We want clean air, clean water, and an end to environmental racism and injustice. Strong environmental regulation is important, but it’s only as good as its enforcement.
Environmental Enforcement Watch is series of networked online workshops that bring people together from different backgrounds to analyze the data from Environmental Protection Agency’s Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO) database. ECHO data includes reported violations of environmental laws, facility inspections, and enforcement actions (or lack thereof) issued by the EPA and state agencies.
In these virtual workshops, we will work with community organizers, concerned residents, and university students and staff to dive into the data and stories in your legislative districts, zip codes, and counties to find out: (1) what companies are emitting; (2) what are the associated environmental health risks; (3) what is and isn’t being tracked; (4) whether local facilities are violating their permits; and (5) what environmental enforcement looks like in your area.
Together, we can use publicly available data to hold our government and industry accountable.
Draw large-scale public attention to lack of environmental enforcement.
Work with partner organizations, especially marginalized communities, to build data efficacy through mutually beneficial relationships.
Inform EPA visions of alternative forms of public engagement—a Green New Deal for environmental data.
Prototype community-oriented structures for environmental data, i.e. by health factors for a community.
Bring attention to the relationship between environmental enforcement, environmental racism, and other interlocking forms of oppression (particularly white supremacy, capitalism, settler-colonialism, heteropatriarchy, etc.)
All workshops begin by making a customized report on violations, inspections and enforcement of environmental laws in the congressional district, state, watershed or city of interest to participants. These reports are based on data from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO) database, and aggregated through our Jupyter notebooks.
Brainstorm and develop different ways that data can be visualized in order to convey powerful messages used for reports, social media, classroom outreach, direct action, and more.
Provide location-specific context for emissions and enforcement data. Investigate facilities and locations of interest by finding news articles, community group publications, and other public documentation and incorporate relevant information into the reports.
Capture the reactions, thoughts, & stories of yourself and other attendees. Use these reflections to supplement data, generate research questions, and connect.
Consider additional questions that the data can address. Expand the Jupyter notebooks to answer questions posed by participants.