The National Environmental Information Exchange Network (http://www.exchangenetwork.net) is a secure, standards-based system for sharing information about the environment. Partners on the Exchange Network, including U.S. EPA, states, tribes, and territories, use XML and other internet technologies to share and publish data on air, water, wastes, and other information related to the environment. Since data are made available in a standard format, the Exchange Network can become a powerful tool for improving the efficiency and transparency of environmental management and can expand access to higher quality environmental data.
Data consumers can build new tools to mash-up available data sets from the Exchange Network and present new ways of viewing and analyzing information. For example, emergency responders in several states are now using a tool that can reach across organizational lines to gather and display real-time environmental data in Google Earth. Emergency planners can quickly identify potential dangers posed by chemical inventories or hazardous waste storage. In minutes, response teams can assess threats to drinking water infrastructure or other environmental interests.
The Administration should continue to promote the use and expansion of the Exchange Network and consider adopting the model in other Federal agencies and for feeding environmental information to the Data.gov website.