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EPA awards $150,000 to CNMI DEQ for environmental information systems

Release Date: 10/25/2004
Contact Information: Dean Higuchi, (808) 541-2711

HONOLULU -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently awarded a $150,000 grant to the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands Division of Environmental Quality to develop environmental information and data sharing systems for a national environmental network.

The "National Environmental Information Exchange Network" enables states, territories, tribes and other partners to share environmental data over the Internet. When completed, the network will integrate state and federal environmental data, facilitate the reporting of data to EPA Headquarters, and improve data quality. The Exchange Network provides a more efficient way of exchanging environmental information at all levels of government and with the public.

"One of the biggest obstacles to reporting data to the EPA is incompatible systems," said John McCarroll, manager of the EPA Pacific Southwest Region's Pacific Islands Office. "The grant will work to upgrade their computer systems and make CNMI's environmental data more accessible to the EPA and the public."

The CNMI DEQ will pursue the following activities as it builds connections to and participates in the "National Environmental Information Exchange Network":

-Prepare a blueprint to improve its information technology, which includes evaluating existing systems and developing specific recommendations to advance DEQ's participation in the Exchange Network;

-Acquire the technical infrastructure for Internet node operation. Install a local area network, develop database systems, implement in-house Web and email servers, and install appropriate security features including certificates and firewalls; and

-Enhance and expand DEQ' s Geographic Information System to improve capacity at the program level.