvania and New Jersey along the Delaware River. Based on his experience with this project, Berger
 identified some major findings that may help to guide future EMAP efforts. These included the importance of:

                                            NEIC Proceedings
•  Avoiding overly generic approaches to data collection, because of regional variability of physical environment and
    availability of data;
•  Developing hierarchical and relational data management systems for linking multiple data types and sources;
•  Establishing a centralized data processing capability to take advantage of existing data coverages for regional data
•  Decentralizing data collection to locate and incorporate the tremendous volume of specialized datasets already
    compiled by individual investigators; and
•  Recognizing the constantly changing nature of data coverages.

The session concluded with questions and answers, which covered some common definitions and clarified that EMAP is
both a research and a monitoring program that will evolve over a five- to ten-year period and will depend on continual re-
evaluations of progress and the availability of future resources.

Environmental Program Planning
Top Down Planning for Risk Reduction

Moderator:      Edward J. Hanley, Deputy Assistant Administrator, Office of Administration and Resources Management,
               U.S. EPA
               Thomas Donovan, Director, Division of Management, Planning, and Information Systems, New York
               Department of Environmental Conservation, State of New York
               Gerald A. Emison, Deputy Regional Administrator, Region X, U.S. EPA

               Daniel C. Esty, Deputy Assistant Administrator, Office of Policy, Planning, and Evaluation, U.S. EPA

EPA is now proposing to impact broader communities through new, generic definitions of health, environment and
welfare. This new strategy requires a planning process which includes open debate on goals and purposes. As the Agency
adopts more risk-based strategies the "absolute value" of information will be greatly increased.

Dan Esty described the new EPA budget planning initiatives, including two major efforts. The first is a report compiling
the lessons learned from the Pilot Regional Comparative Risk projects, which will be released shortly. This report is a joint
effort of ORD and the Regional Administrators, and is expected to evolve into planning guidance for risk reduction
strategies for the EPA Regional Offices. The second initiative which Esty described is a new set of criteria linking budget-
ing decisions to actions with a relatively higher level of risk reduction potential. This process will provide Agency planners
with a three level screening process for evaluation proposed actions: (1)  the estimated human health and environmental
risks; (2)  risk reduction options proposed; and (3) the different probabilities of success associated with each proposed

Gerald Emison, who worked on the production of Unfinished Business, stressed that the new strategic planning processes
and risk assessments mean that the old ways of doing business won't work. There is a disconnect between the problem
being revealed by the top down planning processes and the resources and legislation which define most EPA programs.
In spite of these growing pains, Emison sees a healthy debate occurring on the goals and purposes of environmental
protection, with an explicit awareness that priorities must be set — that EPA can't do it all. In this debate there is a
heightened respect for the absolute value of information, and for the systems which can deliver essential information to
the decision-makers in a  relevant fashion. The issue of relevance is often defined by the ability to display geographically
precise information, which "is not as easy as it looks." In the end, Emison said it looks as though "every good idea
degenerates into work."

Tom Donovan emphasized the problems which staff and program cutbacks are creating for State agencies. Donovan said
New York State resources have decreased by 27% over the past three years. In the states, these problems notwithstanding,
geographic targeting is becoming a common theme, supplemented by improved tracing of corporate relationships (e.g.,
an improved, federal-state FINDS), all tied to geo-referenced information systems for regulation, administrative systems,
and broader environmental status and trends information. Having developed the basic strategic systems for geo-referenc-
ing major administrative and regulatory files, New York State is now looking to identify all laboratory results with
specific geographic coordinates. The process of integrating these systems is far from complete, but with the reforms now
underway, the system needs "only breadth and tenacity" to see the reforms through.

                                        <*  NEIC Proceedings  <*
Gerald Emison:         "Top down planning, requiring risk assessments for human health, the environment and welfare, means
                      that EPA's old ways of doing business won't work."
Empowering The Environmental Organization
A Model for Empowering Environmental Organizations

Demonstration Organizer: Paul Wohlleben, Deputy Director, OIRM, U.S. EPA

                      Sandra Martin, Acting Director, Administrative Systems Division, OIRM, U.S. EPA

                      Richard A. Martin, Deputy Director, Program Systems Division, OIRM, U.S. EPA

                      George Hesselbacher, Computer Specialist, Administrative Systems Division, OIRM, U.S. EPA

This session consisted of a brief presentation and a live demonstration led by Paul Wohlleben. The multiple workstation
workgroup demonstration, which included both off-the-shelf group productivity tools and specialized EPA tools, was
designed to show how a flatter, team-oriented approach could be more effective in environmental problem-solving than
the traditional hierarchical organization. This session actually showed the facilities that would be useful in implementing
the major themes which are discussed below. The workgroup environment and associated technology could be the
highway upon which many of the vehicles of ideas could flow.

Wohlleben introduced the session by emphasizing that the flatter organizational structure, personal and group productiv-
ity tools would enable relevant parts of EPA to better work with other state, regional, personal, and private organizations.

Group and personal productivity tools enable analysts to assemble and communicate a broader set of data. More than just
permit totals, the analyst could access any type of data. Personal productivity tools that promote knowledge-sharing
include: embedded mail; communication between applications; easy-to-use interfaces; compound (multimedia) docu-
ments including maps and other powerful graphic displays; text searching; the GATEWAY  system

Groupware technology exists or is being developed to enable more flexible problem-solving approaches, including:
mobile computing; many-to-many communication systems; Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), and electronic signatures;
group management; and document management.

Group and personal productivity technology enables the establishment of a virtual office. Project teams can be character-
ized as mobile, ad hoc, selected for specific expertise, diverse, process oriented, and taking advantage of accumulated
knowledge. Project teams can be assembled within and among organizations to adapt to specific problem solving needs.

During the subsequent question period, a number of attendees asked how could someone, such as a state program
planner, "really access" relevant data, such as TRI, PCS or FINDS in a regular operational (i.e., high volume) mode.
Wohlleben said there was a five-state pilot project being organized to address exactly that objective, in conjunction with
the GATEWAY/ Envirofacts project.
 Wohlleben:              "The move to a flatter, team-oriented, team-dominated work environment will enable IRM to make the
                       team more effective."
Pollution Prevention
The Toxic Release Inventory and Its Impact - Public Information

Moderator:      Steven Newburg-Rinn, Chief, Public Data Branch, Information Management Division,
               Office of Pesticides and Toxic Substances, U.S. EPA
               Gary D. Bass, Executive Director, OMB Watch
               Phillip Retallick, Director, Air and Waste Management Division, Department of Natural Resources
               and Environmental Control, State of Delaware
Steve Newburg-Rinn began the presentations with an overview of the Environmental Pollution and Community Right to
Know laws and their implications. Many parts of EPA were initially afraid of public access provisions. Section 313 covers
all media, and mandates public access. The Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) covers 300 chemicals, and 23,000 facilities; the

                                            NEIC Proceedings
(I) graphical, (2) interactive, and (3) based on day-to-day operational data. The information industry and the technology
trends in which these executive information systems are being developed include dramatically decreased hardware and
software costs and moderate declines in data costs. Also, there have been small increases in the ease-of-use which charac-
terizes these systems. Given these trends, the State of New York has determined that the basic tools which are needed to
meet future executive decision support needs are data tools which support geographic information systems. The Environ-
mental Sciences Resource Institute (ESRI) produced a needs analysis, which was followed by the conversion of USGS
maps (at 1:24,000 scale) to digital format. The Department subsequently built a small prototype (loading all available data
for a small county), which demonstrated the systems need for improved data quality in its operational data. Design of
these operational data reforms is now advancing.

John Larkin  discussed the general design philosophy of information systems for the Virginia Water Control Board. The
design process was reformed because senior management and information resources managers felt existing processes for
systems development were too cost-ineffective. One major feature of the new model of systems development is develop-
ment teams with only one or two information resources personnel — the bulk of the effort and input to the project teams
comes directly from the users. A major product of the new Water Board philosophy is the information system design for
the Compliance Auditing Control Board, which has the objective of "detecting every violation, every time." The project
team, with its intimate knowledge of compliance operations is focused on processes to increase the certainty, consistency,
and timeliness of information of the system.

Pollution Prevention
Success Stories from States, Localities and Industries

Moderator:      The Honorable Mary Gade, Director, Environmental Protection Agency, State of Illinois

               Richard Reibstein, Outreach Director, Office of Technical Assistance for Toxics Use Reduction,
               Executive Office of Environmental Affairs (EOEA), Commonwealth of Massachusetts

               Gary Hunt, Director of the Office of Waste Reduction, Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Re
               sources, State of North Carolina

               William B. Beck, Manager, Office of Environmental Affairs, E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company

Mary Gade began the panel session by reviewing traditional modes of pollution control through the eyes of the regulated
community, which sees technology-driven control systems (e.g., best available control technology — BACT) as resource
sinks and as stimulators of new rounds of control and regulation. Gade suggested that there are a lot of advantages to the
pollution prevention model, which has an intuitive attraction, such as "everything I need to know about pollution preven-
tion I learned from my grandmother." For example,  "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.. ."and "waste not,
want not." The State of Illinois finds pollution prevention to be cheaper for business, more productive in  terms of reduced
pollution, and more efficient in administration. Nevertheless, there are still major unanswered questions  about pollution
prevention. The issues currently being debated in Illinois include:

•   Should pollution prevention be mandatory?
•   What is the proper role for the federal government?
•   What is the proper role for state and local governments?
•   How do we calibrate pollution prevention achievements after the easy savings are made?

Richard Reibstein recounted four success stories from the experience of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts with pollu-
tion prevention, which is required by state regulation. The successful practices employed by the Commonwealth include
— most effectively — asking questions about how the firm can be more efficient in doing its basic business. Pollution is
waste is inefficiency. The trick is to get companies to think about what they monitor and control in their internal pro-

Gary Hunt continued the theme by recounting the three priorities of the State of North Carolina's pollution prevention
program: Research, Education and Technical Assistance. State operations in support of pollution prevention include:

•  The operation of an automated information clearinghouse which generates much important research and provides
   continuous input from the wider community of clients;


                                       <*  NEIC Proceedings
•   Reports and awards to the biggest waste reducers, which builds goodwill and gains much new information about
    successful waste reduction technologies; and
•   The Southeastern Waste Reduction Resource Center (an 800 phone line) provides another source of input and ideas.

In general, North Carolina has found that most of the reductions in waste generation have come from low-tech applica-
tions of ingenuity and common sense to problems which haven't been recognized or addressed before. Most successful
solutions have represented cost savings to the affected plant.

Bill Beck, speaking from the perspective of a major chemical company, confirmed many of the previous comments.
DuPont has found that one of the most important steps in its pollution prevention program has been the definition of
waste as an "unused or under used resource." DuPont has an in-house newsletter (Waste Notes) to share information
about the dimensions of the  program. They have introduced waste reduction into the strategic planning process by
identifying short- intermediate- and long-term reduction activities. So far there have been three basic techniques used to
achieve most of their success: (1) source reduction; (2) changing waste into (marketable) by-products; and (3) working
with customers to re-engineer products. Overall, the corporation has had remarkable success, reducing the
volume(weight) of pollutants per pound of product by 35% from 1980 to 1990 — the firm's goal for the 1990s is a similar
35% reduction.

From the perspective of corporate management, perhaps the most impressive waste reduction has been in nylon manufac-
turing, which is also one of DuPont's most mature manufacturing processes. Savings in nylon manufacturing amount to
$250 million in sales of previously discarded by-products, and $100 million in cost avoidance.
Mary Gade:            "Even/thing I need to know about pollution prevention, I learned from my grandmother."

Cross-Media Issues

GIS as a Cross-Media Data Integration Tool

Speaker: Jack Dangermond, President, Environmental Systems Research Institute, Redlands, CA

Jack Dangermond, who invented ARC/INFO, one of the most successful geographic information systems, and who has
supported many of the industry's most successful data integration experiments, spoke on the current status of data
integration in the United States. In characterizing the current state of environmental data, Dangermond emphasized that
data is collected in many formats which complicated the integration problem. Many of our problems come from not
realizing (science) and not accounting for (economics) the differences in basic data and the costs of converting them. There
is a need to integrate differing disciplines' information about environmental media. We need to be able to talk to more
than one tabular database (e.g., ORACLE, DB2, SYBASE) at a time.

Given all of these issues and problems, there is a dominant vision of GIS, which combines efficiency, better data for
decisions, more consistency, and connections among organizations and between people and their governments.

There is a special need to increase public access to data through something like a data utility. Providing better access will:

•  Lead to better citizen awareness;
•  Lead to increased citizen financial support;
•  Increase citizen suggestions;
•  Provide a more responsive government;

The reasons for data integration include:

•  Environmental problems are interrelated;
•  Disciplines can support one another;
•  Data are often enhanced by related data;
•  Broad perspective helps avoid worst mistake;


                                        <»  NEIC Proceedings  <$>
system collects 85,000 different reports. TRIS (the TRI Information System) is used by lots of groups for a variety of basic
analyses (e.g., by industry, area, or chemical, and increasingly, time series and trend analyses). TRIS provides multiple
access techniques, including on-line access, CD ROMS, and standard floppy disks.

Phil Retallick described how the State of Delaware uses TRIS. Delaware finds the data in TRIS to be "imprecise and inaccu-
rate," but the publicity surrounding the publication of TRI-based reports is none-the-less a powerful tool in getting
companies to agree to emissions reductions. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) was initially afraid that TRI
would produce out-of-control reactions from the public and the federal agencies, but it has generally found the process to
be manageable. Publicity surrounding TRI-reported releases is a powerful motivator of corporate emission reductions.
Delaware DNR sees the next real challenge being how to figure the real health and environmental risks from these

Gary Bass discussed how the public, and especially the activist environmental groups, use TRI. The Toxic Release Inven-
tory is important because it is the only major source of data which is available in electronic format. The real question,
given the law and the availability of the data is why the public doesn't use the system more? The answers are:

•  A need for more public education: people still don't know about the law or the TRIS; and
•  The data is presented in a format which is usable and understandable only by technically sophisticated users, with
    very limited analytical tools, and on-line access costs are not cheap.

Bass pointed out that use of TRI data generates the need for other data (such as demographics, water, air, etc.). The most
common applications to which TRI data has been used are the identification of individual polluters (by company and
facility), broad pollution prevention analyses for geographic areas, analyses of waste transfers, and identifying chemical
users. The system (TRI) is missing certain facilities, chemicals, and it suffers from sporadic and systematic reporting
errors. Public managers should use public opinion and political pressure to continue to upgrade data quality. TRI has
become a model for other programs, and for providing public access to a wide range of government databases. In conclu-
sion, Bass emphasized that public access is not a replacement for enforcement, regulation and compliance monitoring — it's a
valuable tool that complements and reinforces these basic tools, and provides the public with independent means of
verifying government allegations about environmental conditions.

Steve Newburg-Rinn concluded the session with a number of observations about the impact of TRI on EPA:

•  TRI has improved communications among previously antagonistic groups, including EPA itself, industry, and
    environmental groups;
    TRI has generated many remarkable success stories, from the neighborhood to the national level;
    TRI data has found remarkably broad application, including the Pollution Prevention Act, the Clean Air Act Amend-
    ments, and several kinds of cross-program checks;
    Other agencies have become users of TRI, including the Internal Revenue Service, and the Customs Service;
    In many cases, facilities are finding that major amounts of pollutants can be reduced for small costs; and
    Other countries have demonstrated a lot of interest in how the TRI system can be adapted to their own use.

Risk Reduction
Focus on Ecological Risks

Moderator:      Dr. Jay Messer, Acting Associate Director, Atmospheric Research and Exposure Assessment Laboratory, U.S. EPA

               Richard A. Minard, Jr., Director, Northeast Center for Comparative Risk,  Vermont Environmental Law Center

               Robert J. Hugget, Professor and Assistant Director, Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences

Jay Messer introduced the session by  pointing out that the goals of environmental scientists and policy makers are often
different from those of the general public. These differences are also related to the differences between attitudes about
health risks and attitudes about ecological risk. In health areas, we are concerned with the health of individuals, whereas
ecology is concerned with populations and statistical effects. In health we're willing  to accept very low levels of risk, but
we'll trade ecological damages for  even relatively short-term human welfare considerations. Ecorisk needs to be both
scientifically defensible, and the indicators and endpoints must get the attention of the general public and political

                                             NEIC Proceedings
leaders. Some successful ecorisk projects include the aquatics program in the Nationa^ Acid Precipitation Program, the
Global Climate Change work in Europe, and forest cover work being done by the US Forest Service in the Forest Health

Robert Hugget defined risk characterization as a function of both hazard and exposure — the basic paradigm is well
described in the 1983 National Academy of Sciences report on risk characterization. Earlier models suggested it was
possible to protect the environment by setting "acceptable" levels'at which we (i.e., man) can discharge polluting chemi-
cals to  the environment. There are two problems with this — the first is the complexity of setting such levels ; and the
second is the fact that at the ecosystem level, and in those situations where chemicals appear in mixtures, the single
chemical focus does not work. Exposure, however, has a different context — exposure is stress. Hugget then went on to
describe a specific example of how a risk assessment is done, or specifically, "how biomarkers are developed as measures
of bio-physio-histo-pathological manifestations of stress."

Richard Minard began by saying that EPA's new challenge is turning environmental risks into action, and that this is
complicated by the fact that public perceptions do not correlate with "scientifically determined" risks. To follow on Jay
Messer's contrast  of human health risk versus ecorisk, one of the environmental community's biggest communications
challenges is to get the public to understand that ecosystem risk is really the same as human health risk. Minard stressed
the importance of ecological analysis, which comprises an estimate of the impact of stressors on types of ecosystems and
the development of measures on five dimensions, including structure, function, recovery time, spatial scale, and the
certainty of estimate.

Minard identified a number of roles for the states to play in promoting ecological health, including: basic education;
development of educational and information materials, including TRI and Good Citizen Awards; enforcement of right-
to-know type regulations to increase the level of public information; building ecological impacts into prices with taxes
and fees

In summary, Minard sketched the following formula to diminish ecological risk:

                       "Risk reduction = persuasion and education  = politics = self-interest."
Messer:    "It's important to understand what we know how to do already."

Hugget:    "We can't work much above the biological community level. If you want to compare geographically-based risks from one
           part of the country to another, get the experts involved — survey the public."                            	
Cross-Media Issues

Tools and Techniques for Achieving Environmental Data Integration

Moderator:      Richard Taupier, Assistant Secretary, Research and Data, Executive Office of Environmental Affairs,
               Commonwealth of Massachusetts

               Jeffrey W. Byron, Branch Chief, Information Integration, Program Systems Division-GATEWAY Project,
               OIRM, U.S. EPA
               Alfred Vang, Executive Director, South Carolina Water Resources Commission

               Mark Day, Information Resources Manager, Environmental Quality Division, Department of Natural Resources,
               State of Missouri

Richard Taupier described the Massachusetts "Systems Modernization Program," which is now in its third year of imple-
mentation. The project developed three views of data:


                                            NEIC Proceedings   *
•  Natural resource data — what we have (wetlands, groundwater, surface water);
•  Regulated entity data — what we discharge to the environment; and
•  Environmental quality data — what condition it is in.

Lessons learned from the Program include:

•  You need data models, process models (how data is used) and data definitions to manage all the data within some
    type of framework (enterprise or corporate database);
•  Strong, well-supported database administrators are critical, and they have to have full authority to set data standards.
    (See Missouri's similar standards, below);
•  Every application needs to be critically reviewed through the same standard process. Applications should not be
    developed unless they meet certain standards; and
•  Have a central ADP project approval process for all hardware, software and telecommunications initiatives.

Mark Day began his presentation by describing the problems facing state agencies in an era of recession and declining
revenues. Missouri's limited resources, however, have not limited their vision, which builds strength for long-term
systems development efforts. As they acquire data and build systems their motto has been, "Long range vision should
govern short-term activities."

The Missouri department has settled on three basic ways to manage information:

•  Data Standards;
•  Integrate Data Production Systems; and
•  Extending facility identification concept to all regulated facilities using GIS as the tool (EPA regulated facilities are
    only 35% of state's facilities).

Jeffrey Byron described the information management techniques used by the OIRM Program Systems Division to integrate
the data access process through the GATEWAY project. The process needs to start with an information strategy plan,
which is based on current data (modeling, standards) and the technical environment. Based on this information, systems
developers then develop data repository and management tools. The new and re-engineered systems will evolve to new

The OIRM approach is to organize data in a central repository. This repository includes single media/individual program
data, cross-media/environmental data, and base geographic data. This approach confronts a number of existing issues,
including: different systems, definitions, standards; different hardware and software (often picked by individual pro-
grams to satisfy their own individual needs and wants); difficulty in accessing data; level of data quality; and availability
of external data.

There are four major components of the OIRM approach:

1)  Envirofacts (pilot project underway in Region VI);
2)  GATEWAY (described as a powerful tool providing external users' easy access to data);
3)  Data admininstration standards, including: data modeling (inventory of current data in data system); data audits;
    policies and standards; and strategies for collecting information; and
4)  A technical environment with common elements such as PCs on desks attached to Novell LAN, and token ring LAN.

Alfred Vang discussed the experience of the South Carolina Water Resources Commission, as it analyzed its needs for
improved decision support. The Commission wanted to establish a GIS to support natural resource management at parcel
level. Data layers included environmental permits, zoning districts, census data, geology, soil and natural wetlands
inventory. To define this system, the Commission conducted a series of users needs assessments — i.e., what data did
users need to perform their jobs in 24 state agencies? The Commision decided to go with national standards of map
accuracy on all data they could find (Fish and Wildlife, USGS, Soil Conservation Survey).

Richard Taupier:         "You have to invent the organizational structures  (e.g., management decisions, management structures) to
                      deal with technology."


                                            NEIC Proceedings  *
Sharing and Accessing Research Data

Moderator:      Calvin Lawrence, Director, Center for Environmental Research Information (CERI), Office of Research
               and Development, Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S. EPA

               Dick Latimer, Technical Director for Estuaries, Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program,
               Office of Research and Development, U.S. EPA

               Dr. Burkhard Wagner, Scientific Affairs Officer, International Register for Potentially Toxic Chemicals (IRPTC),
               United Nations Environment Programme, Geneva

This session provided an overview of some sources and contacts for environmental research information.

Burkhard Wagner described the mission and concept for the International Register of Potentially Toxic Chemicals (IRPTC).
IRPTC is a global organization, operated from Geneva and funded primarily through the United Nations and additional
contributions from member nations. The concept for IRPTC is to promote efficient sharing of information about poten-
tially hazardous chemicals. To do this, it operates a database and provides query response services. IRPTC also offers
direct support to EPA scientists and maintains close relationships with the Office of Pesticides and Toxic Substances, the
Office of Research and Development, and the National Data Processing Division (NDPD). NDPD is working with IRPTC
on the logical database design for its next generation of database management system. Wagner noted the growing impor-
tance of international efforts to  share environmental information and was pleased to see EPA's commitment to these
programs, as evidenced by the remarks of the Administrator and Deputy Administrator in the Conference's opening

Dick Latimer then described the EMAP program's Near Coastal Ecosystem's component, and discussed future plans for
EMAP information management. The EMAP information management approach is designed to: Collect, manage, and
store EMAP data; provide access to data in geographically dispersed centers; provide analytical and presentation tools;
and disseminate information.

Latimer also described the different types of potential users of EMAP information and compared these with the types and
volume of data  that they would be likely to access. He concluded with some lesson learned so far:

•  Interfaces between field, lab, and data centers can be difficult to establish and ensure;
•  QA and sample analysis are time-consuming and expensive processes;
•  Documentation of data is essential for credibility; and
•  Distribution of data is complicated by diverse user community and high costs.

Cal Lawrence concluded the session with a review of the activities and products of the Center for Environmental Research
Information (CERI), operated by the Office of Technology Transfer and Regulatory Support of the Office of Research and
Development from Cincinnati, Ohio. CERI has been responding to a growing number of requests for research informa-
tion, including almost 50,000 written and telephone requests in 1991. CERI handles the transfer of ORD products to NTIS
for distribution and operates an electronic bulletin board system. The bulletin board system includes an on-line bibliogra-
phy for ORD publications. It also provides a vehicle for reporting on conferences covering topics such as Expert Systems,
Biotechnology,  and Methods and Standards. To find out more about CERI and  its offerings, users can write or call CERI at
26 West Martin Luther King Dr., Cincinnati, Ohio 45268 (513-569-7562).

Environmental Program Planning
Case Studies in Environmental Program Planning

Moderator:      Ralph R. (Dick)  Bauer, Deputy Regional Administrator, Region V, U.S. EPA
               Jan Baakes, National Institute of Public Health and Environmental Protection, The Netherlands

               Terry Williams, Fisheries  Director, Tulalip Tribes Fisheries Department

Numerous examples of successful environmental program planning exist today, often involving cooperation among
agencies which operate at d'fferent  scales from the international to the local. ("Think Globally, Act Locally.") On the


                                        *  NEIC Proceedings  *
international level, Jan Baakes described the Dutch National Environmental Plan as a "background" of comprehensive,
scientifically sound information against which policy makers can set goals and see progress. The planning data is gath-
ered and maintained by a staff of 120. The process began in 1987, but the second Plan, produced in 1991, is the first
relatively complete summary of data and issues. Baakes showed how the data and models developed for the National
Environmental Plan occasionally conflict with the assumptions made by the legislators who set policy, but that these
discrepancies are left to be evaluated in the light of future experience.

Terry Williams described the process by which Tribal (local) environmental programs are also being developed with State
environmental protection agencies. In the State of Washington, the vast experience of tribal fishing experts has proven to
be a critical supplement to the more abstract data and academic training of State wildlife specialists. There is a need to
combine the two forms of information in systems which make the combined wisdom available to all policy makers. In the
current environment this works on tribal lands where tribal officials are able to directly influence programs, but there are
additional opportunities in the wider administration of state environmental programs in a number of areas of the United

Dick Bauer explained the efforts of EPA's Region V and the Great Lakes National Program Office to work across national
boundaries for the Great Lakes Initiative, which is similar to geographic initiatives for the Gulf of Mexico and Chesapeake
Bay. The Great Lakes initiative addresses ecosystem-wide pollution issues by stressing attainable, publicly endorsed end
points for strategic targeting. The Great Lakes initiative represents a new approach to integrated program planning and
implementation — integrated across programs, media, and jurisdictions. A major current priority involves the definition
of new monitoring needs to fill gaps in the current data models for the Basin.  The second element of the Initiative is a
commitment to an across-the-board 50% reduction in emission of all key pollutants (across all media) in five years. The
third major element of the Initiative is the public process for defining environmental end points such as edible fish.

In concluding his discussion of the Great Lakes Initiative, Bauer reflected on the data integration buzzwords being used at
the Conference. In his experience, the only way Bauer has seen to design an effective information system is to understand
the management decision-making requirements, and to tailor the data collection, analysis and reporting functions to these
needs. In some of the discussions on cross-media data integration, Bauer has not seen sufficient attention paid to underly-
ing decision needs. Finally, Bauer believes that the OIRM community needs to more actively involve agency managers in
their design discussions in order to build "buy-in" for the next generation of EPA systems.

Empowering The Environmental Organization
Management Issues and Implications for Environmental Organizations

Moderator:      Jerry D. Lambo, President and Chief Executive Officer, Office of Electronic Commerce Executive Forum

               Roger Cooper, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Information Resources Management,
               U.S. Department of Justice
               Allen Beinke, Executive Director, Texas Water Commission
               Marcus W. Page, Deputy Fiscal Assistant Secretary, U.S. Treasury Department
In his introductory comments, Jerry Lambo reminded attendees that electronic commerce was broader than simply elec-
tronic data interchange (EDI). Electronic commerce included all of the usual standards, such as ANSI X.12, facilities such
as CALS to permit the common use and sharing of CAD and CAE projects, and the integration of artificial intelligence
and expert systems.

Roger Cooper described the efforts of the 374 attorneys in the DoJ's Environmental and Natural Resources Division to
respond to expanded challenges — including, broader environmental legislation, decreasing resources with expanded
workloads, increasing case complexity, and increasing sophistication of felons. Key to the response is increased personal
productivity, mainframe resources, and integration with EPA, using EDI facilities. Cooper believes EPA is more advanced
in its applications than facilities currently available at the Justice Department, which in part accounts for the decision to
closely integrate new DoJ systems with their counterparts at EPA. The management strategy for the development of the
new IRM facilities at Justice is based on four basic premises: (1) there are only a few good people available for IRM
activities; (2) save resources by piggybacking on the efforts of sister organizations; (3) avoid the bleeding edge of technol-
ogy; and (4) make effective use of contractors.

                                        *> . NEIC Proceedings  *
Allen Beinke, Texas Water Commission, described his State's effort to improve information management internal to his
organization and with the public. He described the major restructuring which the Water Commission has been going
through. He maintained that making his workers and the public more knowledgeable through complete, reliable, and
easy to use systems will improve environmental risk mitigation — that risks are better understood and responded to
when they are based on information that is fully accessible to individuals and the public. Contrary to other speakers,
Beinke said that it was easier to ask people to change their behaviors than it was to achieve fundamental changes in
technology. The biggest problems are getting people to "let go" of their private stocks of information, and addressing the
job security concerns of staff who are afraid they will lose their jobs if they cannot master the new information manage-
ment technologies. The solution begins at the top of the organization — top management must sponsor changes, other
staff must be change agents and advocates. New systems must work well. Management must be honest about future
benefits and costs.

Marcus Page described the Treasury Department's experiences with the design and application of advanced information
technologies, in the form of designing generic systems for the application of so-called transaction system projects — in
other words, the use of smart cards for financial transactions between federal, state and local governments. A major
problem was revealed early in the process when a survey of potential users revealed major differences in problem defini-
tions for costs (cost/use versus lifecycle), solution infrastructure (existing private sector communications channels versus
new public systems), and security ("zero risk" versus efficiency). Page stressed that there are always unexpected sur-
prises, such as the problem of prolonged disputes over the proper "hand geometry."

Pollution Prevention
Using Market Mechanisms to Prevent Pollution

Moderator:     Dr. L. Michael Szendrey, Vice President and General Manager, The Barcardi Corporation
               Steven Gold, Executive Director, Citizens for the Environment
               Armando Carbonell, Executive Director, Cape Cod Planning and Development, Barnstable County,
               Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Steve Gold focused on private sector solutions to environmental problems, which he characterized as "lending the environ-
ment an invisible  hand." Gold began with a conceptual overview of the rationale for market-based incentives.

Market mechanisms which are currently in use include: pollution-based charges for service (e.g., charge households based
on the volume of household trash); marketable permits (e.g., acid rain allowances); deposits and refunds (e.g., bottle bills);
removal of governmental barriers (e.g., Western water rights); and removal of governmental subsidies (e.g., Western
water developments and logging);

Armando Carbonell discussed the application of market-based incentives to environmental protection issues on Cape Cod.
At an early stage in the use of market-based incentives, it becomes clear  that there is a need — and a cost — for environ-
mental monitoring information. These costs can eventually be recovered by fees and user charges, but they must be
incurred up-front if the program is to be effective. The primary impulse  for the search for market-based incentives for
environmental protection in Cape Cod came from a desire to avoid the heavy-handed approach of a simple population
limit because it would discourage progress and innovation, and would be politically unacceptable to tourism-based
growth proponents.

Carbonell cited two major areas where market incentives are being considered or implemented in lieu of traditional
controls. The first of these  is moving away from the density controls of the zoning process as the primary means of
providing "wellhead protection." Cape Cod is now studying a method of providing permits for trading "dilution capac-
ity." The second market-based alternative is in the area of nitrogen-loading to the Cape Cod watershed. The development
board is now considering mechanisms for rewarding homeowners for making extra investments (either new or retrofit) in
septic systems, sewage treatment and lawn care practices that will reduce nitrogen loads.

Michael Szendrey described how market-based incentives for pollution control in Puerto Rico encouraged Bacardi to
develop new technologies which have: (1) saved $3 million as the result of major changes in Bacardi anaerobic processing
of wastes, and (2) earned Bacardi significant consulting revenues as Bacardi works with other firms to adapt their prac-
tices to other pollution prevention programs at major corporations such as Miles Labs and Tropicana.


                                        <*  NEIC Proceedings  *»*
Risk Reduction
Re-examining the Use of Environmental Information

Moderator:      Thomas C. Voltaggio, Director, Hazardous Waste Management Division, Region III, U.S. EPA
               David L. Thomas, Director, Hazardous Waste Research and Information Center, State of Illinois
               Warren Muir, President, Hampshire Research Associates
David Thomas said the State of Illinois's Hazardous Waste Research and Information Center (HWRIC) was chartered to
provide industrial and technical assistance, administer the Governor's pollution prevention awards, promote recycling
and reducing waste, and provide information dissemination and technology transfer. A recent project of the Center is the
Critical Trends Project which stresses environmental trends. All of these programs will feed into a proposed GIS for
resource management and environmental protection. The Center also hopes to produce a "State of the State" report.

Warren Muir stressed the opportunity which EPA has to promote risk reduction and to improve risk management by
developing and distributing microcomputer-based analytical tools. The agency has already made major contributions to
the search for relevant data through the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) and the Title III systems, but in addition to raw
data, states and other groups such as air quality management districts, need effective management models, which can
now be implemented on the new generations of more powerful personal computers. Among the tools which already exist
are Risk*Assistant, CAMEO, SC-GEMS, REACH Scan, QSAR, TRI Risk Screening, WATERS, and IRIS II. Muir demon-
strated the qualities of Risk*Assistant which would make it useful to resource managers and regulators involved in the
process of assessing environmental quality more systematically, right down to the site level.
Warren Muir:           "Risk assessments are not trusted by the public."
Cross-Media Issues

Multi-Media Enforcement Strategies

Moderator:      Kathy Summerlee, Multi-Media Coordinator, Office of Enforcement, U.S. EPA

               Steven J. Madonna, State Environmental Prosecutor, Attorney General's Office, State of New Jersey

               John Barker, Regional Counsel, Region IV, U.S. EPA

Kathy Summerlee began the session with a description of the Office of Enforcement's efforts to upgrade their information
support systems. The first need is for better and earlier involvement of states and other agencies in the enforcement
planning process. "Enforcement requires greater information and we need more effective communication to aid the
enforcement process," she said.

In response to these needs, the Office developed two closely related systems to: (1) provide indicators of risk, and (2)
prioritize "Non-Compliance Opportunities." The risk system was based on the TRI database, in which industries (identi-
fied by Standard Industrial Classification Codes) were ranked by the amount of polluting releases. In a similar fashion,
non-compliance measures were sorted by SIC Code. Both lists were then weighted and combined for a composite ranking
of industries with high rates of releases and non-compliance. This ranking will be used to set priorities for 1992 enforce-
ment actions.

Steve Madonna said there is a need to integrate data not only from state offices but from counties and municipalities as
well. There is a need to think across all lines — Multi-Media and Multi-Agency (MMMA). The phenomenal demands
being made for environmental information requires coordination with local levels of government, including many of the
special districts, such as water, sewer, and air quality. In order to promote  the degree of coordination required by the
MMMA approach, the State of New Jersey has instituted new forms of environmental and compliance monitoring inspec-
tions. These are:

Consolidated inspections— One inspector has overall responsibility to conduct a multi-media inspection (this is the pre-
ferred approach); and


                                        <*  NEIC Proceedings  <*
Coordinated inspections — An inspector from each media goes to site separately within specified timeframe and coordi-
nates with other programs.

These new inspections have increased the quality of inter-agency communications, and have dramatically increased the
number of multiple-agency prosecutions against major polluters in New Jersey.

John Barker described the process by which EPA Region IV reformed their enforcement strategies, and the implications
these changes had for information needs from the EPA Regional Program Offices. The first step they took was to develop
a multi-media "TQM Action Team" to consolidate cross-media inspections and to developed multi-media enforcement
protocols (procedures so programs can work together — this is similar to the consolidated and coordinated inspections
being implemented by New Jersey). The second step in the process was to institute a "Case Screening Process" in which
the inspector and the attorney systematically complete a checklist according to established protocols, before visiting site.
Region IV has developed an integrated database (similar to IDEA—Integrated Data for Enforcement Analysis) to provide
a rough overview of the issues affecting specific enforcement issues.

In EPA Region IV, there is a systematic process for pursuing Geographic Initiatives, which includes: (1) a survey of
baseline of information; (2) an analysis of gaps in information and what is needed to fill them; and (3) coordination of the
enforcement actions of a variety of Program Offices, to get them to come on-line together, and work with the affected
Steve Madonna:         "Don't talk water, don't talk air; talk to the problem."
Environmental Program Planning
Making Your SEDM Program a Success

Moderator:      Michele Zenon, Branch Chief, Information Sharing, Information Services and Management Division,
               OIRM, U.S. EPA
               Gerard Bulanowski, Environmental Data Integration , Program Manager (SEDM Coordinator),
               Office of Environment, State of Colorado

               Dr. Steven Hanna, Chief, Office of Environmental Information, California Environmental Protection Agency,
               State of California
               Christopher N. Kroot, Programmer Analyst, Casco Bay Estuary Project, Department of Environmental Protection,
               State of Maine
               Ron Woodburn, Senior Data Analyst, Division of Technical and Support Services, Department of Environment
               and Natural Resources, State of South Dakota
This session was primarily a non-structured panel discussion moderated by Michele Zenon, State/EPA Data Management
National Program Manager, rather than a series of individual presentations.

Christopher Kroot began the session by discussing the State of Maine's experience with the Computer Automation Project
(CAP). Kroot said he felt two factors were essential to CAP's early success: (1) vigorous support from senior management;
and (2) commitment to the project's theme of "Shared Environmental Decision-Making," including extensive involvement
and consultation with the Maine towns, local governments and NGOs who will be major users of the automated systems.

Ron Woodburn said he felt South Dakota's information resources management activities were helped significantly by
(SEDM-subsidized) interstate meetings and by the ability to participate in the quarterly state meetings which had been
organized by the Region VIII SEDM Coordinator. Gerald Bulanowski said the State of Colorado has similarly benefited
from these meetings.

Steve Hanna of California said he thought there were two fundamental problems which the federal government needed to
address to promote cross-media and cross-program data exchange and analysis. These two issues are:

                                        «*»  NEIC Proceedings  <$>
•  The need for a fully functional, up-to-date Facilities Index System (FINDS) which would be cross indexed to all
    enforcement programs and which would have facilities to permit the States to use it to track their own monitoring
    and enforcement activities; and
•  Common definitions of pollutants, which would hold across all media.
Hanna emphasized that he didn't necessarily believe it was SEDM's sole or primary responsibility to carry out these two
activities, but that SEDM should use its influence to support the necessary OIRM initiatives to carry them out.

Finally, the panel discussion ended with agreement by Kroot and Bulanowski that they thought SEDM would increase its
effectiveness by supporting system design activities or pilot projects which emphasized working with local governments
and NGOs as both sources and generators of data, and as users of these information systems.

Empowering The Environmental Organization
Case Studies in Empowering Environmental Organizations

Moderator:      Jack Sweeney, Chief, Information Management Branch, Policy and Management Division, Region IV, U.S. EPA

               Mike Cullen, Chief, Management and Systems Development Staff, Office of Program Management,
               Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, U.S. EPA
               Debbie English, Administrator, Revolving Fund Assistance Program, Water Quality Control Division,
               Department of Health, State of Colorado

               David Schwarz, Chief, Information Policy Branch, Regulatory Management Division,
               Office of Regulatory Management and Evaluation, Office of Policy, Planning, and Evaluation, U.S. EPA

Many organizations — local, State, Federal, and other — have already made  substantial progress in using information
technology to improve the productivity and effectiveness of their environmental organizations. Mike Cullen spoke first,
describing the "chaos" he found in OSWER resulting from the large number  of personal computers, redundant tracking
systems, and nonexistent software control. To solve this problem, OSWER installed LANS and began to implement
OASIS. OASIS supports enhanced intergroup communication, personnel, and project management applications.

Debbie English reported on the needs, responses, and benefits  in the Colorado State water quality grant management
function similar to OSWER's experience noted above. Colorado's water quality grant system has gained substantial
productivity and client service benefits from networking state systems.

Jack Sweeny described his office's development of the Ready Reference Tool in EPA Region IV. This is a very cost-effective
approach to distributing a wide variety of information to office staff on a timely basis. Information can take many forms,
including scanned news articles, graphics such as organization charts and a variety of map and map-like products, and
data files. The Ready Reference Tool is available for distribution throughout  EPA.

Broadening EPA may include extending its interactions with  the regulated or reporting community. One key to this
activity is improving cost effectiveness of communications. David Schwarz, OPPE, described Agency plans and policies to
improve communications through electronic document interchange (EDI) in  order to break bottlenecks in the compliance
process. Schwarz reported that EPA follows industry EDI standards: this results in low software acquisition and mainte-
nance costs for both the permittees and EPA. Among the priority systems to implement with these new facilities are direct
reporting for the Contract Payment System (CPS), hazardous waste management reports, the Discharge Monitoring
Reports, the OPPE biennial reports by the States, and the dissemination of OIRM standards to actual and potential users.
Pollution Prevention
The Chesapeake Bay Partnership

Moderator:      The Honorable Robert Perciasepe, Secretary, Maryland Department of Environment, State of Maryland

               N. Lee Brown, Chairman, Citizens Advisory Committee, Pollution Prevention Task Force, Richmond, Virginia

               Walter Peechatka, Deputy Secretary for Regulatory Programs, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture,
               Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
               Jon M. Capacasa, Chesapeake Bay Liaison, U.S. EPA


                                            NEIC Proceedings
The panel was introduced by Bill Matuszeski, newly named Director of the Chesapeake Bay Program. Matuszeski began
by summarizing conditions in the Bay which includes shallow depth, a large watershed (which supports a high popula-
tion density), the relatively recent origins of major Bay problems, including air deposition, agricultural run-off and
geometric population growth. Federal laws do not do a good job of covering the issues which most impact the Bay.
Pollution prevention strategies will be key to successful recovery of the Bay.

Jon Capacasa summarized pollution prevention issues in the Chesapeake Bay from EPA's perspective. The Bay is a good
model for innovation because of the depth of previous studies, and the capacity of the professional staff who work
directly with the program. Furthermore, the Bay is a good fit for pollution prevention strategies because the sources of
contamination are lots of small sources which need to be dealt with through diffuse programs, such as "integrated pest
management," "nutrient management," and innovative studies of growth and growth impact management.

Bob Perciasepe reviewed the pollution prevention strategies being pursued by the Chesapeake Bay Program, as seen from
the bordering states. These points paralleled many of the points made previously by Matuszeski and Capacasa.
Perciasepe did announce that the Program was in the process of "re-evaluating" it's previous high priority for nutrient
reduction as the primary element in the recovery process.

Walter Peechatka described the operation of one of the major Chesapeake Bay pollution prevention programs — Integrated
Pest Management (IPM) — as it operates  in one State (Pennsylvania) which has major direct (e.g., watershed) and indirect
(e.g., air particulate deposition) impacts on the Bay. Parenthetically, Peechatka mentioned that Pennsylvania will lead a
re-evaluation of the role and trends of toxins in the Bay in 1993. EPA registers 35-40,000 pesticides, of which Pennsylvania
permits only about 10,000. The State also  registers approximately 3,500 pesticide applicators. The IPM program involves
three basic issues targeted at agricultural practices — mostly for field crops. The program starts with optimum nutrition
because strong, healthy crops are more pest resistant. This means that pest management practices need to be closely
coordinated with nutrition management. Secondarily, IPM requires the use of the minimum effective amount of pesticide;
and third, the application of pesticides in strict compliance with manufacturers' directions.

Lee Brown concluded the panel by describing his involvement as chairman of the Bay Program's Pollution Prevention Task
Force. The Task Force achieves much of its policy impact from the Citizens Advisory Committee  which provides grass
roots political leverage for many important initiatives. Industries in the Bay watershed, especially those facilities which
are point source contributors to pollutant loads, have achieved notable success in reduced loadings. Among these results
are 30-40% reductions in energy discharge to the  Bay and  a 10% improvement (decrease) in chemical emissions since 1985,
as a direct result of TRI and other voluntary actions by industry.

Risk Reduction
Risk Communication Forum
Moderator:      Victor E. Cohn, Senior Writer and Columnist,
               The Washington Post
               Caron Chess, Associate Director, Environmental
               Communication Research Program, Rutgers University
               Lewis S.W. Crampton, Associate Administrator for
               Communications and Public Affairs, U.S. EPA

Lewis Crampton began the discussion of risk communication issues with the
seven cardinal rules of risk communication which were developed at EPA
about four years ago (see box). Buildng on these principles, he offered
some guidance for those Agency managers (including systems developers)
involved in helping the public to understand risk issues:

A.  Risk communication is an effective risk reduction tool;
B.  Make greater efforts to make statements which are consistent across
    media (and across Agency programs);
C.  Communicate  messages in a forceful manner; and
D.  Routinely pre-test and evaluate communications to make sure they are
    achieving the desired impact (e.g., focus group testing).
    The Seven Cardinal Rules of Risk
•*• •*• •*• •*• «£* «£• •£» •*• •£»





     Involve the Public As a Legitimate
     Plan Carefully and Evaluate Your
     Listen to the Public's Specific
     Be Honest, Frank, and Open in Your
     Dealings With the Public.

     Coordinate and Collaborate With
     Other Credible Sources.

     Meet the Needs of the Media.
     Speak Clearly With Compassion.
                        Barry Allen and
                          Vince Cavello

                                        <*  NEIC Proceedings  <$>
Victor Cohn recommended a book entitled News and Numbers, A Guide to Communicating Statistical Claims and Controversies
as an excellent guide to risk communication issues. The basic reality which the press works with is that it is possible to tell
truth from untruth. The five basic tests are:

Uncertainty — Science is always uncertain. The causes and effects of this uncertainty needs to be discussed fully.

Probability — The public needs to understand how probabilities can explain factors such as clusters of birth defects.

Power — It takes a large number of people to really know something. "For instance..." is not proof.

Bias — Human and scientific bias. Many confounding factors can bias results.

Variation — There are lots of variations when measuring human reactions to the environment. The breadth of natural
variation in genetics and biological processes need to be better identified.

Questions which the public (and the press) will want to know about risk include:

Is it a risk? How great? How small? To whom? How certain are you? Can the risk be quantified or otherwise measured
(e.g., smaller than smoking, but larger than getting struck by lightning)? Can the risk be managed? Who would be (are)
the managers? What should we do? Are your data defensible? How have the data been evaluated? Can we see the data?

Candor builds credibility in the long run.

Caron Chess recommends Improving Dialogue  with Communities: a Risk Communication Manual for Government. Chess pro-
vided a handout which can be obtained from the Environmental Communication Research Program at Rutgers. The three
major questions are:

1.  What is the most important information  you want to communicate with your audience?
2.  What is the most important information  your audience wants to know?
3.   What is the audience most likely to get wrong?

The presentations were followed with a lively discussion, which raised the following points:
Government can't get results out in the short term. It's important to tell the public: (1) what you don't know, (2) why you
don't know, (3) what else you need to do to be sure, and (4) when you're likely to be able to make a more definitive

The problem with the above approach is that the Agency seems to be forever calling for more research in order to keep
the public out of the decision-making process.
Release data sooner rather than later — but you have to understand the limits on the data, and be prepared to explain
them to the audience.

Research studies need to be designed with a  built-in communications strategy.

EPA needs to approach the public as a senior scientific advisor or expert, not at the sole decison-maker (i.e., recognize the
major, active role of the public in the decision-making process). Especially in a public hearing situation, people will try to
capitalize on any weaknesses in the decision-making process. And you need to keep in mind the answer to the question of
what is EPA going to do to make things better.
Cross-Media Issues
Data Exchange — Federal/Global Databases

Moderator:      Roxanne Williams, Deputy Director of Information Resources Management, U.S. Department of Agriculture

               Jim Biesecker, Assistant Director for Information Systems, U.S. Geological Survey,
               U.S. Department of Interior

               Gregory Withee, Deputy Assistant Administrator, Office of Information Systems,
               National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce


                                            NEIC Proceedings  «$»
               Wo-Yen Lee, Director, International Environmental Information Systems (INFOTERRA)
               Program Activities Center (PAC), United Nations Environment Programme
Roxanne Williams began her presentation with a discussion of the growing needs within Department of Agriculture
programs for access to information from outside resources. Based on the experiences of the Agriculture Office of Informa-
tion Resources Management, they have set five goals for exchanging data:

    Know what the data means (e.g., definition of a farm, definition of a field);
    Use commonly understood data exchange standards (e.g., data dictionaries, data directories);
    Establish responsibilities for information — how to resolve protocol conflicts (e.g., formal agreement across agencies);
    Publish the organizational and computational environment of organizations that share data; and
    Define business objectives and a plan to know how the data relates to your overall organizational goals and direction.
Wo Yen Lee described the philosophy and operations of INFOTERRA, which is based on the premise that data should be
stored where it is created — there is no central data bank. Characteristics include:

•   103 countries participate;
•   6,500 institutions (one institution can represent over 2,000 experts; average is 40/institution);
•   1,300 subject areas; and
•   18,450 queries last year.
All member governments are charged with designating one representative to serve as the "national focal point." The focal
point receives inquiries and translates them into one of the official UN languages. The focal point registers institutions in
the country.

Gregory Withee spoke about the data exchange challenges which he sees as NOAA tries to marshal information from a
variety of sources for their environmental mandates.

Interagency Data Exchange Challenges — We can't do environmental work alone. Have to use each other's data.
Global Data Exchange Challenges — Need for both data and metadata (information on where and how to access other
environmental information)
Multi-disciplinary Data Exchange Challenges — For example, can't use physics alone — need the biology and chemistry that
goes with it — requires much broader technical competence by analysts.
Jim Biesecker said global change poses new challenges to data management — traditional data dissemination methods are
inadequate. One of the primary tools for meeting these challenges is the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC),
which promotes the coordinated development, use, sharing and dissemination of surveying, mapping and related spatial
data. In fulfilling its role as lead agency for the FGDC, USGS relies on seven principles of data management:

    Maintain and distribute high quality, long-term data;
    Share global data fully and openly;
    Designate data archives;
    Publicize descriptions of archived data;
    Use data and information standards
    Provide data at lowest possible costs; and
    Make data public as soon as widely useful.
Wo Yen Lee:           "Our species will multiply. We're on a doomsday track. We have to share our experiences, data, and
                      information. Join me in  reversing this trend because acting alone there is no hope."	

                                        *>  NEIC Proceedings
Environmental Modelling — Status and Case Studies

Moderator:     Paul Drazan, Managing Director, Research Institute for Knowledge Systems (RIKS), Maastricht, The Netherlands

               Dr. Jason K.S. Ching, Chief, Atmospheric Research and Exposure, Assessment Laboratory,
               U.S. EPA, Research Triangle Park

               Dr.  David L. Brown, Chief, Environmental Research Laboratory, Athens, Georgia, U.S. EPA

This session provided an update on current and future environmental modeling efforts within the EPA and in the interna-
tional community. Atmospheric, surface water, ground water, and socio-economic models were discussed.

Jason Ching opened the presentations with a discussion of EPA's atmospheric modeling efforts. He related these efforts to
several recent and future hot topics, including global climate change/ acid deposition, and oxidants studies. He described
a continuum of modeling projects, dating from the early 1980s and extending through 1996. Four specific models — ROM,
RADM, RPM, and TAGEM — were covered, including their history, their objectives and regulatory context, and future
plans. For RADM, Ching provided a stimulating video demonstration of the model's results for an acid deposition
scenario. Ching concluded with a description of MODELS-3, a 3rd generation of atmospheric modeling that is designed to
anticipate computer technology advances (e.g., parallel computing) in the next 5-10 years. He identified the major compo-
nents needed for this approach, including improved user interfaces, integrated DBMSs, and core models and post-

Dave Brown reviewed the model development and model support activities of the Athens Environmental Research
Laboratory. The Center for Exposure Assessment Modeling was highlighted. It provides varying levels of support for a
collection of surface water, exposure assessment, ground water,  soils, and hydrodynamic models — over 15 models in all.
Statistics for support, such as numbers of models distributed and numbers of technical support requests answered, were
provided. Brown described some future trends for modeling:

    Growing use of  models for regional scale, multimedia problems;
    Emphasis on ecological end-points;
    Increasing use of mapping, expert systems;
    Increasing use of workstations;
    Increases in computational speeds and portability;
    Innovations in post-processing; and
    Emphasis on linkages among multiple models.

Paul Drazan was the final speaker for the session, and he described some international efforts to incorporate socio-eco-
nomic factors in environmental modeling. Drazan described the importance of targeting decision-makers and policy
analysts as model users, and how technologies such as relational DMBSs, GIS, DSSs, and Knowledge Based System now
make this feasible. A modeling project for the nation of Senegal  called SENSIM was demonstrated to illustrate the point
that computers can be designed to efficiently evaluate complex sets of factors (in this case, a series of multivariate equa-
tions) and provide decision-makers with informed alternatives.

Environmental Program Planning
Public Access to Environmental Data

Moderator:      Patricia Bauman, Co-Director, The Bauman Family Foundation

               Peter August, Associate Professor, Department of Natural Resources Science,
               University of Rhode Island

              Mathew Lesko, President, Information  U.S.A., State of Washington

Patricia Bauman introduced the session on public access by saying that one of the things the audience should be aware of
was the lack of clarity in defining who the public was. For example, should data on natural resources be provided to
developers on the same terms as individual homeowners?


                                        <»  NEIC Proceedings  <*
Peter August's description of Rhode Island's statewide Geographic Information System (RIGIS) contained some points
which supported Bauman's introduction. RIGIS is a 1:24,000 database which is maintained and copyrighted by the
Regents of the University of Rhode Island. The RIGIS program operates under a five-part mandate to:

    1)  Consolidate     data from all available sources at a common scale and with complete documentation;
    2)  Automate       all data in a consistent format;
    3)  Update         all data on an appropriate schedule;
    4)  Integrate       data from a variety of sources into a single accessible format
    5)  Disseminate    to all users.

The initial design for dissemination of the data provided for different prices for data being purchased by public authori-
ties and by private groups. When RIGIS was developed there was little or no market for the private sale of data, so the
price schedule has been reworked simply to recover the marginal costs of providing the data (at approximately $9/
megabytes of data).

Mathew Lesko described his commercial success in accessing and packaging federal data for the private market. Lesko's
message was that the federal government in general does such a poor job of making its data known and available that
there is a substantial premium which the public is prepared to pay to have the data made available in a more convenient

At the conclusion of the panel, Bauman suggested the audience pay close attention to the rewrite of OMB Circular A-130,
which is to be announced shortly. OMB Circular A-130 establishes the general guidelines for federal policy governing
access to and distribution of federally collected data. Bauman believes the rewrite will encourage the Federal Govern-
ment, the source of the most authoritative, unbiased data, to resume a role as the data provider of first resort, rather than
reinforcing priorities for privatization of federal data dissemination which are embodied in the current version of Circular

Empowering The Environmental Organization

Next Steps in Technology

Moderator:      Robin Rather, Information Strategies Group

               Walter Doherty, Manager, Watson Information Center, IBM

               John Coyne, Professor of Management Science, George Washington University,
               Department of Management Science
               Jim Rosen, Lotus Development Corp.
In the rush to improve EPA's ability to share information, many new technologies have been proposed and tested; yet not
all technologies have proven effective, nor are all organizations ready for such changes. Robin Rather, Information Strate-
gies Group, characterized this as the paradox of impatience for change vs. intolerance for change. The conflict stems from
the micro-perspective that is enforced by over-specialization. She suggested that the solution is to understand which new
technologies may actually yield user benefits and can serve as a significant catalyst for organizational change. Examples
of such high impact technologies include: video conferencing, broadband networks, geographic information systems,
imaging, electronic data interchange, and standardized graphical user interfaces. Technologies to be avoided for the next
few years include Artifical Intelligence and multimedia. Current gaps in technology effectiveness — which can exact great
costs if they are not recognized (the bleeding edge) — include network management and software/hardware

John Coyne argued contrarily that multimedia systems are currently effective. Such systems better represent the way in
which users actually work and think, i.e, people think in text, color, full motion, sound — not data tables. He challenged
systems engineers to enable users to take advantage of multimedia technology, instead of constraining them to the
simplistic two dimensional systems represented by traditional software.

Walter Doherty noted the low productivity of automation, and provided a longer term perspective on the rate of efficient
adaptation to major new inventions. In relatively recent history, it has taken society two full generations to assimilate the
impacts of an invention. For example, it was two generations after the invention of the automobile before the United
States developed the system of highways which adequately handled the auto's capabilities (rather than the horse's).


                                         ***  NEIC Proceedings  *
Similarly, only now, fifty years after the invention of the computer, are we beginning to develop communications systems
with sufficient bandwidth to permit universal use of computers. Doherty cited the experience of one IBM complex which
currently serves 3,000 people through 10,000 workstations, and handles the exchange of up to 100 gigabytes of data per

Jim Rosen demonstrated how shared information bases can be implemented with existing commercial software and
systems. He challenged systems engineers to consider a new set of requirements for future systems, including: cross
network communication, cross heterogeneous software communication, integration of new systems with existing applica-
tions, emphasis on software quality, and design for added value by the systems. Rosen also noted a significant downside
to these new large systems:

•  Information pollution;
•  False data;
•  Information dilution (stimulation of verbosity); and
•  Large systems become a tool in the service of bureaucracies.
Rosen said the best rule he had uncovered for designing and analyzing the application of new technologies was to "focus
on improving the quality of your own life."
                      Jim Rosen:
"Focus on improving the quality of your own life."
Harvard University Forum:
    State/EPA Data Management Program:
Information Management as an Instrument of Strategic Change

Speaker: Malcolm Sparrow, Applied Research Program of Strategic Communications and Telecommunications
               in the Public Sector, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

Malcolm Sparrow, of the JFK School of Government, and a former detective inspector with Scotland Yard, spoke on SEDM
as a potential model for the use of information management as an instrument of strategic change in EPA. Sparrow out-
lined the specific strategic shifts which are occurring in environmental protection — away from enforcement and prosecu-
tion and toward the definition and promotion of comprehensive environmental goals, based on measures of ecological
functions. Sparrow's analysis was based in part on similar changes which have occurred in the strategic model of polic-
ing, as it has moved in recent years from "Professional Policing" (as developed by such practitioners as Robert Parker of
the LA Police force and Patrick Murphy of the District of Columbia and New York City) to the Community Policing

A similar shift in strategies in environmental protection work results in the following shifts in environmental strategy:
In making these strategic shifts, Sparrow said there are seven "imperative" shifts that information management will have
to make to support the changed strategy:
               Old Model
New Model
           Objectives and Performance Measures Productivity
                                  Pollution Detection and Prosecution
                         Organizational Form Programs (Air, Water, Solid Waste, etc )
                               Unit of Work "Incident" or
                           View of the Public "Problem,"
                                         "Complainant" or
            Attitude towards Enforcement Actions Principal Mode of Operation
                        Role of Field Engineer Functional Specialist (e g , Air, Water,
                                         Superfund, etc)
                                    Environmental Quality
                                    Pollution Prevention
                                    "Problem," "Project,"
                                    "Pattern" or
                                    "Resource" or
                                    One Tool in the Toolbox — not the first or
                                    most preferred
                                    A generahsts, serving as the Agency's

                                        <*  NEIC Proceedings   <*
    Information systems must support the aggregation of information along a number of different dimensions. They must
    have flexible database structures, versatile analytical systems, and considerable communications bandwidth [Sparrow
    said EPA's GIS capabilities were a big step in this direction, and that the Agency was ahead of almost every other
    public agency.];
    Analytical support must be available for projects of all sizes;
    Information must be available to support multi-objective programs, rather than simply prosecutions;
    The status and remuneration to trained analysts will increase;
    Unique problems will require innovation and creativity;
    Data will need to be gathered from all possible sources, including a variety of outside sources; and
    Information products will have to be tailored to the preferences of managers.
Based on these experiences, Sparrow provided a summary of the steps the Agency is likely to traverse as it becomes a true
learning organization. He characterized the next seven to ten years as a frustrating time for the Agency, "when you know
full well where  you must go, but find yourself continually stymied by outmoded laws and institutional structures."

The need for high quality leadership during this critical transition phase is critical.

Harvard University Forum:
Public Access to Environmental Data

Speaker: Jerry Mechling, Applied Research Program of Strategic Communications and Telecommunications
               in the Public Sector, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
In the second Harvard presentation, Jerry Mechling, also from the JFK School, provided a vivid demonstration of how new
technology can  be used to generate significant new information for environmental managers and policy makers, through
the use of live polling techniques. All of the attendees at Mechling's session were able to vote on any subject the speaker
defined, and the results would be immediatly displayed.

As a sample application of the utility of this technology, 61% of those at Mechling's session felt that it was essential to
broaden the environmental community through improved public information. Consensus seems to disappear, however in
surveying the highly fragmented opinions expressed about the following public access topics:
   The most important public access policy
   element (multiple responses)
What should we focus on?
                               Prices for information should be?
   32%  Reaching the public
   26%  Understanding the audience
   21%  Assuring data quality and preserving
   19%  Improving data coordination roles
   37%  Other
35%  Building interfaces
33%  Educating users
25%  Standardizing definitions and
Collecting new data
36%  Marginal Cost
27%  Price based on use
18%  Study more
14%  Free
 5%  Average Cost
Citing precedents from other public programs, and the EPA experience with the Toxic Release Inventory, Mechling
concluded with the prediction that increased public access to a shared environmental knowledge base will result in four
major benefits:

•  It will promote the Agency's shift to a comprehensive, risk-based mission;
•  It will strengthen the Agency's relationship with and support by the public;
•  It will meet all the requirements of federal information management; and
•  It will promote proactive, efficient information handling.
Succinctly summarizing a series of points important to all information resources managers, Mechling said that public
access to information will positively impact efficiency, accountability, equity, commerce and privacy.

                                         *  NEIC Proceedings
 Pollution Prevention/Research
 The Big Picture' Characterizing Environmental Status from the Top Down

 Moderator:      Warren Banks, Special Assistant to the Director for Atmospheric and Indoor Air Programs,
                Office of Air and Radiation, U.S. EPA
                Steven Hubbell, Professor, Department of Ecology and Evaluation, Princeton University

                Dr. N. Phillip Ross, Director, Center for Environmental Statistics Development Staff,
                Office of Regulatory Management and Evaluation, Office of Policy, Planning and Evaluation, U.S. EPA

 Warren Banks opened this session with a review of Office of Air and Radiation (OAR) programs and initiatives. He
 emphasized OAR efforts to promote participation by all parties — EPA, the states, and industry. For example, he de-
 scribed the Acid Rain program's market-based approach of issuing and tracking emission credits for electric power
 facilities regulated under the new Clean Air Act.

 Phillip Ross discussed the history and current status of efforts to create a Center for Environmental Statistics. He empha-
 sized the political and organizational factors affecting the establishment of such a Center. For example, he noted that there
 are at least 11 existing Federal agencies that have centers that distribute statistics to the public. In each case, these centers
 are somehow independent — usually authorized by legislation — of their parent agency. In order for EPA to have a
 credible center, he said, it too must have a certain degree of autonomy. He suggested that creating such a center might
 become more feasible when EPA is elevated to a cabinet department. The need for a center has become more clear in the
 past few years, as the U.S. has been unable to answer a host of queries about the state of the environment, including
 queries by the United Nations. Because of these difficulties, and the fact that EPA spends approximately $500 million
 annually on data collection and monitoring, Ross described EPA as "data rich, information poor." His view of the center's
 mission includes:

 •   Providing integrated data to help public and government officials make better decisions;
 •   Publishing regular reports on the state of the environment;
 •   Addressing environmental conditions and trends nationally and for specific geographic areas; and
 •   Adding value to existing environmental data.

 Ross also noted that in order to be successful in this endeavor, EPA will have to establish better working relationships
 with at least six other Federal agencies who also collect environmental data.

 Steven Hubbel, was the next speaker. Hubbel is President of the Committee for the National Institutes for the Environment
 (CNIE). Hubbel characterized the potential EPA-NIE relationship as a parallel to the relationship between the Public
 Health Service and NIH. Hubbel said the momentum for creating NIE has been growing steadily in the past year. At this
 point, he said there was substantial support in Congress for legislation to create it. He also said their is support for NIE at
 EPA, including Bill Reilly, Hank Habicht, and Erich Bretthauer. He presented a proposed organizational chart for NIE
 and discussed its mission. This organization included a center for environmental statistics, as discussed by Phillip Ross.
 Hubbel emphasized the need for an independent agency to emphasize environmental research and education, to take a
 holistic approach to analyzing major  environmental problems, and to contribute to a broader understanding of the
Phillip Ross:            "EPA is data rich and information poor."
Risk Reduction
Risk Reduction Success Stones

Moderator:      Jim Giattina, Deputy Director, Great Lakes National Program Office, Region V, U.S. EPA
               J. Trevor Clements, Assistant Water Quality Section Chief for Technical Support,
               Department of Environment, Health and Natural Resources, State of North Carolina
               Paul L. Hill, President, National Institute of Chemical Studies


                                        <»  NEIC Proceedings   *?*
Jim Giaitina described the Great Lakes Basin Risk Characterization Study, which is being conducted within the following

•  Identification of immediate actions which can be taken to reduce risk;
•  Based on county-level data within the Great Lakes Basin;
•  Priorities within EPA programs include point and non-point sources of pollution, and atmospheric deposition; and
•  Unique issues for the Great Lakes include the environmental impacts of the introduction (both purposeful and
    inadvertent) of exotic species, and long-term changes in the levels of the lakes.
Investigations at the start of the study indicated that much necessary data was not available, which was expected. There is
however, a need for better collection activities, more focus on environmental monitoring activities, and systematic data
management processes.

Preliminary findings of the Study include:

•  Biggest problems (human and ecological) centered around urban centers;
•  Major ecological risks are:
    Q   Persistent toxic contaminants,
    Q   Non-point source loadings,
    Q   Toxic sediments,
    Q   Industrial and municipal water discharges,
    Q   Spills and other accidental releases play a major role, and
    Q   Exotic species have major ecological impacts;
•  Human health risks:
    Q   Consumption of sport fish,
    Q   Industrial and municipal point source discharges,
    Q   Non-point sources,
    Q   Atmospheric deposition and toxic sediments, and
    Q   Potential spills and other accidental releases.
Study recommendations include:

    Design lakewide management planning processes with clear objectives;
    Focus management actions on priority geographic areas of high risk;
    Integrate efforts (within EPA, across federal, state and provincial agencies) to reduce ecological risk in wetlands and
    other critical habitats;
    Coordinate efforts to reduce human health risks,  including the development of risk-based fish advisories;
    Develop environmental health indicators; and
    Establish long-term environmental monitoring systems with priority for major data gaps.
/. Trevor Clements spoke about North Carolina's Basinwide Planning Initiative which focuses on North Carolina's state
water quality monitoring and management activities in a single water basin. The initiative incorporates ecological prin-
ciples into water quality management and involves the preparation of a basinwide water quality plan.

The objectives of the North Carolina water basin planning program are:

•  Evaluate the interactions among contaminants and sources;
•  Assess the contributions from non-point source and the interactions between non-point source and point sources of
•  Determine the optimal distribution of assimilative capacity of the watersheds and the state's water quality manage-
    ment efforts; and
•  Communicate the water quality management plans to the public.


                                            NEIC Proceedings  <»
North Carolina is pushing the basinwide planning initiative because many local officials recognize difficulties are inter-
related throughout the watersheds. Water quality staff has been pushing the basinwide plans because they are tired of
fire-fighting and "basin-hopping" in monitoring, modeling, and permit issuance. In addition, the technology now exists
with powerful micro-computers and software such as relational database managers and geographic information systems,
to be able to manage the quantity of data needed to understand basinwide functions. Finally — or first — the concept has
the support of upper management.

Some of the features of the basinwide planning process include:

    It organizes the NPDES permitting schedule;
    It sets priorities for special studies, modeling exercises;
    It permits the inclusion of NFS controls as they become available;
    It rationalizes and centralizes data management; and
    It consolidates Clean Water Act results by basin.

Paul Hill described  the successful experience of the National Institute of Chemical Studies (NICS) in addressing public
concerns about the manufacture of methyl isocyanate (the chemical responsible for the Bhopal  disaster) in the Kanawha
Valley of West Virginia. The public wanted  to know: could the same thing could happen in West Virginia? what were the
levels of operational discharges to  the atmosphere in the Valley? were there any risks associated with these routine
practices? and was the State being  successful in reducing emissions?

NICS found that TRI and the Community Right-to-Know provide a lot of information on chemical emissions from the
twelve facilities which produce or use methyl isocyanate in the region. A State government committee discussed the
public concerns and associated issues with the chemical industries. They also discussed possibilities for reducing risk. The
State can now monitor the levels of these emissions through TRI by carcinogenic agents, by year, by industry and by
media of release.

Taking this information , the State plotted the available TRI data for 1987 to 1990. This information empowered the State
to identify priority  problems and to develop potential solutions with the relevant industries. The program has resulted in
significant reductions or the elimination of specific chemicals from the emissions streams throughout the Valley.

Cross-Media Issues
Case Studies and Success Stories

Moderator:      David Briggs, Head, Department of Geographical and  Environmental Sciences,
               Huddersfteld Polytechnic University, United Kingdom
               Robert Hampston, Director of the Division of Construction Management,
               Department of Environmental Conservation, State of New York

               Ed Cole, Assistant Commissioner for Administration,  Department of Environment and Conservation,
               State of Tennessee
               Robert W. Marx, Chief, Geography Division, Bureau of the Census, U.S. Department  of the Census
David Briggs began  the panel with a brief description and progress report on the newly organizing European Environment
Agency. The Agency has not yet been formally established because of a French dispute over its location. Agency opera-
tions, however, have already begun, including the process of collecting common environmental information for the
thirteen member nations. The Agency needs to prioritize the target issues , and is currently in the process of consulting
with the experts in the member nations for the long list of major environmental problems. Subsequent consultations and
meetings will be used to assign priorities to  these issues (asked 100 environmentalists what the most compelling target
issue should be—he received 142 different target issues).

Robert Hampston spoke about  the experience of the NY Department of Environmental Conservation in developing a
system to track the  statewide permit process. The Division of Construction Management purchased standard hardware
and installed it in all permitting offices. The program threatened to fragment as each program wanted their own indi-
vidual systems. The Department decided to draw up a data model for the whole Agency defining the Agency's interests.
The system maintains the definition of each data element with multiple levels of data definition. For example, term


                                        <*  NEIC Proceedings   <*
"public" is defined in the system; however, when individual programs access the system, "public" appears in their own
terminology (e.g., permitter, violator). In addition, a system manager group was formed to deal with data quality. "Infor-
mation managers provide a framework for cross-media sharing and cooperation."

Ed Cole said, "We know sharing information is important, but we need to ensure adequate administrative support no
matter how committed information staff is." Three key ingredients are required for successful information exchange:

•  Agency-wide strategic planning (rationale for cross-media initiatives);
•  Involvement of single-media management and appropriate groups (e.g., Department of Interior);
•  Strategic planning must guide information systems planning; and
•  "Need a Ready, Aim, Fire approach."

The ingredients required to keep the "Administrative Horse" before the "Information Cart":

•  Function-driven organizational structure — look at Agency goals, federal responsibilities;
•  Develop a process of strategic planning — empower the organization in the planning process; and
•  Translate goals into the information systems area — developed a senior Management Advisory Committee to inter-
    face with systems group and assist in prioritizing and implementing systems.

Robert Marx summarized the background and current status of the TIGER system. He began by saying that the success of
the Census rests on collecting data and on linking data to geographic areas. The Census Bureau, in a cooperative agree-
ment with USGS, developed the Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing (TIGER) System. TIGER
provides the means to assign each housing unit, business establishment, and farm to the correct geographic location (e.g.,
a city block) and classifies each location into numerous tabulation areas used in a particular census. Given this capability,
"The possibilities for data analysis are endless." Census is now able to distribute the updated TIGER files (i.e., revised
based on corrections produced by the 1990 Census takers), for any part of the United States. Many private firms, includ-
ing ETAK, and GDT sell "enhanced TIGER" files which provide additional mapping information or increased resolution.
For many purposes, TIGER is now the default digital map of the United States.

David Briggs            "One hundred European environmentalists named their priorities for the European Environmental
                       Agency: they came up with 142 issues."
Environmental Program Planning
Supporting Senior Decision Makers in Environmental Planning

Moderator:      John Larkin, Director, Information Services, Virginia State Water Control Board
               Dennis Kirk, Manager of Information Systems, Department of Environmental Quality, State of Oregon
               Thomas Donovan, Director, Division of Management Planning and Information Systems Development,
               Department of Environmental Conservation, State of New York

Dennis Kirk presented a video and described the geographic information system (GIS) which supports the Oregon Clean
Water Strategy. The GIS — which was subsidized by U.S. EPA's OIRM — provides a decision-support tool for planning
and program assessment functions of the Governor's Watershed Enhancement Board. It permits all of the State, local, and
federal agencies which have a role in managing surface waters in the State to understand how their individual responsi-
bilities affect the resource and other agencies. In addition, the GIS itself was established to combine a wide range of .
resource and pollutant information to arrive at priorities for the management of specific sections of state rivers. Kirk
suggested that the cost of converting the data and building the ARC/INFO applications might not be cost-effective for the
average State, although it was pointed out that the software is available at the cost of reproduction from the GIS Section of

Tom Donovan described the issues affecting New York State's design of decision support systems for the Department of
Environmental Control, including a special set of participants, decisions, and information needs. In some agency organi-
zations executive  information systems have been created to collect and deliver to top management the information they
need. Based on its experience, New York has established criteria for executive decision support systems, which include:


                                        *  NEIC Proceedings  *
•  "Technology can't operate in a vacuum;"
•  "As technology gets easier, there is an increased demand for good data"

Modeling and simulation are among the most important applications of GIS technology. In order to solve today's envi-
ronmental problems, more than data must be integrated:

•  Systems;
•  Ways of thinking; and
•  Ways of looking at the world.

To accomplish these higher orders of integration will take imagination, leadership and courage.
Jack Dangermond:       "As technology gets easier, there is an increased demand for good data."
Supercomputing for Environmental Applications

Moderator:      Steve Businger, Assistant Professor, Department of Marine Earth and Atmospheric Science,
               North Carolina State University

               Kim Mills, Northeast Parallel Architecture Center, Syracuse University

Steve Businger described traditional supercomputing applications. Supercomputing resources will become indispensable
as EPA and other environmental agencies focus more attention on environmental monitoring of long-term ecological
trends. In addition, supercomputing can have a direct impact on key environmental research activities. Supercomputing
resources as data servers will increase access to and understanding of complex ecological systems. EPA is known to be
planning for the development of two new super computing facilities.

Kim Mills explained how parallel computing technologies, using relatively simple processors, can be applied to many
different types of complex models of environmental and ecological processes. Research is advancing rapidly to properly
characterize the nature of the problems which can be most effectively dealt with by parallel processing and neural net-
works. Although many classes of mathematical problems cannot be addressed by parallel processing, the search for those
problems which can be solved with parallel processing is worthwhile because of the low cost of hardware components.

Environmental Program Planning
Strategic Planning for Environmental Information Systems

Moderator:      Jack W, McGraw, Deputy Regional Administrator, Region VIII, U.S. EPA
               Wayne Mooneyhan, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

               Loretta Marzetti, Director, Communications, Analysis and Budget Division, Office of Solid Waste, U.S. EPA
               Karen Armstrong-Cummings, Director, Center for the Environment, Council of State Governments, Lexington,

This panel, introduced and chaired by Jack McGraw, displayed remarkably consistent conclusions, based on experiences
that ranged from the decades-long development efforts of the UNEP-sponsored GRID program, to the Fall-of-1991 survey
of State environment information users by the Council of State Governments. Responsibility for environmental programs
is increasingly shared among Federal, State, Indian tribal and local government agencies, and there are a great many new
international treaties dealing with mutual environmental obligations.  Accordingly, the information management strate-
gies that support these programs must integrate and balance the needs and concerns of agencies at all levels.

Wayne Mooneyhan began the presentations by describing the growth of the UNEP GRID system from its beginnings in
1972, with 24 governments, to the current system, to which 165 countries have pledged some level of support (this is
larger than the United Nations membership). Mooneyhan's presentation concentrated on the most important lessons


                                       *   NEIC Proceedings  *
which he felt the GRID experience had for information resources managers of large environmental organizations. These
lessons included:

•   Don't underestimate the speed and growth of technology. When GRID began in 1972, nothing it is now doing on an
    operational basis could have been foreseen, given the technology then in use;
    Assure that participants fully understand the metrics supported by the system;
    Invest in the most rigorous editing and error correction systems possible;
    Pay the costs of maintaining long-term monitoring systems with downward compatible data — even if succeeding
    technologies offer greater resolution or other advantages;
    Invest in good quality storage media and backup information religiously; maintain off-site storage;
    Avoid creating data orphans. Be sure to convert all archived data to new storage technologies, as these are brought
    on-line; and
•   Plan for disasters — they will happen.

Finally, Mooneyhan stressed that goals are constantly evolving and systems must have the capacity to grow and change
to meet these changing goals. A shared knowledge base must: (1) include information useful to all levels of users; (2) be
based on common definitions; and (3) have the flexibility to add elements after the initial design.

Loretta Marzetti described and compared the Office of Solid Waste's experience with the development of the  RCRIS
(Resource Conservation and Recovery Information System) System (from 1986 to 1991), and the Biennial Reporting
System (BRS), which was designed and developed in seven months. Based on her more recent and intensive experience
with the BRS, Marzetti stressed the importance of using the planning process to set very specific tasks, deadlines and
milestones, and then to track the implementation of these steps very closely.  A second recommendation is to identify the
roles and interests of the major actors in a given system from the outset, and  to plan carefully for their involvement in  all
relevant aspects of planning and implementing the proposed system. In the case of the BRS, it was important to be clear
about, and to schedule specific opportunities for the involvement of EPA headquarters, EPA Regional, and state officials.
Failure to build these consultations into the project workplan could result in  substantial delays or even termination of  the

Karen Armstrong-Cummings reported on the Council of State Governments (CSG) survey of geographic information
system applications  in state governments, which found states using 24 different software systems to build GIS applica-
tions. CSG feels that this proliferation of systems will lead to future problems for the exchange of data and information
among States and between the States and federal offices.

Introductory Primers

Opportunities and Issues for International Environmental Data Sharing

Daiva Balkus, Director, Information Management and Services Division, OIRM, U.S. EPA

Linda Spencer, International Data Sharing Program, Information Sharing Branch, Information Management and Services Division,

Andrew Battin,  International Data Sharing Program, Information Sharing Branch,  Information Management and Services Division,

Rachel Van Wingen, International Data Sharing, Information Management and Services Division, OIRM, U.S. EPA

This primer session was directed to OIRM involvement in international data  sharing activities. Other offices, including
especially the office of International Activities, the Office of Policy, Planning  and Evaluation, and the Office of Water have
other programmatic links with various international programs and institutions. Data sharing and information exchange
across political boundaries can be used to break down barriers to resolving international environmental problems.

Linda Spencer described the EPA history and current relations with INFOTERRA, the United Nations Environment
Programme's system which provides an international directory of sources of environmental information. EPA first began
working with INFOTERRA in 1972, when there were only 24 other nations identified as national focal points in the
system. There are now 140 national focal points, plus 28 additional special sectoral sources of information (e.g. the U.S.
Agency for International Development in Washington) enrolled. A major new facility being offered by INFOTERRA —


                                            NEIC Proceedings
with technical and telecommunications assistance from the EPA National Data Processing Division in RTP — is an
electronic mail system to which 45 national focal points have already been enrolled. In addition to INFOTERRA itself,
EPA is also establishing companion relationships with a number of national and regional environmental information
centers, such as South Africa, INFOLAC for Latin America and the Caribbean, and the new EPA-supported initiative at
the Caribbean Regional Service Center in Puerto Rico.

Andy Battin explained the EPA involvement in and support of the International Registry of Potentially Toxic Chemicals
(IRPTC) and the Wider Caribbean Initiative. The Registry itself is actually a series of different databases, only some of
which are fully operational. The most complete of the IRPTC facilities is the registry of chemicals. Following on agree-
ments reached at the London Convention on the exchange of information on potentially hazardous substances, there is a
major effort being made to update and expand the IRPTC directory of national laws and regulations for the control of
toxic chemicals. In the Caribbean, EPA is working in a public-private partnership with the Caribbean Institute for Sustain-
able Development to established the information resources management arm of the Institute, including the establishment
of an information center, projects for the information exchange and technical cooperation, local and regional capacity
building, and the establishment of a GIS capability for the region.

Rachel Van VJingen spoke about the OIRM assistance and support to the Regional Environmental Center for Central and
Eastern Europe, a non-profit group based in Budapest. Participating countries include Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia,
Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, other Balkan countries, and formerly Yugoslavia. The Center supports environmental initia-
tives and studies developed by non-governmental organizations throughout the region. Through the activities of the
Center, EPA has also assisted in setting up a series of "twinning" arrangements, uniting environmental NGOs in coun-
tries of eastern and western Europe. OIRM's priority for future assistance to Eastern Europe is  concentrated on develop-
ing improved digital communication links with NGOs and national government agencies.

Unfinished Business and Reducing Risk
Donald G. Barnes, Staff Director, Science Advisory Board, U.S. EPA

Lee Thomas asked his senior management to come up with a consensus regarding the major problems EPA was facing. In
order to obtain an accurate view, Thomas agreed that he would not undertake any action as a result of the report. In 1988,
the report Unfinished Business was written. Lee Thomas did not take any action on the report, but when he left EPA, he left
a copy of the report in the center of his desk as a present and a recommendation to his successor, William Reilly.

The Science Advisory Board (SAB) reviewed Unfinished Business in order to evaluate health and environmental risks and
to provide options to strategies to reduce environmental and health risks. The SAB findings, as reported in Reducing Risk,
    Unfinished Business was an important document;
    There are many problems with EPA's ranking of risks, many of which stem from the problem definitions, which tend
    to be based on EPA's program categories (and legislative authorities), rather than scientifically defensible problem
    EPA has lost the ability to value natural ecosystems;
    Tools to evaluate risk — especially over time and space — are not well developed and their results are not readily
    accepted by either the public or poliocy managers;
    Policy needs to reflect the difference between risk and choice;
    Differences between the public and the scientific community on risk creates policy management problesm; and
    Major risks include:
High Risk
Habitat alteration
Species extinction
Ozone depletion
Global climate change
Medium Risk
Agricultural chemicals
nutrients in water

Low Risk
Oil Spills


                                       *»*  NEIC Proceedings  <*
•   SAB's identification of strategic options:
    G  Scientific and technical research,
    G  Public information sharing (e.g., Toxics Release Inventory),
    G  Pollution control through market mechanisms (e.g. Clean Air Act Amendments),
    G  Maintain conventional regulations',
    Q  Maintain vigorous enforcement, and
    G  Need to increase cooperation with other agencies and nations.
•   Recommendations of the SAB in Reducing Risk:
    G  Target risk reduction opportunities,
    G  Make ecological issues more important,
    Q  Improve the EPA's science methods,
    G  Use risk-based strategic planning,
    G  Use risk-based budgeting,
    G  Use the full range of research planning and management tools,
    G  Emphasize pollution prevention,
    G  Integrate environmental issues into the range of national policy issues,
    Q  Improve public understanding and professional training in risk assessment and risk communication, and
    G  Improve methods of economic analysis.

The State/EPA Data Management Program
Michele Zenon, Chief, Information Sharing Branch, Information Management and Services Division, OIRM, U.S. EPA

Michele Zenon s primer on the State/EPA Data Management Program (SEDM) was subtitled, "Environmental Stewardship
for a Sustainable Future." The vision which animates SEDM and other EPA programs includes: the Nation moving
toward increased protection for health and natural systems; an informed public making choices for industrial and eco-
nomic development; and an ethic of conservation and protection of the country's natural resources. SEDM was estab-
lished in 1987 and 1988 to promote improved State-EPA relations and specifically to improve the consistency of environ-
mental data used by States and the EPA Program Offices.

The backbone of the early phase of SEDM was the provision of high speed data communication lines and protocols
linking State environmental agencies and EPA's National Computer Center in Research Triangle Park, NC. As this phase
was being completed, in November, 1990, the program organized a symposium at Harvard University to discuss future
needs for improved  data sharing and information utilization for environmental protection. Principal recommendations
from the Harvard symposium included:

    SEDM needs to increase communication and "marketing" of the Program concept;
    SEDM should sponsor joint development of information systems and applications between EPA Program Offices and
    the States;
    SEDM should invest in the development of new information management tools and infrastructure usable by States;
    SEDM should promote improved understanding of the concepts of data stewardship; and
    SEDM should support increased use of data for cross-program analyses.
Following on the Harvard symposium, SEDM program staff interviewed over 120 people in all EPA Regional offices,
every State SEDM coordinator, OIRM, OPPE, and regulatory program offices in Washington, and the National Data
Processing Division in RTF. The purpose of these interviews was to get a broad perspective on SEDM strengths and
recommendations from people who have worked at every level of the program. The results of this assessment included
the following major points:

•  SEDM 's role needs to be better defined;
•  State participation in SEDM initiatives  is constrained by resources, which are at all time lows;
•  Coordination and communication are continuing to improve;


                                            NEIC Proceedings  <$»
•   In order to increase data sharing, there is a need for new investments to increase standards, compatibility and connec-
•   SEDM needs to seek opportunities for joint projects with States and federal agencies or EPA Program Offices to
    leverage limited resources; and
•   States see a number of specific needs for increased information exchange and technology transfer.
Taking the results of the Harvard program and the extensive interviews in the Assessment, SEDM is prepared to begin
working with the SEDM community to define a new SEDM strategy. The dimensions of this strategy are not entirely
clear, but there have been a number of recommendations for various roles for the Program. These roles (which have not
been adopted, but which illustrate the range of expectations the Program faces) include:
•   Ombudsman and advocate for the States;
•   Bridge for communication across federal-region-state lines and cross-programs;
•   Catalyst for innovations in environmental information resources management; and
•   Investor in high leverage projects with multiple clients and adaptation possibilities.
SEDM development is a continuous process which will be advanced by the National Environmental Information Confer-
An Overview of EPA's Systems —
Using Environmental Data Access Across Programs and Media
Rick Martin, Deputy Director, Program Systems Division, OIRM, U.S. EPA
EPA is a major player in information systems and applications. For example, over the past eight years, EPA's OIRM has
invested more than $30 million in the design and implementation of environmental information systems. As another
example, EPA is the largest consumer of Federal geographical data.
Among the major programs are:
                                                                                           Cost in
                   Program or System                                                thousands $
                   ODES - Ocean Data Evaluation System                                            55°
                   PCS - Permit Compliance System                                                2,500
                   RCRIS - Resource Recovery and Recovery Information System                        4,000
                   STORE! - Storage and Retrieval of Water Information                                 550
                   TRIS - Toxics Release Inventory System                                          5,200
                   AIRS - Aerometnc Retrieval System                                              7,000
                   CARD - CLP Analytical Results and Quality Assurance                               1,200
                   CERCLIS - Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and                5,600
                   Liability Inventory System
                   FINDS - Facility Index System                                                   2,000
                   FRDS - Federal Reporting Data System                                           1,400
                   GRIDS - Geographic Resource Information and Data System                            25
                   GIGS - Grants Information and Control System                                      525
                   TOTAL                                                                $ 30,550

                                       *>   NEIC Proceedings  *>
EPA has eight initiatives to increase the ease of data sharing. They are:

•   Integrated Data for Enforcement Analysis (IDEA);

•   Groundwater Minimum Data Set;

•   The Toxics Release Inventory (TRI);

•   The Center for Environmental Statistics;

•   Regional Risk Initiatives;

•   Water Systems Modernization;

•   Integrated Administrative Systems; and

•   Envirof acts/Gateway

In response to questions about the role of OIRM in providing Geographic Information Systems support, Martin sketched
the following diagram of the compilation of geographic data for EPA applications:

                                     Geographic Data Life Cycle
                               and Operations
Federal Production
of New Geographic
                              Delivery for Use in
                              Desktop Applications
  Acquire through
  Brokered Leases
                                                 Conversion into
                         [Most Expensive Steps in bold]

                                            NEIC Proceedings
What Did We Learn?

The learning organization concept provides a powerful new paradigm for organizing our environmental protection
efforts in the nineties. This model has special significance for information resource management activities, as discussed in
most of the conference sessions. In his introductory comments at the Conference, co-host Al Pesachowitz said the goal of
the conference was "to discuss protection of our environment and how information can help us achieve this goal."
Pesachowitz advocated the pursuit of more active problem solving ("ready, fire, aim") techniques for advancing the
learning organization — an exhortation which was enthusiastically taken up by the Conference participants.

Broadening the Environmental Organization
As Marvin Cetron said, "At this time in human history, we're all environmentalists when we're born." As  a fundamental
premise, environmental information management needs to assume that more participation is better than less, and that
eventually more people will have to be brought under the tent than are left outside.

Everything we've learned in this conference confirms the belief that from the international to the tribal level, all environ-
mental organizations are going to become more open, more accessible and more likely to cooperate with other groups.
Information systems can help or hinder this process. Helping is better.

All of the evaluative comments submitted after the Conference reinforced the message of the need to broaden our vision
— including our vision of the environmental information community. The strongest recommendations were to expand
future conferences in terms of the participation of senior staff and managers of EPA and State program offices, State
agencies in general and foreign and international representatives.

Widely Shared Environmental Goals
Environmental protection is moving from enforcing a limited number of specific permits for a few toxic chemicals, to
orchestrating a wide variety of changes in life style in order to maintain or attain given levels of environmental quality.
The guiding principles of this new approach are based on our still-emerging understanding of ecological systems.

As the technical issues have become more complex, paradoxically, the goal setting process has become more diffuse and
generalized.  Swimmable rivers, edible fish and sustainable harvests are concepts which may be hard to specify scientifi-
cally, but the underlying concepts are readily understandable to (and shared by) almost everyone.

Information resource managers in the learning environmental organization  increasingly face the problem of designing
systems which not only provide data, but make it comprehensible in terms of generalized goals.

Accessible  Environmental  Knowledge
There is a three-level hierarchy which links data to knowledge:

(1)  Data are individual points or numbers;
(2)  Information is data after it has been processed; and
(3)  Knowledge is information plus tools to make it understandable to users.
The learning environmental organization provides data,  information and knowledge to users, who (as we  have seen
above) are changing, and who represent ever broader interests and constituencies. Information resource managers, who
previously had been concerned about the vertical integration and organization of data for particular enforcement pro-
grams, are now responsible for the quality of understanding produced by their systems. [This is a unique reversal of
circumstance, comparable to the revolution which is occurring in American  education, based on the determination that
teachers should be held accountable for the performance of their pupils.] Furthermore, users are now seeking knowledge
by combining information from several sources.

From our new understanding of the challenges of the learning organization  it is now clear that in itself, public access is
not the major issue in expanding access to environmental knowledge. By limiting access in the past, we were only hiding
information from ourselves. By making knowledge more available to others, we reveal more to ourselves.

                                       «fr  NEIC Proceedings *>
Cooperative Planning Approaches
Environmental information resource managers tend to think of information flows in relation to databases:

•   Collect data;
•   Process the data into an information system;
•   Assemble the information into reports; and
•   Ship the information reports out.
The learning environmental organization insists the knowledge system loops are much larger and more complex, with
greatly increased responsibilities for information managers. To use an image presented by Chris Argyris (the inventor of
the learning organization concept), the learning organization must practice "double loop" learning — it must use the
information at its disposal both to achieve its goals in the most efficient manner, and to choose the wisest goals.

Knowledge is used for planning: to set goals and to measure the attainment of progress toward those goals. With more
broadly defined users, more generalized goals, and a much higher level of data integration and display, knowledge is
used to coordinate and integrate the efforts of a much broader band of actors than in the past.

Environmental information resource managers need to expand both the technology at their direction — to become more
efficient at the assessment process— and the vision which informs that technology — to become wiser in prescribing new
goals and approaches.

Adaptive Organizational Structures
The environmental movement is perhaps second only to information  resource management in having experienced the
effect of accelerating change on organizational structure. Twenty years ago, EPA was born. In less than a generation the
United States and the world have undergone a series of profound changes in our understanding and planning of environ-
mental protection and sustainable development.

Information resource managers are coming to understand that the webs of the organizational communications and
reporting system which they manage are perhaps  the most durable elements of organizational structure. Through their
durability these communication strands can provide continuity and necessary historical perspective; but the other side of
the coin is that inflexible communication and reporting systems can retard or stifle necessary change.

Periods of rapid change are full of strife and challenge. As information resource managers face the complexities of the
future, it is worth speculating if we should consider a new model for  our own function. In our memory, our functions
have moved from being called "data processing" to "information systems," to "information resource management." To
reflect the realities of the new dimensions of environmental organization, access to knowledge systems, ecological goals,
and integrated, cooperative planning, we should think about redefining our role as environmental knowledge managers.
                                       U.S. Environmental Protection Azency
                                       Region 5, Library  (PL-12J)
                                       77 West Jackson  Boulevard, 12th Floor
                                       Chicago, IL  60604-3590

                                        NEIC Proceedings
Thanks for the Conference

First of all, we repeat our thanks to all those who presented papers and discussions in the various panels and demonstra-
tion sessions. Without them there would have been no Conference. With them we found truth and wisdom.

Thanks Especially for the Extra Efforts of:
              OIRM Headquarters:
              Phil Flewallen
              Gordon Schisler
              Paul Wohlleben
Pat Garvey
Kelly Sinclair
Monica Lawson
Karen Swann
              Dave Bittenbender
              Earl Page
              Sue Ward
Steve Buchanan
Milton Rush
Jane Wickett
Don Fulford
Jim Von St. Paul
              Region III:
              Wendy Bartel
              Anna Butch
              Laura DiCriscio
              Joe Hamilton
              Mick Kulick
              Ken Mark
              Alexandra Rajkowski
              Lorraine Urbiet
              Sherry Rexroad

              Temple University:
Ray Benson
Karen Bowen
Bill Dixon
Marlyn Harris
John Krakowiak
Ike Minson
Joe Smith
Gerry Volk
Mindy Rosenzweig
Barbara Brown
Francesca DiCosmo
Geoff Fala
Joe Jackson
Helen McCue
Marie Owens
Lillian Smith
Kim Woodall
              Fred Higgins
              Anne Townsell
Dawn Hamrick
Rob Mason
              Session Coordinators:
              Joe Anderson
              Janet Behl
              Art Cullati
              Steve Hufford
              Rick Martin
              Sharon Payne
              Rachel Van Wingen
              Michele Zenon
Daiva Balkus
Jeff Booth
Roy Denmark
Rich Kampf
Bill Matuszeski
Brigid Rapp
Margarette Walton
Don Barnes
Jerry Carrillo
Tommy Dewald
Ed Kratz
Alvin R. Morris
Walter Shackelford
Irv Weiss
              Session Conveners:
              Joe Anderson
              Kate Biggs
              Jon Capacasa
              Howard Howell
              Phil Lindenstruth
              Bill Matuszeski
              Randy Pomponio
              Rachel Van Wingen
              Elaine Wright

              Luiz Panzoldo
        Printed on recycled paper.
Daiva Balkus
Jeff Booth
David M. (Micky) Cline
Steve Hufford
Tom Mace
Alvin R. Morris
Brigid Rapp
Margarette Walton
Michele Zenon
Chuck Tobin
Janet Behl
Jeffrey W. Byron
Tommy Dewald
Stanley L. Laskowski
Rick Martin
Orlando Plater
Walter Shackelford
Paul Wohlleben