Thursday, February 27, 2014

National Response Center Website Down - 6 Days and Counting? [Updated]

UPDATE - Coast Guard's Response to our Inquiry on Feb. 26: The NRC website was taken down on February 21st. During the restoration process, the NRC was required to comply with new DOD/DHS cyber security requirements. The NRC will bring a new website online to meet these requirements, though it is an arduous process and taking longer than originally anticipated. The website will be brought back online in a stepped fashion beginning with publishing static pages within the next two weeks. The NRC report query tool and web reporting tool will not be immediately available, though we hope to have full website functionality no later than the end of May. In the meantime, we are looking at other intra-governmental websites that may be able to host our FOIA data until our main site is finished."

This process has not impacted the NRC's ability to take and disseminate reports to first responders via it our 800-424-8802 hotline."


[Original Post] Savvy SkyTruth Alerts users may have noticed that we haven't published any new oil or hazmat spill reports from the Coast Guard-operated National Response Center (NRC) since February 20.  If you go directly to the NRC website, you see a "down for maintenance" message.  Polluters and concerned citizens can still submit reports to the NRC by phone, at 1-800-424-8802.  But without the website, we can't search for or download pollution reports.  And that leaves a big hole in our SkyTruth Alerts map, and in the daily updates we email to Alerts subscribers.

It's also really bad timing, given the major oil spill that happened on the lower Mississippi River due to a barge accident on Saturday afternoon. 

We emailed an NRC spokesperson yesterday morning and asked when and why the site went down, and when the Coast Guard expects it to be operational again, but so far we haven't gotten a response.  If anyone has info to share, please post it as a comment to this blog. 

7 comments:

  1. Some information hosted on the website, especially those relating to past events, can be found by searching using the Wayback Machine:

    http://web.archive.org/web/20140215112702/http://www.nrc.uscg.mil/foia.html


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  2. Thanks Ricardo, but the search tools to find and retrieve spill reports don't actually work.

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  3. Just called NRC @ 8:15pmEDT to ask when they thought their site might be up again and was told to "call back Monday cuz it's the weekend and nobody's here working on it now". Nuthin but warm fuzzies here, something must be up, MODIS still working but eyes wide, k? -Gregg

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    1. I also called, last time was Friday and was told nobody could answer until Monday when a supervisor would be in. It took several tries to get an actual person to talk to, which makes me believe some reports are not able to get through via phone neither. I've worked on websites since the 1980's and there''s no reason in the world I can think of why a site should be down 2 week. Something is up.

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  4. I just called today and was told I could submit a FOIA request to get oil and hazmant spill reports. I asked when the website will be back online and they would not say. I asked to talk to a supervisor, and am now waiting for them to call me back. Hopefully we'll be able to shed some light soon on what's happening. We consider the NRC website to be a very important resource for public information about spills and accidents.

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  5. Chris, a senior watch officer at NRC, called me back. He said their server crashed, and new requirements for computer systems and security from Dept. of Homeland Security are essentially forcing them to rebuild from scratch, which is taking longer than anticipated. He said they hope a static website will be functional in a week or so, but the ability to search for and download oil and hazmat spill reports might not be up again for a few weeks.

    I offered to post a written statement if they provide it to us. We might get that later today, or tomorrow.

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  6. We received this statement from the NRC folks yesterday evening:
    --
    "The NRC website was taken down on February 21st. During the restoration process, the NRC was required to comply with new DOD/DHS cyber security requirements. The NRC will bring a new website online to meet these requirements, though it is an arduous process and taking longer than originally anticipated. The website will be brought back online in a stepped fashion beginning with publishing static pages within the next two weeks. The NRC report query tool and web reporting tool will not be immediately available, though we hope to have full website functionality no later than the end of May. In the meantime, we are looking at other intra-governmental websites that may be able to host our FOIA data until our main site is finished."

    This process has not impacted the NRC's ability to take and disseminate reports to first responders via it our 800-424-8802 hotline."

    ReplyDelete