The federal environmental protection agency is sending money to Iowa to help its computerized record-keeping and the sharing of information between the states. EPA spokesman Dale Armstrong in Kansas City says Iowa’s far ahead of some other states in getting data online. He says Iowa’s already committed a lot of resources to data management and Internet reporting, so the state gets a “One-Stop” grant of a half million dollars to let it continue that work. Armstrong says it’s a huge process getting all the government and corporate reports in the same format and building the pipeline to get them all sent in to one database. He says 44 states, 17 tribes and a U-S territory are participating, and it takes time to build infrastructure and make sure all the software works together. Once the database is built, Armstrong says it won’t be just companies and governments who use it. He says it’d be a good source of data for people who want to know what kind of environmental issues exist where they live, and check the compliance of their local businesses. And having everyone use the same definitions, reporting forms and database will mean all the environmental info can be useful in spotting patterns. He says if you look at what kind of waste is getting into the air and water, it’s much easier to see where those problems are coming from. Armstrong says once other states follow Iowa’s lead, filing and retrieving clean-air and water information will be easy. A company can report on the Internet and all the other states and the E-P-A will get the information. Armstrong contrasts that to the beginning of the reporting systems, when evrything was on paper. He says at his office, there was a time when they all shared one computer — now, everyone has their own computer, and all share a single typewriter.
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