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EPA National News: Environmental Information Exchange Network Grants Awarded
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Environmental Information Exchange Network Grants Awarded

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Suzanne Ackerman 202-564-7819 /

(Washington, D.C.-October 13, 2004) EPA announced the award today of 67 grants totaling more than $20 million to states, territories, and tribes for continued work on the nationwide Environmental Information Exchange Network. Thirty-two states, three U.S. territories, and 18 Native American tribes received grants under fiscal year 2004 funding. Electronic data exchange provides federal and state governments with more timely access to environmental data from diverse sources, leading to better informed environmental decisions.

When complete, the Exchange Network will transform the way states, tribes and other partners provide information to EPA. In the past, states and other partners had to resolve hardware or data incompatibility problems in order to transfer data. Now no data transfer will be necessary -- they will establish nodes, special computers that store their environmental data, and EPA will collect the data using a universal format software language, XML. Thirty-five states are expected to have operational nodes by the end of 2004.

"The Exchange Network exemplifies the benefits of collaboration -- different parties working together to create a better solution for all -- in this case, a national environmental computer network," said Mike Leavitt. "EPA needs timely environmental information to make informed policy decisions. The states and other partners require accurate data to monitor their progress toward cleaner water and air. And the American public is entitled to view the latest and best available data on their communities. By combining resources, all parties get what they need quicker and at less cost to the taxpayer."

The creation of the Exchange Network is also part of the E-Government Initiative of the President's Management Agenda, which mandates that the federal government take advantage of the power of information technology to make data more accessible to citizens and other interested parties. EPA anticipates that Congress will continue to fund the grant program for a fourth year in FY 2005.

The Exchange Network program includes three types of grants:
1. Readiness Grants are for developing the basic information management and technology capabilities needed to participate in the Exchange Network.

2. Implementation Grants help grantees develop Exchange Network connections, nodes, and data flows.

3. Challenge Grants fund collaborative projects that advance the Exchange Network, including projects that result in a higher level quality of data, reduce reporting burden, or provide increased public access.

More information on the different types of grants, EPA's National Environmental Information Exchange Network, and a complete list of the grantees (pdf file) is available at: . 

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