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Environmental Enforcement Watch’s Report Portal Project is Funded by ESIP Lab Grant

Above is an app still in development. The web portal is being developed by the Environmental Enforcement Watch to make reports and tools more accessible to environmental justice groups. It is visualized here for demo purposes only.

By Kelsey Breseman

Vital data about federal environmental enforcement actions against facilities that pollute the soil, air, and water is currently available but largely inaccessible in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO) database. EDGI’s Environmental Enforcement Watch project (EEW) helps environmental advocacy groups learn about federal environmental governance in the places they care about by providing and teaching accessible data science tools. EEW has, in partnership with communities, created reports on enforcement under COVID, by congressional district, by watershed, and by other meaningful geographies. Now, with a $10,000 grant from the Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP) Lab, we are working to create a portal for members of the public to access existing reports and to generate their own, on demand.

EEW’s Virtual Events grant from Code for Science & Society funded outreach to environmental justice groups across North America, including collaboration with GreenRoots to inform public comment on oil storage permits, an Open Hour to discuss challenges with environmental data, and a panel-based webinar highlighting the inaccessibility of environmental reporting data to Latinx communities. This network-building work allowed EEW to test the accessibility and the relevance of our data science report-making tools across a broad coalition of on-the-ground environmental advocates.

The ESIP Lab grant provides funding for hiring both a UX designer and a web developer, who will build on this work by identifying the primary needs of environmental advocacy groups for a compliance reporting tool and implement them in a web-based portal. In addition to consultation with our broad network of environmental groups, EEW will hold a workshop at the ESIP Summer Meeting on July 23rd to introduce the EEW project and receive input from the earth science information community on the design of the new tool.