I’ve been assigned to cover and investigate water quality issues in Ohio. I’m currently in the process of looking into water testing in public schools.
In order to get a better sense of how the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency is involved with water testing in schools, I browsed on their website and tried to read up more on their policies and rules.
The agency has good documents and resources for people to read when it comes to topics like drinking water and air quality. The issue is that not many people can understand what it all means.
The language that’s used is too formal and consists of vocabulary that ordinary Ohio residents may not fully understand.
If you’re confused on something, the best move is to contact the Ohio EPA to get clarification. Getting them to contact you back, however, is another story.
Searching on Google sometimes help, but it can also cause more confusion if the subject is more complicated.
A better way for not only journalists, but for Ohio residents, to better understand what’s going on environmentally in the state is to have resources that don’t contain complicated language.
Federal laws and state policies should be written to where it can easily comprehended. When there’s confusion on a policy and someone needs clarification, an expert from the agency should be able to respond, especially in a timely manner.
Environmental reporting is new to me and it’s my duty to the public to make sense of what’s going on. However, it’s challenging to do so when I’m also confused.