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IRE Conference Blog
Online data and tools for environmental investigations
By Gwen Girsdansky
Lisa Song of InsideClimate News, Ingrid Lobet of the Houston Chronicle, David Sheppard of the San Antonio Express-News and Jim Morris of the Center for Public Integrity gave suggestions for online resources available for investigating environmental issues on Thursday at the IRE Conference.
Lobet mentioned a good tactic is thinking about what information you want and then working backward, because a database probably exists for that information. A few databases they suggested:
- EPA’s Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO). It provides information about violators of clean water, clean air and hazardous material. It is a good place to start to see who is a repeat offender.
- Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHSMA). This has information about pipeline incidents and accidents including things like time of spill, location and volume. Lisa Song mentioned that there are a few caveats including that the “time of spill” is often when they arrived on site, the pipeline names are often missing and these forms need to be updated when there is new information but only the most recent forms are available.
- CrudeMonitor.ca has monthly reports with chemical information about the different types of crude.
- SENSOR-Pesticides Database has information regarding pesticide-related illness surveillance.
Gwen Girsdansky is a journalism student at the University of Missouri