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Environment

Environment Subject Guide

General Sources | Data Sources | Selected Topics | Listservs | EPA Documents | Organizations | Laws/Regs/Decisions

General Environmental Reference Sources/Catalogs/Directories

These links point to websites that are good starting points for general research. Included in this section are catalog sites (organized by topic), all-in-one search sites, directories, and basic reference tools.

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Data Sources/Query Forms

Here are links to the most requested environmental data. Often, more than one site provides links to the same data. In such cases, I have linked to the sites that have the easiest interfaces. There are a number of websites that let you search for hazardous sites, then generate a map that shows poverty levels, minority populations, schools, etc. in the surrounding area.

  • Envirofacts
    https://www3.epa.gov/enviro/ 
    A single point of access to select US EPA environmental data. Data coverage includes Superfund data, Safe Drinking Water Info, Hazardous Waste Data, Toxics Release Inventory, Water Discharge Permits, Air Releases and Grants Information.

  • CERCLIS (Superfund) Hazardous Waste Sites
    http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/cursites/index.htm
    Locate Superfund hazardous waste sites by state, county or city. 

  • AIRData (EPA) Air Pollution Data
    https://www3.epa.gov/airdata/ 
    AIRData gives you access to air pollution data for the entire United States. Want to know the highest ozone level measured in your state last year? Ever wonder where air pollution monitoring sites are located? Are there sources of air pollution in your town? This is the place to find out! AIRData creates custom reports using criteria that you specify, displays standard maps of the United States, and provides names of people to contact.

  • Maps on Demand
    http://www.epa.gov/emefdata/em4ef.home

    These web-based mapping applications generate maps that display environmental information for the entire United States. MOD accesses data available through the Envirofacts Warehouse.

  • Superfund Query Form
    http://www.epa.gov/enviro/html/cerclis/cerclis_query.html

    The Superfund Query Form allows you to retrieve data from the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Information System (CERCLIS) database in Envirofacts. Specify a facility by using any combination of facility name and geographic location. You may also select an output option.

  • National Priorities List (NPL) Site Reports (Superfund Site Info)
    http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/npl/npl.htm

    This great Superfund Page offers 2-Page descriptions of every site on the NPL. Good information, including the date of addition to NPL.

  • Zip Code Search
    http://www.epa.gov/epahome/comm.htm

    One of the simpler EPA databases. Allows you to search for information by zip code. User chooses 1 of 4 databases. Data offered includes hazardous waste, environmental conditions/trends, maps, and watershed conditions.

  • Chemical Score Card
    http://www.scorecard.org/

    Another simple database that allows you to search by zip code. Created by the Environmental Defense Fund, this site neatly ties together EPA data, makes it easy to search, and presents it in a user-friendly, yet detailed and powerful format. A MUST SEE.

  • National Environmental Scorecard
    http://scorecard.lcv.org/

    The League of Conservation Voters has compiled this scorecard since 1970 and now it is available to you via the Internet. The Scorecard provides a score for all members of Congress based on their voting record on environmental legislation. You can search for legislators who represent you or those who represent your state, or view all Senators and Representatives. The Scorecard also allows you to search by various criteria such as gender, party affiliation and region or state a Congressman comes from.

  • RTK NET
    http://www.rtknet.org/

    RTK NET was started in 1989 in support of the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA), which mandated public access to the Toxic Release Inventory. It is operated by two nonprofit organizations--OMB Watch and The Unison Institute--and funded by various government agencies and foundations. Good general links, as well as excellent links to data sources.

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Selected Topical Sites

These links are to web pages that deal with broad but specific environmental topics such as solid waste, pollution prevention and air quality. They are good places to start if you know are researching a particular subject.

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Forums

Forums are a great way to stay current and have discussions with others who are interested in similar topics. They are invaluable for gathering information and networking with peers and experts.

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EPA Documents and Library Holdings: Searching and Ordering

The EPA generates an amazing amount of publicly available data and information. Many documents and reports are available from from NCEPI. Others are available free from EPA offices. In addition, EPA libraries all across the country will interlibrary loan materials to you. Use OLS (the EPA's online catalog) to search for materials.
 

  • NCEPI
    http://www.epa.gov/ncepihom/

    Environmental Protection Agency's National Center for Environmental Publications and Information. Provides over 5000 EPA publications available in hardcopy and multimedia product, free of charge. You can browse the National EPA Publications Catalog and order documents online.

  • NSCEP
    http://www.epa.gov/nscep/

    National Service Center for Environmental Publications: Search and order EPA documents.

  • Pollution Prevention Clearinghouse
    http://www.epa.gov/ppic/

    The Pollution Prevention Information Clearinghouse (PPIC) is a free, nonregulatory service of the US.  EPA dedicated to reducing or eliminating industrial pollutants through technology transfer, education, and public awareness

  • US EPA Online Library System (OLS)
    https://cfpub.epa.gov/ols/catalog/catalog_lookup.cfm
    OLS is a web-based library catalog for the libraries of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. You can search OLS for materials held in EPA Libraries. Once you have identified a document, you should search the NSCEP site to see if it is available free of charge. If NSCEP can't provide it, you can request the item through interlibrary loan.

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Environmental Organizations

Environmental organizations can also be a great source of information. These links don't always point to the best web pages, per se. But these organizations are at the forefront of environmental science and public policy.

  • Environmental Defense Fund
    http://www.edf.org

    EDF is dedicated to protecting the environmental rights of all people, including future generations. Among these rights are clean air, clean water, healthy, nourishing food, and a flourishing ecosystem. Website is good for current articles and information.

  • Environmental Hazards Management Institute
    http://www.ehmi.org

    EHMI is a global organization of environmental, health and safety experts with more than 110 locations in Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and South America. Together they total 2,400 professionally qualified staff. They have built their international team using a set of common principals: technical excellence, professional integrity and a commitment to providing quality service. They work with clients to create sound environmental, health and safety programs.

  • Environmental Working Group
    http://www.ewg.org

    The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a leading content provider for public interest groups and concerned citizens who are campaigning to protect the environment. Good links, with focus on law and policy.

  • Greenpeace
    http://www.greenpeace.org/

    Homepages for the Greenpeace organization. Good for current awareness, policy updates, current environmental campaigns.

  • Natural Resources Defense Council
    http://www.nrdc.org/

    Very slick site, with lots of good information.

  • The Nature Conservancy
    http://nature.org/
    The mission of Nature Conservancy is to preserve plants, animals and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive. The Nature Conservancy operates the largest private system of nature sanctuaries in the world--more than 1,500 preserves in the United States alone.

  • The Sierra Club
    http://www.sierraclub.org

    The Sierra Club is a non-profit, member-supported, public interest organization that promotes conservation of the natural environment by influencing public policy decisions: legislative, administrative, legal and electoral. Links to general news and an online version of Sierra Magazine.

  • World Resources Institute
    http://www.wri.org

    The World Resources Institute's mission is to move human society to live in ways that protect Earth's environment and its capacity to provide for the needs and aspirations of current and future generations. Because people are inspired by ideas, empowered by knowledge, and moved to change by greater understanding, WRI provides - and helps other institutions provide - objective information and practical proposals for policy and institutional change that will foster environmentally sound, socially equitable development.

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Government Regulations/Laws and Decisions

Links to government statutes and regulations, both current and proposed. There are also links to Environmental Appeals Board decisions, and the EPA docket which contains the records of all civil cases and EPA administrative actions. Records of Decision (RODS) are documents that summarize the condition of Superfund sites, and specify what the polluters need to do to clean the site up.

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