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Managing Electronic Data Transfer in Environmental Cleanups

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Abstract:The use of computers and electronic information poses a complex problem for potential litigation in space law. The problem currently manifests itself in at least two ways. First, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) enforcement of Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act/Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986 (CERCLA/SARA) statutes is moving quickly towards site clean-up activities that require on-site decisions based on quick turnaround, analytical data. Site managers increasingly rely on electronic data transfer or facsimile (FAX) information while making crucial decisions concerning both the scope and expense of clean-up activity. These data packages are increasingly containing GPS data and remotely sensed images. Second, many laboratories in both the public and private sectors are either developing their own data management tracking systems or purchasing data management software packages. The trend to utilize computer-data management is likely to continue. Insufficient documentation of electronic data transfers may render any action or decision"non-defensible. " While draft data in an electronic system may enable the end-user (i.e., On-Scene Coordinator) to make a necessary decision quickly, that information may later be lost as documented support for the decision because it is deleted as a "final" version of the data are prepared. Hard copies of some data transfers may never be produced because data may be remotely downloaded into a portable computing device and deleted after use. Some scientists are using their data management tracking systems as replacements for hand-written records of laboratory activities.
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Citation:Brilis, G. M., J. G. Lyon, R. S. Lunetta, and J. Worthington. Managing Electronic Data Transfer in Environmental Cleanups. THE PRACTICAL LITIGATOR/LAWYER 15(5):37-44, (2004).
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Contact: Chris Siebert - (702) 798-2234 or siebert.christopher@epa.gov
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Division: Environmental Sciences Division
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Branch: Immediate Office of Division Director
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Product Type: Journal
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Published: 09/01/2004
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Related Entries:
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Bullet Item Cross-Cutting QA Issues Involving Geospatial Sciences, Chemistry, Information Management, and Law
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Last Updated on Monday, October 22, 2007
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