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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 20, 2004

Contact: Elaine Makatura
(609) 292-2994

GETTING ENVIRONMENTAL INFORMATION IS FASTER AND EASIER

(04/54) TRENTON--- Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bradley M. Campbell today announced the launch of a newly improved Web site that provides easy, round-the-clock access to key environmental reports and other public documents seven days a week at no charge.

"Our upgraded online-reports site honors the public's right-to-know by offering easier, faster access to a comprehensive listing of environmental data, without filling out forms or waiting for the information they need," said Campbell. "By putting technology to work, we are making it possible for more people to get more information about environmental protection in New Jersey's communities."

Called DEP Data Miner, the Web site enables users to search for information on DEP-regulated sites by location, name, or identification number. Data Miner users also can obtain public documents quickly and easily by clicking on links to a wide variety of information, including enforcement actions, incidents, inspections and violations; environmental monitoring, permitting, licensing and registrations. Users can download reports for analysis and reference at a later time.

For example, a citizen who wants to monitor the DEP's response to an environmental incident can access DEP Data Miner's Incident Reports. Or, by searching DEP Data Miner's Pesticide Applicator Business report, a homeowner can find out if an exterminator is properly licensed. Through the DEP's integrated databases, Data Miner makes available real-time information.

DEP Data Miner also provides Community Access reports. Created to inform community members of air permit details earlier in the application process, Community Access reports provide information on newly submitted air permit applications. Using simplified search criteria, community members can get details about permit applications and a contact phone number for further information.

The improved Web site will further enhance the demonstrated efficiency, effectiveness and responsiveness of DEP's OPRA process. OPRA, which became effective in July 2002, expands the public's right of access to government records.

During OPRA's first year, the DEP received 7,665 information requests, which represent more than 60 percent of the requests submitted to all state government agencies. From July 2002 to July 2003, DEP averaged 639 OPRA requests per month or about 32 requests every business day. DEP spent over $1.4 million and more than 50,000 staff hours administering the public-records law.

Easier, faster, real time access to public documents online through DEP Data Miner likely will reduce the number of OPRA requests submitted to DEP's Record Custodians.

DEP Data Miner can be accessed at http://www.nj.gov/dep/opra/online.html.

 

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