Abt Associates: Bold thinkers driving real-world impact
For Immediate Release
April 11, 2011
BETHESDA, MD— With the recent rollout of updated web tools to help the public assess their state’s performance in enforcing the Clean Water Act, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) "may have changed what the public can expect in the name of government transparency, in this case, how well state and EPA regulators run the programs that protect U.S. waters," said Andrew Stoeckle, vice president and principal associate at Abt Associates. Abt Associates supported EPA’s development and modification of these performance tools called ECHO or Enforcement and Compliance History Online.
"These tools make it supremely easy for the public to know which states are leaders and which are stragglers in administering the Clean Water Act," Stoeckle said.
The maps on the updated ECHO are easy to navigate and present key indicators of performance across all states. More detailed and graphically rich "state dashboards" show a wide range of measures and benchmarking information, such as inspection rates in the state versus the national goal of inspecting all large facilities at least once every two years. The new state performance tools can be found at http://www.epa-echo.gov/echo/ancr/us/.
The modified web tools utilize much of the same information – inspection, violations, enforcement actions, and penalties -- that EPA’s existing ECHO tools present for each of 800,000 regulated facilities in the U.S, but now it is in one place.
In January of this year, President Obama recognized ECHO (www.epa-echo.gov/echo) as one of two examples of federal governmental best practices vis-à-vis transparent regulatory oversight and effectiveness measurement and directed other federal regulatory agencies to follow suit.
"We should expect other federal agencies to follow EPA’s lead and the President’s direction to improve the power of visualization solutions in their communications with the public," Stoeckle said.
About Abt Associates
Abt Associates is a mission-driven, global leader in research and program implementation in the fields of health, social and environmental policy, and international development. Known for its rigorous approach to solving complex challenges, Abt Associates was ranked as one of the top 25 global research firms in 2010. The employee-owned company has multiple offices in the U. S. and program offices in nearly 40 countries. www.abtassociates.com
Abt Associates is a mission-driven, global leader in research, evaluation and program implementation in the fields of health, social and environmental policy, and international development. Known for its rigorous approach to solving complex challenges, Abt Associates is regularly ranked as one of the top 20 global research firms and one of the top 40 international development innovators. The company has multiple offices in the U.S. and program offices in more than 40 countries.