The Information Quality Act: EPA`s 8-Month Report Card

In late 2000, Representative Joanne Emerson (DMO) sponsored an amendment to the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) appropriations bill. This concise amendment, passed with no fanfare and little interest, now has federal agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), scrambling to put together lengthy and, in some cases, complex guidance that will undergo a detailed and much-needed critique by OMB. This amendment of few sentences is now forcing EPA and other agencies to create an intraagency infrastructure, heretofore nonexistent, to police the agencies’ dissemination of information to ensure that it is of appropriate quality, utility, objectivity, and integrity.

While some believe the Information Quality Act (IQA) could revolutionize the way federal agencies disseminate information in the same manner that the National Environmental Policy Act changed environmental law, others are not so sure, and the final impact of the IQA has yet to be felt. Beginning in October 2002, EPA has been subject to “requests for correction” (RFCs), which can be submitted by affected persons pursuant to the IQA. This 8-Month Report Card provides a snapshot of RFCs filed at EPA to date and EPA’s actions in response to such requests, giving some indication of how this issue may play out.

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