In March of this year EPA committed to giving the public wider access to the data collected under the Toxics Substance Control Act. This action was consistent with EPA Administrator Lisa P Jackson’s commitment to increase the public’s access to chemical information. According to Steve Ownes, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances “Increasing the public’s access to information on chemiclas is one of Administrator Jackson’s top priorities. The American people are entitled to easily accessible information on chemicals.”
Prior to March 2010 the consolidated public portion of the TSCA Inventory was only available for a fee. In March the public was given free access to the data on EPA’s website as well as on Data.gov. Data.gov is part of the Obama administration ongoing efforts at providing more public access to data collected and maintained by the Federal government.
On May 17, 2010 EPA announced that it would also add information on 6,300 chemicals and 3,800 chemical facilities to its Envirofacts database and website. Historic information will be added for another 2,500 facilities. Envirofacts is EPA’s single point of access on the Internet for information about environmental activities that may affect air, water and land in the U.S and provides tools for analyzing the data. It includes facility name and address information, aerial image of the facility and surrounding area, map location of the facility, and links to other EPA information on the facility, such as EPA’s inspection and compliance reports that are available through the Enforcement Compliance History Online (ECHO) database.
For more information see
Both sides in the controversy over whether global warming is real, or if real can be attributed to
An essay written in response to the continuing controversy was published in the May 7th edition of the journal Science was signed by 255 members of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, including 11 Nobel laureates?. The essay states very plainly the signatories continued belief that global warming is real, a significant threat to the planet and the direct result of human activity. The essay further chastises politicians who have used the recent developments to further their political causes and bolster their stand against climate change legislation. The full text of the essay can be found here. As several have noted it is virtually impossible to get 255 members of the US National Academy of Sciences to agree on anything.
However, the climate change detractors are quick to point out that they have a number of unfulfilled requests for data, records and information filed under the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA). Some of the requests, made to NASA are over two years old. The statute requires the material by within 20 days of the request. NASA has responded that the volume of data is overwhelming and they are doing their best to gather and supply it. What records they have turned over have been heavily redacted.
So after months the issue of the data supporting climate change remains somewhat murky. What is evident is that the scientist researching climate change need to be more transparent. The transparency is needed not just in response to increased volume of their critics. The lack of transparency raises suspicion that “they” are hiding something. It makes it even more difficult to pass the very legislation they themselves advocate. If there are gaps in the data and other anomalies then theories about what they mean should be given. Mistakes, if they have been made should be openly admitted. This discourse however, unpleasant for the scientist is part of the job. Further discussion on the need for transparency can be found here