EDGI is an action-oriented research collaborative driven by the Environmental Right to Know (ERTK) – the belief that people should be able to know and make decisions about environmental conditions of concern, and that the collection and stewardship of environmental information should equip people, communities, and workers to protect their health and support the flourishing of surrounding ecosystems.
Forming in November 2016 to document and analyze changes to vulnerable federal environmental data and governance practices under the Trump administration, EDGI has grown into the preeminent watchdog tracking and assessing modifications to federal environmental information resources and their accessibility; a national leader in highlighting Trump’s impacts on environmental, data, and information policies and practices; and the forerunner in developing a new field of inquiry and critique: environmental data justice. Our work has garnered national and international media coverage, appearing in major outlets like The New York Times, The Guardian, The Washington Post, Time magazine, and CNN.
Today, this work is just as vital as ever. Glaring inadequacies persist in our federal environmental and information policies, leaving critical data vulnerable and inaccessible, environmental conditions unknown, and communities without the necessary resources for protecting their wellbeing and effecting change. Our environmental and public health outcomes depend on the strengthening of the ERTK and in turn environmental and information governance, and our work is dedicated to this fight.
Notable past and recent successes:
- We documented and sounded the alarm when the Trump administration removed climate change pages from federal websites.
- We documented the reduction in the term “climate change” across federal websites under Trump, finding an almost 40% decrease between 2016 and 2020.
- We documented the significant declines in the EPA’s enforcement of Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, and other federal environmental laws under Trump.
- Our open-source comparison software was integrated into the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine as the feature, “Changes”, allowing the public to see the differences between any two versions of the 525 billion webpages the Wayback Machine has stored.
- Our open letter to the EPA, imploring the agency not to sunset a public web archive with hundreds of thousands of environmental documents, resulted in the EPA announcing a year long extension.
- We co-created a searchable public repository of EPA disclosures obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, a collaboration with the Sierra Club, Toxic Docs, and other environmental groups.
- Recommendations we provided on the EPA’s ECHO database initiated the creation of a new system enabling the public to subscribe to permit violation notifications for areas of concern.
- A timely EDGI report brought attention to the EPA data gaps and disparities that undermine new and forthcoming environmental justice tools.
- Our Environmental Enforcement Watch notebooks have been used to help communities write more informed public comments, to generate “report cards” on enforcement and compliance for legislators’ districts, and in workshops with community members and journalists.
Read more about our work and current projects on our Working Groups' pages.