Q&A with Adam Peltz
What benefits do you see from RBDMS?
At EDF [the Environmental Defense Fund] we see RBDMS as a critical tool to enable regulators to efficiently protect the environment. You can’t know what you don’t measure, and RBDMS helps regulators keep track of what’s going on in their area. The risk-based aspect of it can help prioritize work for regulators to focus on what has the most impact.
RBDMS is an amazing example of good governance. The states came together, knowing that they all needed a better way to manage data. They realized that the cost of every state bidding out the software development would be extremely high. Pooling resources, harnessing new technology and creating a product together can better protect the environment and save an untold amount of taxpayer dollars. I don’t know of any parallels anywhere else in government.
How have you seen RBDMS evolve?
RBDMS has continuously evolved to meet state needs — bringing state agencies into the 21st century of cloud computing. And the upcoming Field Inspection application is one of the most important innovations for inspectors on the frontline for enforcing environmental protections. The database can help them know where to go and prioritize items that need attention, and keeps track of everything so you can go into the field and pull up previous information about a well. It is an amazing tool to have in your hand in the field.
Describe the impact of RBDMS for the states.
The quality of the collaborative RBDMS system is much higher and costs much less than individual environmental management systems. When one state innovates, all states can benefit. It is a win-win for everyone.
RBDMS comes with a built-in community where ideas are generated about what information is tracked, how it’s tracked and what to do with the information. Regulators can talk to each other and share common experiences. That is one of the most important and biggest successes of RBDMS. This unique collaboration and innovative platform is very exciting and should be applauded.
What is the most important thing you think the outside world should know about RBDMS?
Not everyone realizes that there are oil and gas agencies that are keeping track of all the wells and using that information to make decisions about the best way to protect public health and the environment. People should know that there is this robust software system the states are continually improving together. It’s an amazing story.
What would you tell states currently not using RBDMS, who may be considering it?
“This community is built to serve state needs and is a great opportunity to get a tremendous amount of software, expertise, and ideas for how to successfully regulate and track information to make decisions. RBDMS provides a tremendously valuable service to the agencies that use it.”