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Frequent Questions - Information Quality Guidelines

  1. What is a Request for Correction under the Information Quality Guidelines?
  2. What if I just want to notify the Agency regarding a data error?
  3. How do I submit a Request for Correction?
  4. How does EPA expect to respond to my request?
  5. What if my request concerns information on which EPA has sought public comment?
  6. What if I disagree with EPA's decision regarding my Request for Correction?
  7. How does EPA intend to process my Request for Reconsideration?
  8. What happened to the e-mail address quality.guidelines@epa.gov and can I still use it?
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1. What is a Request for Correction under the Information Quality Guidelines? EPA's Guidelines for Ensuring and Maximizing the Quality, Objectivity, Utility, and Integrity of Information Disseminated by the Environmental Protection Agency (PDF 529KB) were developed by EPA to comply with the Office of Management and Budget Guidelines (67 FR 8451, February 22, 2002) (PDF 162KB, 10pp.). Section 515 of the "Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act for FY 2001 (Public Law 106-554)" directed OMB to issue government-wide guidelines that "provide policy and procedural guidance to Federal agencies for ensuring and maximizing the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of information, including statistical information, disseminated by Federal Agencies."

The guidelines create a mechanism that enables the public to seek and obtain, where appropriate, correction of information disseminated by the Agency that does not comply with EPA or OMB Information Quality Guidelines. If you believe that information disseminated by EPA may not comply with the Guidelines, we encourage you to consult informally with the contact person listed in the information product before submitting a request for correction.

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2. What if I just want to notify the Agency regarding a data error? If you simply want to report a data error on the EPA Web site, you are encouraged to use the EPA Integrated Error Correction Process. As part of EPA's ongoing efforts to improve the quality of the data it provides to the public, this process enables those outside of the Agency to directly notify EPA of a data error. The Integrated Error Correction Process involves routing the error notification to the appropriate person who has the authority to make corrections. To notify us about a data error found on the EPA Web site, visit "Report Data Errors" on EPA's "Contact Us" page.

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3. How do I submit a Request for Correction? Once you have determined that filing a request for correction is appropriate, you should provide a request to the EPA that includes:

Note: EPA policy is that Requests for Correction and Requests for Reconsideration will generally be made available for public viewing on the Internet. Any personal information you choose to include in your request may be publicly disclosed on the Internet or otherwise as required by law.

Requests for correction may be submitted to EPA using any of the following methods:

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4. How does EPA expect to respond to my request? EPA's goal is to respond to your request within 90 days of receipt, by providing either a decision on the request or an estimate of the time for decision. If your request is approved, EPA would determine what type of corrective action is appropriate. Whether or not EPA determines that corrective action is appropriate, we intend to provide you with a notice of the decision.

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5. What if my request concerns information on which EPA has sought public comment? Where EPA has provided a structured opportunity for public comment on information in a draft or proposed document, EPA generally expects to treat requests for correction procedurally like other public comments, addressing them in the response to comments rather than through a separate response mechanism. EPA believes that the thorough consideration provided by the public comment process serves the purposes of the Information Quality Guidelines, provides an opportunity for correction of any information that does not comply with the Guidelines, and does not duplicate or interfere with the orderly conduct of the action.

EPA generally will not consider a request for correction that could have been submitted during the comment period of a rulemaking or other action. If EPA cannot respond to a request for correction in the response to comments for the action (for example, because the request/comment is submitted too late to be considered and could not have been timely submitted, or because the request is not germane to the action), EPA will consider whether a separate response is appropriate.

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6. What if I disagree with EPA's decision regarding my Request for Correction? If you are dissatisfied with EPA's decision on your request for correction, you may submit a request for reconsideration. EPA recommends this request be submitted within 90 days of the date of EPA's decision. To submit a Request for Reconsideration (RFR) you should have already submitted a Request for Correction (RFC) to EPA and received a response to that request. Your request should be identified as an RFR by including "Request for Reconsideration" in the subject or title. The request should include the following information:

You may submit an RFR via any one of the methods listed here:

Note: EPA policy is that Requests for Correction and Requests for Reconsideration will generally be made available for public viewing on the Internet. Any personal information you choose to include in your request may be publicly disclosed on the Internet or otherwise as required by law.

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7. How does EPA intend to process my Request for Reconsideration? An executive panel would make EPA's final decision on the request for reconsideration. If your request is approved, EPA would determine what type of corrective action is appropriate. Whether or not EPA determines that corrective action is appropriate, you will be notified of the final decision.

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8. What happened to the e-mail address quality.guidelines@epa.gov and can I still use it? As of October 18, 2004, the quality.guidelines@epa.gov is no longer a working e-mail box. All e-mail correspondence should be sent to quality@epa.gov.

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