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State-EPA Conversation about E-Enterprise

On May 21st, the Environmental Law Institute (ELI) hosted a panel of Federal and state officials to discuss the current status and future direction of E-Enterprise.  The panel was comprised of Deputy EPA Administrator Bob Perciasepe; EPA Region I Administrator Curt Spalding; ECOS commissioners Dick Pedersen (OR), Tracey Stone-Manning (MT), and  Tom Burack (NH); and Victoria Phillips (MA), Director of the state’s Enterprise Information Office.   The principal points made by the panelists were as follows:

  • Our environmental protection efforts are predicated on a Federalism approach in which EPA provides support and oversight while states and Tribes undertake the day-to-day implementation of the programs.
  • Given this dynamic, effective and efficient approaches to managing and sharing of data/information is a critical foundation for our efforts.  The current (and likely future) climate of scarce resources underscores the need for innovative approaches.
  • E-Enterprise is decidedly not some big computer system or program; it’s really more of a business model — and requires thinking through how that model applies to our various business needs.
  • The start of all of this, for states, was a recognition — as an extension of the exchange network — that we collectively needed to step up and embrace these concepts more broadly.  ECOS formed an ECOS-EPA leadership council.  ECOS also signed a resolution to pursue E-Enterprise for the environment.
  • Funding is an important underlying consideration.  It does take money to put in place some of these new approaches.  But some states that have explored the costs and benefits of doing so have determined that there will be a “return on investment” in a relatively short time frame.

It’s worth noting, from a state drinking water program perspective, that E-Enterprise concepts and approaches are being “baked in” to the development and eventual deployment of SDWIS Prime.