Request for Reconsideration of Response to Federal Data Quality Act Petition Against Further Dissemination of ‘Climate Action'

Request for Reconsideration of Response to Federal Data Quality Act Petition Against Further Dissemination of ‘Climate Action'

May 06, 2004

Full Document Available in PDF

To Whom it May Concern,

We are in receipt of EPA’s denial of CEI’s Request for Correction under the Federal Data Quality Act – on the ingenious basis that EPA does not in fact disseminate the “Climate Action Report” published exclusively on EPA’s website, but that EPA is merely doing a less internet-savvy federal agency a favor[1]--despite the public record demonstrating EPA’s lead role in producing the document, White House acknowledgement of same, and EPA being the sole governmental office disseminating CAR.

CEI therefore cannot permit EPA’s argument to go unchallenged.  Please consider the following Request for Reconsideration of this determination at your earliest convenience, so we may conclude adjudication of this matter on the merits at the earliest possible date.

In Summary, EPA’s attempt to avoid application of the Federal Data Quality Act to the Climate Action Report 2002 fails for the following reasons:

- EPA relies for its denial upon purported State Department paternity of CAR, which even were that true is not relevant under any authority regarding applicability of FDQA requirements to EPA’s exclusive dissemination of CAR.

- Regardless, EPA is the sole federal government office publicly disseminating CAR.

- Further, EPA produced CAR, leading the effort as the sole office soliciting, culling, and incorporating public comment, manifested by its Federal Register publications.

- The White House acknowledges EPA produced the CAR.

- The State Department attributes CAR authorship to EPA.

- The record therefore makes clear that CAR is EPA’s product.

- This notwithstanding, regarding EPA’s argument, neither OMB’s FDQA Guidelines – which are controlling here – nor EPA’s own Guidelines support EPA’s proffered argument to avoid application of FDQA to CAR, that “third party” documents include governmental product, including even that not disseminated by any other agency.

- The Department of State cannot be demonstrated as having a role in CAR appreciatively more substantive than transmitting this document to the United Nations pursuant to the UNFCCC or Rio Treaty, as delegated to State pursuant to statute (22 U.S.C. 2656).

- EPA offers an untenable interpretation of the FDQA, permitting agencies to collaborate in order to shield the product of the federal government from data quality requirements that were enacted for the precise purpose of exposing data produced and/or promoted by the federal government to scrutiny.  FDQA, as EPA surely knows, will not be read by the courts as such a malleable shield, but instead more akin to a “sunshine” statute.

1 EPA asserts that “EPA subsequently made the document available on its Web site because of its advanced web hosting capability, which may have been interpreted as an indication that this was an EPA report.…In this instance, EPA hosts the Climate Action Report on its Web site solely to assist the State Department in providing public access to the Report.”