[Federal Register Volume 67, Number 194 (Monday, October 7, 2002)]
[Notices]
[Pages 62446-62455]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 02-25402]


=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY


Final Report Implementing Office of Management and Budget 
Information Dissemination Quality Guidelines

AGENCY: Office of the Chief Information Officer, Department of Energy 
(DOE).

ACTION: Notice.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: DOE gives notice of the final report to the Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB) that contains final DOE guidelines setting 
forth policy and procedures to ensure and maximize the quality, 
utility, objectivity, and integrity of the information that DOE 
disseminates to members of the public. DOE has prepared this final 
report pursuant to OMB government-wide guidelines under section 515 of 
the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 
2001 (Act) (Pub.L. 106-554, 114 Stat. 2763).

DATES: The guidelines in the final report to OMB are effective October 
1, 2002.

ADDRESSES: The final DOE report and guidelines in this notice are 
available on the web site of the DOE Chief Information Officer (CIO) at 
http://cio.doe.gov/informationquality.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Office of the Chief Information 
Officer, Attention: Ms. Deborah Henderson, U.S. Department of Energy, 
Room 8H-089, 1000 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20585; 
toby.henderson@hq.doe.gov; (202) 586-5606.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Introduction and Background

    The final report and guidelines in this notice are in response to 
OMB's Guidelines for Ensuring and Maximizing the Quality, Objectivity, 
Utility, and Integrity of Information Disseminated by Federal Agencies 
(OMB guidelines), 67 FR 8452 (February 22, 2002) under section 515 of 
the Act. DOE's final guidelines apply to a wide variety of information 
disseminated to members of the public. The DOE final guidelines are 
modeled on the OMB guidelines with modifications specific to DOE. The 
principal modifications with explanations, are as follows:
    1. DOE inserted the definitions before the operative portions of 
its final guidelines, and in order to enhance readability, opted to 
relocate some of the language in the OMB definitions (namely, that 
which provided policy as distinguished from strictly definitional 
material) among the operative sections of the guidelines.
    2. DOE included general pre-dissemination review procedures which 
would provide for the originating DOE office to review information in 
light of the quality standards in the OMB and DOE guidelines and, in 
appropriate cases, for higher level internal review of the originating 
office's conclusions to ensure that the procedures are followed.
    3. DOE included its own definition of ``influential'' when that 
term is applied to financial, scientific, or statistical information. 
Under the OMB guidelines, ``influential'' information of that type is 
supposed to meet the highest standards of quality and transparency 
(consistent with countervailing considerations such as confidentiality) 
and data must be capable of reproduction by a qualified individual 
outside of the agency. DOE decided to define ``influential 
information'' as information that DOE routinely embargoes because of 
its potential effect on markets, information on which a regulatory 
action with a $100 million per year impact is based, and other 
information products on a case-by-case basis. Routine embargo 
information occurs with regard to certain of the information products 
of DOE's Energy Information Administration. Currently, only some of the 
appliance energy conservation standards rulemakings under the Energy 
Policy and Conservation Act (42 U.S.C. 6295) have $100 million impacts 
on the economy. While DOE is committed to maintaining high standards of 
quality for all of its information products aimed at the public, DOE is 
not of the view that the impact of other information products warrants 
holding them to the most rigorous standards of transparency and 
reproducibility.
    4. DOE included mandatory procedures, including content 
requirements, to be followed by members of the public in submitting 
requests for correction of information under the guidelines. With 
respect to information related to DOE documents subject to public 
comment, members of the public generally would have to submit requests 
for correction in the form of timely comments to ensure their 
consideration. However, the final guidelines allow for the possibility 
of DOE consideration of late-filed requests for correction. They also 
provide specifically for requests for correction applicable to final 
rules and final environmental impact statements. With respect to DOE 
documents that are not subject to public comment, members of the public 
would be required to submit requests for correction to the DOE CIO who 
would direct the request to the originating DOE program office. That 
office should provide at least an initial response within 60 days. A 
member of the public could request review of an

[[Page 62447]]

adverse initial response through the DOE CIO. The CIO would direct the 
request for review to a higher level official of the DOE program office 
to whom the originating program office reports for a final decision (in 
which the DOE Office of General Counsel must concur) within 60 days.
    5. Consistent with the OMB guidelines, DOE has modified the portion 
of the DOE guidelines calling for use of the criteria in the Safe 
Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1996 (SDWAA) (42 U.S.C 300g-1(b)(3)(A) 
and (B)) in the preparation of risk assessments. The modified 
guidelines specify criteria adapted from the SDWAA, applicable to 
information containing analyses of risks to human health, safety, and 
the environment.

II. Response to Public Comments and Modifications to Draft DOE 
Guidelines

    Authority of OMB Guidelines. DOE received a comment arguing that 
DOE should ignore the definitions of ``dissemination'' and 
``information'' in the OMB guidelines because, in the view of the 
commenter, OMB has no discretion under section 515 to exempt categories 
of information from the data quality guidelines. DOE also received 
comments arguing that DOE should disregard the OMB guidelines and rely 
instead on standards in the text of section 515 when DOE responds to a 
request for correction. DOE rejects these comments because section 515 
does not apply directly to agencies. Rather, it grants OMB authority to 
issue directives to agencies, which are binding on the agencies as a 
matter of internal Executive Branch administration. Specifically, 
subsection (a) of section 515 requires OMB to issue government-wide 
information quality guidelines, and subsection (b) of section 515 
requires that OMB include in its guidelines a requirement for agencies 
to ``establish administrative mechanisms allowing affected persons to 
seek and obtain correction of information maintained and disseminated 
by the agency that does not comply with the guidelines issued under 
subsection (a).'' Thus, section 515 specifically contemplates that 
compliance with section 515 in responding to requests for correction 
will be evaluated against the OMB guidelines and not the terms of 
section 515 itself.
    Applicability of DOE guidelines. DOE's draft guidelines stated that 
they applied to information disseminated or re-disseminated on or after 
October 1, 2002. A commenter urged DOE to clarify the applicability of 
its guidelines by substituting the phrase ``information that is still 
being disseminated by DOE on or after October 1, 2002.'' DOE decided to 
clarify the applicability of its guidelines by using the phrase 
``information that is disseminated by DOE on or after October 1, 2002, 
regardless of when that information was first disseminated.''
    Adjudicatory exemption. Consistent with the OMB guidelines, the DOE 
draft guidelines would exempt from the definition of ``dissemination'' 
documents related to adjudicatory proceedings in which there is an 
opportunity for trial-type proceedings to test information quality. In 
order to clarify the scope of the exemption, DOE has added examples. 
The examples are documents made available to the public in connection 
with a formal adjudicatory proceeding by the Nuclear Regulatory 
Commission to license a DOE facility and documents distributed to the 
public in Bonneville Power Administration ratemaking proceedings.
    Supplemental DOE Element guidelines. The DOE draft guidelines 
authorize DOE Elements to adopt supplemental guidelines consistent with 
OMB and DOE guidelines. One of the comments argued that DOE Elements 
should be required to propose their supplemental guidelines for public 
comment because of the notice and comment rulemaking requirements of 
the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 553). DOE does not believe 
this is necessary because the draft guideline provision in question 
concerned the ``process'' the DOE Element would follow for reviewing 
information quality. These supplemental guidelines will contain either 
procedures or non-binding general statements of policy. Both types of 
policy are explicitly exempt from notice and comment rulemaking (5 
U.S.C. 553(b)(A)).
    Timely correction of information errors in documents subject to 
public comment. The DOE draft guidelines provided for the possibility 
of preliminary responses to requests for correction with regard to 
documents made available for public comment at an early stage in a 
proceeding. One of the comments questioned whether DOE's omission of a 
60 day deadline for responding to a request for correction with regard 
to a document subject to public comment was inconsistent with the 
requirement in the OMB guidelines for ``timely'' responses. The 
commenter argued that there is a need for prompt responses because 
information disseminated by agencies in connection with a proposal can 
do significant harm. This suggestion of potential significant harm is 
speculative; notably, the commenter did not offer any example to 
support the argument. While commenters sometimes criticize the 
information on which DOE bases its proposed rules and draft 
environmental impact statements, DOE has never received a request to 
expedite a proceeding or otherwise withdraw information in question 
because of significant harm attributable to delay in taking final 
agency action. From time to time, DOE has received a comment so 
persuasive in criticizing the factual basis for a proposal that DOE 
decided either to repropose or to extend or reopen the comment period 
in a Federal Register notice describing the comment, stating DOE's 
preliminary reaction to the comment, and offering additional 
information or new policy options for comment. Although DOE has never 
experienced a case of significant harm that warranted an early 
definitive response to a comment, DOE is aware that other agencies may 
have experienced a rare case in which imminent harm of a significant 
nature might justify such a response. In supplemental guidance issued 
after the close of DOE's comment period on its draft guidelines, OMB 
recommended that agencies provide for consideration of request for 
correction prior to final agency action in appropriate circumstances. 
Consistent with that guidance and DOE's prior practice, DOE has 
modified its draft guidelines at paragraph IV.A.1.(C) to provide for 
consideration of a prompt, albeit preliminary, response on the merits 
to a request for correction if the requester adequately justifies the 
necessity for such a response.
    Late-filed requests for correction of documents subject to public 
comment. DOE's draft guidelines would require members of the public to 
file requests for correction during the comment period. The draft 
guidelines were silent as to how DOE would treat late-filed requests 
for correction, and some of the commenters argued for greater 
flexibility or against any restriction to the comment deadline. DOE 
believes requests for correction in a notice and comment rulemaking 
should be treated the same way as comments under other crosscutting 
statutory requirements such as the Regulatory Flexibility Act. 
Accordingly, DOE responded to these commenters by providing in 
paragraph IV.A.1.(D) that DOE may consider late-filed requests for 
correction comments ``to the same extent that DOE considers late-filed 
comments and time permits such consideration.'' DOE has long had a 
practice of considering late-filed comments but has always reserved, 
and continues to reserve, the discretion to

[[Page 62448]]

disregard such comments in appropriate circumstances.
    Petitions for rulemaking and supplemental environmental impact 
statements. The DOE draft guidelines would require members of the 
public to file requests for correction of a final rule in the form of a 
petition for rulemaking and of a final environmental impact statement 
in the form of a petition for a supplemental environmental impact 
statement. One of the comments criticized this provision as overbroad 
and unnecessary because there will be times when the request for 
correction does not seek a change in the rule or the environmental 
impact statement. DOE has addressed this comment by limiting the 
requirement to file these requests for correction as petitions for 
rulemaking or for a supplemental environmental impact statement to 
circumstances in which the request for correction is actually aimed at 
changing the rule or the environmental impact statement. DOE's final 
guidelines impose the obligation to petition for a supplemental 
environmental impact if the person requesting the correction is 
claiming that there are significant new circumstances or information as 
provided in the governing Council on Environmental Quality regulations 
(40 CFR 1502.9(c)(1)(ii)).
    Burden of demonstrating need for correction. The DOE draft 
guidelines proposed to place on the person requesting a correction the 
``burden of proof'' to demonstrate the need for a correction. One 
commenter objected to this provision as an unreasonable disincentive 
and hurdle on request for corrections but did not explain why the 
provision is unreasonable. Another comment accepted the desirability of 
this provision but argued that DOE should add explicitly that it has 
the burden of maintaining an ``administrative record'' demonstrating 
that the information at issue complies with the OMB guidelines. DOE 
rejects the first comment out of concern that removing a burden to 
justify will promote frivolous requests. Anyone who requests a 
correction under the OMB and DOE guidelines should be required to 
explain the basis for the request as a prerequisite to any agency 
diversion of resources to respond. DOE rejects the second comment in 
part because the term ``administrative record'' is suggestive of the 
availability of judicial review. Also, the OMB and DOE guidelines 
require documentation of DOE action in response to a request for 
correction, and any additional recordkeeping requirements could be 
overly burdensome. In today's final guidelines, DOE has changed the 
term ``burden of proof'' to ``burden of justification'' because the 
former may misleadingly suggest that requests for correction should be 
focused on evidentiary standards and trial-type procedures rather than 
the need to correct information.
    Definition of ``influential information.'' Consistent with the OMB 
guidelines, DOE defined the term ``influential information'' as 
information disseminated in connection with major rulemakings and 
information that is subject to embargo because of potential immediate 
effects on markets. DOE's draft definition also provided for a case-by-
case designation of information as ``influential.'' One of the comments 
argued that case-by-case designations should be guided by OMB's 
tentative definition of ``influential information'' in its guidelines. 
OMB's definition referred to information that will have or does have a 
``clear and substantial impact on important public policies or 
important private sector decisions.'' In DOE's view, OMB's language 
does not provide a clear enough line for consistent and efficient 
administration of the ``influential information'' concept in the DOE 
context. DOE prefers to gain experience in applying its own definition 
before deciding whether that definition needs to be supplemented with 
additional criteria to govern case-by-case designations of 
``influential information.''
    Non-DOE information. Consistent with the OMB guidelines, DOE's 
guidelines apply to third party information that is either relied on or 
endorsed by DOE. Two commenters urged that DOE modify its draft DOE 
guidelines to cover third party data submissions that DOE neither 
relies on nor endorses and information disseminated by national 
laboratories under their own names. DOE rejects these comments because 
the OMB guidelines do not direct that agency guidelines shall apply to 
information produced by other entities that is neither relied on nor 
endorsed by the agency. Moreover, DOE is of the view that the limited 
resources available should be focused on addressing the quality of 
information that DOE relies on or endorses.
    Definition of ``affected person.'' The OMB guidelines direct 
agencies to devise a request for correction procedure for ``affected 
persons'' (as defined by the OMB guidelines). DOE, however, omitted 
that definition in its draft guidelines and elected to allow any 
persons to submit requests for correction. DOE omitted the definition 
because it believes the underlying purpose of section 515 of the Act is 
to improve the quality of agency information whether or not the 
information has effects on particular individuals. A commenter argued 
in favor of a broad definition of ``affected person'' in order to lower 
what the commenter perceived as a potential hurdle to requests for 
correction. DOE believes its omission of the term ``affected person'' 
eliminates the potential hurdle entirely and that it has therefore gone 
beyond what this commenter suggested.
    Separation of functions. The DOE draft guidelines provide for a 
prominent role for the originating office in processing requests for 
correction. With respect to requests filed in connection with notice 
and comment rulemaking and environmental impact statements, and with 
respect to appeals from initial decisions on requests for correction of 
information in documents not subject to public comment, DOE senior 
officials with concurrence from the DOE Office of General Counsel will 
make the final decision. Some commenters objected to the role of the 
originating office and argued that decisionmaking responsibility be 
assigned to an office independent of the originating office. DOE 
rejects these comments for several reasons. First, the OMB guidelines 
do not require or even contemplate separation of functions. Second, OMB 
has issued supplementary guidance indicating its approval of procedures 
involving a prominent role for agency Offices of General Counsel to 
assist agencies in following the directives of the OMB guidelines. 
Third, originating offices should be given the opportunity to correct 
erroneous information in the first instance since they are responsible 
for the information in question and are especially knowledgeable about 
the quality basis for the information.
    Confidential information. Consistent with the OMB guidelines, the 
draft DOE guidelines provide for use of confidential information if 
necessary. A commenter argued that agencies should adopt a general 
prohibition against use of what the commenter described as ``third 
party proprietary models.'' The commenter further argued that if such a 
model must be used, the agencies should have the burden of 
demonstrating to OMB that no other option is available before 
contracting to use the model. DOE rejects this comment because: (1) The 
OMB guidelines do not require agencies to adopt such a policy; (2) the 
policy would be inconsistent with Executive Order 12866 which requires 
OMB clearance only of significant regulatory actions; and (3) the 
policy would be too restrictive. In the appliance energy

[[Page 62449]]

conservation standards program under the Energy Policy and Conservation 
Act (42 U.S.C. 6295), DOE contracts with a third party to collect 
individual company data under arrangements providing for the third 
party to provide aggregate data only to DOE. This arrangement enhances 
the willingness of individual companies to divulge proprietary 
information, and DOE does not believe it should adopt a procedure to 
prohibit or otherwise jeopardize a data collection effort that is 
essential to carry out DOE's substantive standard-setting mandates 
under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (or for that matter DOE's 
substantive mandates under any other statutory authority).
    Reasonableness of 60-Day Decision Deadlines. With respect to 
information that is not subject to public comment, the DOE draft 
guidelines provide for 60 days as a goal for an initial decision and 
for appeals from an initial decision. A commenter argues that 60 days 
is too long and would undermine the effect of attempting to obtain 
corrective action. DOE disagrees for two reasons. First, the comment 
does not offer any example to demonstrate that a 60-day target would 
undermine the effect of attempting to obtain corrective action. Second, 
the 60-day target gives necessary time to carefully consider a request 
for correction and formulate and internally review a response while at 
the same time carrying out other, unrelated, and possibly priority 
duties. DOE draws support for the 60-day target from OMB supplemental 
guidance indicating the OMB is of the view that 60 days is a reasonable 
target period of time to arrive at a decision.
    Paperwork Reduction Act. In its draft guidelines, DOE provided for 
DOE Elements to demonstrate that information collections will comply 
with the OMB and DOE guidelines when requesting clearance of new 
information collections. A commenter criticized this provision as 
wasteful and counterproductive because agencies are already required to 
demonstrate ``practical utility'' for proposed information collections. 
DOE disagrees because if the information to be collected is intended 
for dissemination to the public, the formulation of the information 
collection should appropriately take the OMB and DOE guidelines 
(including the basic standard of quality which goes beyond utility) 
into account.
    Definition of ``peer review.'' Consistent with the OMB guidelines, 
the DOE draft guidelines provide for peer review in certain 
circumstances such as risk assessments. One comment criticized the term 
``peer review'' as vague, and suggested that DOE adopt a definition for 
that term. In DOE's view, there is no need for a definition of the term 
``peer review'' since the OMB guidelines are explicit about the 
elements of adequate ``peer review.''
    Information request docket. Consistent with the OMB guidelines, the 
DOE draft guidelines provide for annual reporting of actions on 
requests for correction but did not provide for a public docket at a 
DOE web site giving the current status of all requests for correction. 
One comment urged that the DOE guidelines should provide for such a 
docket. While the DOE CIO will maintain a web site with essential 
information for members of the public who want to file a request for 
correction or to print out the DOE guidelines, DOE declines to allocate 
scarce resources for the expensive, labor intensive effort the 
commenter requests. DOE's limited resources should be focused 
exclusively on complying with DOE's obligations under the OMB 
guidelines' directives.
    Responding to requests for consideration. The DOE draft guidelines 
do not commit DOE to particular courses of action in responding to 
requests for consideration that concern information that is incorrect. 
One of the comments argued for an inflexible policy of correcting the 
information. DOE declines to accept this comment because the 
appropriate course of action should be determined in light of the 
particular facts and circumstances. In some instances, an 
acknowledgment of error may be all that is necessary, the document in 
question may not be subject to correction (e.g., effective final rules 
appliance energy conservation standards subject to 42 U.S.C. 6295(o)), 
and other measures may be needed to address any errors.
    Effect of DOE guidelines on DOE Elements. The DOE guidelines do not 
purport to impose legally binding substantive policies on DOE Elements. 
A commenter argues that the DOE guidelines should be binding on DOE 
Elements. DOE rejects this comment because the DOE information 
collection procedures are not substantive rules and should therefore 
not be binding as such.
    Substitute information. The DOE draft guidelines provide that 
members of the public must validate, insofar as they can, any 
information offered for DOE to adopt consistent with the OMB and DOE 
guidelines. A commenter argued against this provision because it is a 
disincentive to filing a request for correction. DOE rejects this 
comment because the procedures do not impose any obligation to submit 
substitute information and because those members of the public who do 
submit such information should make the case for the higher quality of 
the information they think DOE should adopt.
    Complexity of procedures. The DOE draft guidelines contain specific 
procedures for members of the public to follow. One commenter 
criticized these procedures as complex and argued generally for 
simplification without offering any specifics. The procedures are a 
function of the variety of contexts in which DOE disseminates 
information and the omission of detailed procedures in section 515 of 
the Act and the OMB guidelines. DOE does not believe that its 
procedures are complex or difficult to understand or follow.
    Risk assessments. Consistent with the OMB guidelines, DOE 
considered whether to add a variation of the criteria in the Safe 
Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1996 (42 U.S.C. 300g-1(b)(3) (A) and 
(B)) to its guidelines for preparing environmental risk assessments. In 
its notice inviting public comment on the draft guidelines, DOE stated 
that it was considering whether to add separate procedures intended to 
foster the preparation of comprehensive, informative and understandable 
ecological risk assessments, in addition to procedures for health risk 
assessments. One of the comments supported this approach but urged that 
DOE's proposal be modified to emphasize a number of elements that the 
commenter believed would add rigor, e.g., analysis of local populations 
of biota. DOE rejects this comment because the purpose of these 
guidelines is to provide general guides for the preparation of quality 
documents, not to mandate, or even to suggest a specific approach for 
risk assessment. DOE believes it should retain the discretion to tailor 
its assessment methodology so that it is appropriate for a given 
situation. DOE therefore revised its original proposal to make clear 
that it is a procedural guideline of general applicability and not 
intended as a policy statement with respect to analytic methodology. 
Given the general suitability of the criteria that DOE has included in 
today's final guidelines, DOE has concluded that there is no need for 
separate criteria for health and ecological risk assessments.
    Other comments. DOE received other comments that raise issues 
outside the scope of this proceeding or do not offer specific 
suggestions for improving the DOE draft guidelines. Although the 
purpose of this proceeding is to establish procedures and a general 
statement of policy under the OMB guidelines, some commenters sought to 
have DOE reconsider substantive energy policies with which they 
disagree.

[[Page 62450]]

Others raise questions about generic procedures that should be 
addressed to OMB such as a consistent policy regarding dissemination of 
information developed by an interagency risk assessment consortium 
committee and inclusion of information quality as a performance goal in 
performance plans under the Government Performance and Results Act. DOE 
has not responded to the issues these extraneous comments raise because 
they are out of scope or irrelevant.

III. OMB Review

    Consistent with the OMB guidelines, DOE submitted this notice to 
OMB for review. OMB has completed its review.

    Issued in Washington, DC on October 1, 2002.
Karen S. Evans,
Chief Information Officer.

Final Report to the Office of Management and Budget on Guidelines for 
Ensuring and Maximizing the Quality, Objectivity, Utility, and 
Integrity of Information Disseminated by the Department of Energy

Introduction

    This report is submitted to the Office of Management and Budget 
(OMB) by the Department of Energy (DOE) pursuant to OMB's Guidelines 
for Ensuring and Maximizing the Quality, Objectivity, Utility, and 
Integrity of Information Disseminated by Federal Agencies (OMB 
guidelines), 67 FR 8452 (February 22, 2002) under section 515 of the 
Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2001 
(Pub.L. 106-554, 114 Stat. 2763). The report includes DOE's guidelines 
to implement the policies and procedural guidance set forth in the OMB 
guidelines.

Background

    DOE is responsible for the administration of a wide variety of 
national defense, energy supply, energy conservation, and nuclear waste 
cleanup programs authorized by law. DOE administers a system of 
national laboratories with active scientific research programs. DOE 
also disseminates a large volume of statistical reports through its 
Energy Information Administration. Although DOE is not a major 
regulatory agency, DOE has some rulemaking mandates and authorities, 
such as the appliance energy conservation program of test procedures 
and standards, that require the dissemination of financial, scientific, 
and statistical information. Like other agencies, DOE publishes draft 
and final environmental impact statements and environmental assessments 
under the National Environmental Policy Act, 42 U.S.C. 4321-4347.

Discussion of Guidelines

    DOE has always maintained high standards of quality in the 
production of information disseminated to members of the public. As a 
source of scientific and statistical information on which members of 
the public and other government officials rely, DOE has long had 
procedures to assure adequate information quality. DOE's Energy 
Information Administration is a leader in this regard and has elaborate 
procedures to ensure the quality of its information products. DOE's 
Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy has elaborate special 
procedures for some of its rulemakings. That office has codified a 
general statement of policy in Appendix A to Subpart C of 10 CFR Part 
430 with regard to its information quality review procedures for 
information used in its appliance energy conservation standards 
rulemakings.
    The DOE guidelines set forth below are modeled on OMB guidelines 
and incorporate a basic standard of quality (including objectivity, 
utility, and integrity) in the development and dissemination of DOE or 
DOE-sponsored information to the public. They also incorporate the 
procedures that DOE has traditionally followed to review information 
products for adequate quality. In addition, the DOE guidelines provide 
a uniform set of procedures for members of the public who wish to 
request correction of information on a timely basis. These procedures 
will ensure that final DOE decisions with respect to requests for 
correction will be made by high-level management officials with the 
concurrence of the DOE Office of General Counsel.
    DOE notes that section 515 establishes procedures and performance 
goals for the internal management of the Executive Branch. While 
seeking to establish a process that assures that DOE is attentive to 
the issue of information quality, neither section 515 nor the OMB 
Guidelines nor DOE's own Guidelines provide for judicially manageable 
standards regarding the quality of information that the agency may 
disseminate. Therefore, neither section 515 nor the OMB Guidelines nor 
DOE's Guidelines create private rights or contemplate judicial 
oversight of its directives through judicial review. Rather, the 
statute contemplates internal executive branch management of its 
directives, as evidenced by its directive to each agency to ``report 
periodically to the Director'' of OMB concerning ``(i) the number and 
nature of complaints received by the agency regarding the accuracy of 
information disseminated by the agency; and (ii) how such complaints 
were handled by the agency.'' DOE's Guidelines likewise contemplate 
that internal executive branch management will be the mechanism for 
meeting the objectives of section 515.
    The DOE Guidelines were prepared by the DOE Chief Information 
Officer, who is responsible for coordinating DOE's response to OMB's 
guidelines, in cooperation with other affected DOE offices. They have 
been approved by the Secretary of Energy.

Guidelines for Ensuring and Maximizing the Quality, Objectivity, 
Utility, and Integrity of Information Disseminated to the Public by the 
Department of Energy

I. Background

    Section 515, Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act for 
Fiscal Year 2001 (Pub. L. 106-554), directed the Office of Management 
and Budget (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 OMB guidelines, published in the Federal Register on 
February 22, 2002 (67 FR 8452), direct agencies to issue by October 1, 
2002, their own implementing guidelines that include administrative 
mechanisms allowing members of the public to seek and obtain correction 
of information disseminated by the agency that does not comply with the 
OMB or agency guidelines.
    The Department of Energy (DOE) Information Quality Guidelines, 
issued by the Department's Chief Information Officer (CIO) pursuant to 
OMB's Guidelines, are intended to provide guidance to Departmental 
Elements (i.e., major DOE offices) on maximizing the quality, 
objectivity, utility, and integrity of information, including 
statistical information, disseminated to the public.
    The DOE Guidelines also establish mechanisms for members of the 
public to seek and obtain administrative correction of disseminated 
information that does not comply with the quality requirements of these 
Guidelines. Finally, the Guidelines explain how the CIO will comply 
with OMB's annual

[[Page 62451]]

reporting requirement concerning complaints from members of the public.
    The DOE Information Quality Guidelines are effective on October 1, 
2002.

II. Introduction

    The CIO has designed these Guidelines to apply to a wide variety of 
DOE information dissemination activities that may range in importance 
and scope. They are intended to be sufficiently generic to fit all 
media, printed, electronic, or other forms. The CIO has sought to avoid 
the problems that would be inherent in developing detailed, 
prescriptive, ``one-size-fits-all'' DOE-wide guidelines that would 
artificially require different types of dissemination activities to be 
treated in the same manner.
    The Guidelines are designed so that DOE Elements can apply them in 
a common sense and workable manner. It is important that these 
guidelines not impose unnecessary administrative burdens that would 
inhibit DOE Elements from continuing to take advantage of the Internet 
and other technologies to disseminate information to the public. In 
this regard, DOE Elements may incorporate the standards and procedures 
required by these guidelines into their existing information resources 
management and administrative practices rather than create new and 
potentially duplicative or contradictory processes. DOE Elements may 
rely on their implementation of the computer security provisions of the 
Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995, 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq., to 
establish appropriate security safeguards for ensuring the integrity of 
the information that they disseminate.

III. DOE Information Quality Guidelines

A. What Definitions Apply to These Guidelines?
    1. DOE Element means a major DOE office headed by an official whose 
position is subject to Senate confirmation or an office which directly 
reports to the Secretary, Deputy Secretary, or either of the DOE Under 
Secretaries.
    2. Dissemination means DOE Element initiated or sponsored 
distribution of information to the public.
    3. Influential means, when used in the context of scientific, 
financial, or statistical information, information (1) that is subject 
to embargo until the date of its dissemination by the Department or DOE 
Element disseminating the information because of potential market 
effects; (2) that is the basis for a DOE action that may result in an 
annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more; or (3) that is 
designated by a DOE Element as ``influential.''
    4. Information means any communication or representation of 
knowledge such as facts or data, in any medium or form, including 
textual, numerical, graphic, cartographic, narrative, or audiovisual 
forms, including information that a DOE Element disseminates from a web 
page, but excluding the provision of hyperlinks to information that 
others disseminate.
    5. Information dissemination product means any book, paper, map, 
machine-readable material, audiovisual production, or other documentary 
material, regardless of physical form or characteristic, a DOE Element 
disseminates to the public, including any electronic document, CD-ROM, 
or web page.
    6. Integrity means the information has been secured and protected 
from unauthorized access or revision, to ensure that the information is 
not compromised through corruption or falsification.
    7. Objectivity means the information is presented in an accurate, 
clear, complete, and unbiased manner and the substance of the 
information is accurate, reliable, and unbiased.
    8. Quality means utility, objectivity, and integrity.
    9. Reproducibility means capability of being substantially 
reproduced, subject to an acceptable degree of imprecision, and with 
respect to analytical results, ``capable of being substantially 
reproduced'' means that independent analysis of the original or 
supporting data using identical methods would generate similar analytic 
results, subject to an acceptable degree of imprecision or error.
    10. Subject to public comment means that DOE has made the 
information available for comment by members of the public, preliminary 
to making a final determination, through a notice in the Federal 
Register including, but not limited to, a notice of inquiry, an advance 
notice of proposed rulemaking, a notice of proposed rulemaking, a 
notice reopening or extending a comment period due to receipt of new 
information, a notice of availability of a draft environmental impact 
statement, a notice of a proposed information collection, or any other 
Federal Register notice that provides an opportunity for comment by 
members of the public regarding the quality of information on which a 
final determination may be based.
    11. Utility means the usefulness of the information to its intended 
users, including the public.
B. Which public disseminations of information are and are not subject 
to these Guidelines?
    These Guidelines apply to any public dissemination of information. 
The definitions of ``information'' and ``dissemination'' establish the 
scope of the applicability of the guidelines. ``Information'' means 
``any communication or representation of knowledge such as facts or 
data.'' Consequently, ``information'' does not include opinions.
    ``Dissemination'' is defined to mean agency initiated or sponsored 
distribution of information to the public, including, for example, a 
risk assessment prepared by a DOE Element to inform the agency's 
formulation of possible regulatory or other action. A DOE Element does 
not ``initiate'' the dissemination of information when a Federally 
employed scientist or Federal grantee or contractor publishes his or 
her research findings, even if the DOE retains ownership or other 
intellectual property rights because DOE paid for the research. In such 
cases, to avoid confusion, the DOE Element should ensure that the 
researcher includes an appropriate disclaimer that the views are the 
researcher's and do not necessarily reflect the views of DOE. However, 
if a DOE Element directs a Federally employed scientist or Federal 
grantee or contractor to disseminate information and retains authority 
to review and approve the information before release, then the DOE 
Element has sponsored the dissemination of the information.
    ``Dissemination'' also does not include the following 
distributions:
    (1) Press releases, including but not limited to fact sheets, press 
conferences or similar communications in any medium that announce, 
support the announcement or give public notice of information a DOE 
Element has disseminated elsewhere;
    (2) Any inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure of information 
intended only for inter-agency and intra-agency communications;
    (3) Correspondence with individuals or persons;
    (4) Testimony and other submissions to Congress containing 
information a DOE Element has disseminated elsewhere;
    (5) Responses to requests for DOE records under the Freedom of 
Information Act, the Privacy Act, the Federal Advisory Committee Act or 
similar laws;

[[Page 62452]]

    (6) Information in public filings (such as public comments received 
by DOE in rulemaking proceedings), except where the DOE Element 
distributes information submitted to it by a third party in a manner 
that suggests that the DOE Element endorses or adopts the information, 
or indicates in its distribution that it is using or proposing to use 
the information to formulate or support a regulation, guidance, or 
other DOE Element decision or position.
    (7) Information contained in subpoenas or documents filed in 
connection with adjudicative proceedings (characterized by trial-type 
procedures with opportunity to test information quality), including DOE 
adjudicatory orders, opinions, amicus and other briefs, documents filed 
in Bonneville Power Administration's ratemaking proceedings, and 
documents submitted for purposes of a Nuclear Regulatory Commission 
licensing proceeding for a DOE facility;
    (8) Procedural, operational, policy and internal manuals and 
memoranda prepared for the management and operation of DOE Elements 
that are not primarily intended for public dissemination;
    (9) Archival records (including information made available to the 
public on a DOE web site to document historical DOE actions); and
    (10) Communications intended to be limited to government employees 
or DOE contractors or grantees.
C. What Are the Responsibilities of DOE Elements for Ensuring Quality 
of Information Disseminated to the Public and Responding to Requests 
From Members of the Public for Correction of Information?
1. Ensuring Quality
    As a guiding principle, DOE Elements should have as a performance 
goal that information disseminated to the public meets a basic level of 
quality. The quality of information disseminated by DOE Elements is 
measured by its utility, objectivity, and integrity. ``Objectivity'' 
focuses on whether the disseminated information is being presented in 
an accurate, clear, complete and unbiased manner and as a matter of 
substance, is accurate, reliable and unbiased. This includes whether 
the information is presented in the proper context. Sometimes, in 
disseminating certain types of information to the public, other 
information must also be disseminated in order to ensure an accurate, 
clear, complete, and unbiased presentation.
    Also, DOE Elements should (to the extent possible, consistent with 
security, privacy, intellectual property, trade secrets, and 
confidentiality protections) identify the sources of the disseminated 
information and, in a scientific, financial, or statistical context, 
the supporting data and models, so that the public can assess for 
itself whether there may be some reason to question the objectivity of 
the sources. Where feasible, data should have full, accurate, 
transparent documentation, and possible sources of error affecting data 
quality should be identified and disclosed to users.
    In addition, ``objectivity'' involves a focus on ensuring accurate, 
reliable, and unbiased information. In a scientific, financial, or 
statistical context, the original and supporting data should be 
generated, and the analytical results developed, using sound 
statistical and research methods. If the data and analytical results 
have been subjected to formal, independent, external peer review, the 
information may generally be presumed to be of acceptable objectivity. 
However, this presumption is rebuttable based on a persuasive showing 
by a member of the public seeking correction of information in a 
particular instance. If DOE Element-sponsored peer review is employed 
to help satisfy the objectivity standard, the review process employed 
should meet the general criteria for competent and credible peer review 
recommended by OMB's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs to 
the President's Management Council (http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/inforeg/oira_review-process.html), namely ``that (a) peer reviewers be 
selected primarily on the basis of necessary technical expertise, (b) 
peer reviewers be expected to disclose to agencies prior technical/
policy positions they may have taken on the issues at hand, (c) peer 
reviewers be expected to disclose to agencies their sources of personal 
and institutional funding (private or public sector), and (d) peer 
reviews be conducted in an open and rigorous manner.''
    Influential information. If a DOE Element is responsible for 
disseminating and disseminates influential scientific, financial 
information, a high degree of transparency of data and methods should 
be ensured to facilitate the reproducibility of such information by 
qualified third parties. ``Influential'' when used in the context of 
scientific, financial or statistical information, means information: 
(1) That is subject to embargo until its dissemination by DOE or a DOE 
Element disseminating the information because of potential market 
effects; (2) that is the basis for a DOE action that may result in an 
annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more; or (3) that is 
designated by a DOE Element as ``influential.''
    With regard to original and supporting data related thereto, these 
Guidelines do not direct that all disseminated original and supporting 
data be subjected to the reproducibility requirement applicable to 
influential information. DOE Elements may identify, in consultation 
with the relevant scientific and technical communities, those 
particular types of data that may practicably be subjected to the 
reproducibility requirement, given ethical, feasibility, 
confidentiality, privacy, trade secret, security, and intellectual 
property constraints. It is understood that reproducibility of data is 
an indication of transparency about research design and methods and 
thus a replication exercise (i.e. a new experiment, test, or sample) 
should not be required prior to each dissemination. At a minimum, DOE 
Elements should assure reproducibility for those kinds of original and 
supporting data according to ``commonly accepted scientific, financial, 
or statistical standards.''
    With regard to analytic results related thereto, DOE Elements 
generally should demonstrate sufficient transparency about data and 
methods that an independent reanalaysis could be undertaken by a 
qualified member of the public. These transparency standards apply to 
analysis of data from a single study as well as to analyses that 
combine information from multiple studies.
    Making the data and models publicly available will assist in 
determining whether analytical results are capable of being 
substantially reproduced. However, the objectivity standard does not 
override other compelling interests such as privacy, trade secret, 
security, intellectual property, and other confidentiality protections.
    In situations where public access to data and methods will not 
occur due to other compelling interests, DOE Elements should apply 
rigorous robustness checks to analytic results and document what checks 
were undertaken. DOE Elements should, however, disclose the specific 
data sources that have been used and the specific quantitative methods 
and assumptions that have been employed. However, each DOE Element 
should define the type of robustness checks and the level of detail for 
documentation thereof, in ways appropriate for it given the nature and 
multiplicity of issues for which the DOE Element is responsible.
    With regard to the dissemination of information containing analyses 
of risks to human health, safety and the environment, it is DOE policy 
for DOE

[[Page 62453]]

Elements in complying with the OMB guidelines to apply the following 
criteria adapted from the Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1996.
    1. Use:
    a. The best available peer-reviewed science and supporting studies 
conducted in accordance with sound and objective scientific practices; 
and
    b. Data collected by accepted methods (if the reliability of the 
method and the nature of decision justify use of the data).
    2. Present information that is comprehensive, informative, and 
understandable.
    3. Specify, to the extent practicable:
    a. Each population addressed by any estimate of risk;
    b. The expected risk or central estimate of risk for the 
populations addressed;
    c. Each appropriate upper-bound or lower-bound estimate of risk;
    d. Each significant uncertainty identified in the process of an 
assessment of risk and the studies that would assist in resolving the 
uncertainty; and
    e. Peer-reviewed studies known to the DOE Element that support, are 
directly relevant to, or fail to support any estimate of risk effects 
and the methodology used to reconcile inconsistencies in the scientific 
data.
    DOE Elements responsible for dissemination of vital health, 
environmental and medical information should interpret the 
reproducibility and peer-review standards in a manner appropriate to 
assuring the timely flow of vital information to medical providers, 
patients, health agencies, and the public.
    ``Utility'' refers to the usefulness of the information to intended 
users including the public. In assessing the usefulness of information, 
DOE Elements need to consider the uses of the information they plan to 
disseminate not only from their perspective but also from the 
perspective of the public. As a result, when transparency of 
information is relevant for assessing the information's usefulness from 
the public's perspective, DOE Elements should take care to ensure that 
transparency has been addressed in its review of the information.
    ``Integrity'' refers to security--the protection of information 
from unauthorized access or revision to ensure that information by DOE 
or DOE Elements is not compromised through corruption or falsification.
    Pre-dissemination review procedures. Before disseminating 
information to members of the public, the originating office of the DOE 
Element is responsible for ensuring that the information is consistent 
with the OMB and DOE guidelines and that the information is of adequate 
quality for dissemination. If the information is influential financial, 
scientific, or statistical information, then, to the extent 
practicable, the DOE Element should provide for higher level review of 
the originating office's conclusions. Each DOE Element should identify 
for the CIO a high ranking official who is responsible for ensuring the 
accountability of the DOE Element's program offices in reviewing 
information to be disseminated to members of the public under the OMB 
and DOE guidelines.
    As a matter of good and effective information resources management, 
DOE Elements may develop and post on their websites supplemental 
guidelines for the process they will follow for reviewing the quality 
(including objectivity, utility and integrity) of information before it 
is disseminated. DOE Elements should treat information quality as 
integral to every step of development of information, including 
creation, collection, maintenance, and dissemination. This process will 
enable every DOE Element to substantiate the quality of the information 
it has disseminated through documentation or other means appropriate to 
the information.
    Paperwork Reduction Act. It is important that DOE Elements make use 
of OMB's Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) clearance process to help 
improve the quality of information that the DOE Elements collect and 
disseminate to the public. DOE Elements already are required to 
demonstrate in their PRA submissions to OMB the ``practical utility'' 
of a proposed collection of information the DOE Element plans to 
disseminate. Additionally, for all proposed collections of information 
that will be disseminated to the public, DOE Elements should evaluate 
the proposed collection in light of the OMB and DOE guidelines, and 
based on that evaluation, state in their PRA clearance submissions to 
OMB that the proposed collection of information will result in 
information that will be collected, maintained, and used in a way 
consistent with the OMB and DOE information quality guidelines.

2. Responding to Requests From Members of the Public

    To facilitate public review of information disseminated to the 
public, these Guidelines provide procedures allowing members of the 
public to seek and obtain correction of information disseminated to the 
public that does not comply with the quality provisions of the OMB and 
DOE guidelines. The procedures, set out in part IV below, provide 
separate mechanisms for information set forth or referenced in a DOE or 
DOE-sponsored document subject to public comment and all other DOE or 
DOE-sponsored information.

IV. Requests From Members of the Public for Correction of Publicly 
Disseminated Data

A. How Does a Member of the Public Request Correction of Publicly 
Disseminated Information?
    1. Requests from members of the public seeking correction of DOE or 
DOE-sponsored documents subject to public comment, rulemaking notices, 
and environmental impact statements.
    (A) With respect to information set forth or referenced with 
endorsement in a DOE or DOE-sponsored document subject to public 
comment on or after October 1, 2002, a member of the public must 
request correction within the comment period in a comment that:
    (1) Specifically identifies the information in question and the 
document(s) containing the information;
    (2) Explains with specificity the reasons why the information is 
inconsistent with the applicable quality standards in the OMB or DOE 
guidelines;
    (3) Presents substitute information, if any, with an explanation 
showing that such information is consistent with the applicable quality 
standards in the OMB and DOE guidelines; and
    (4) Justifies the necessity for, and the form of, the requested 
correction.
    (B) A member of the public must file a request for correction of a 
document subject to public comment at the address for comments set 
forth in DOE's notice providing for public comment.
    (C) If a member of the public requests correction of information 
set forth or referenced with endorsement in a document subject to 
public comment prior to publication of the final document and provides 
a justification of the necessity for an early response, DOE may 
consider providing a preliminary response including but not limited to 
a Federal Register notice describing the request for correction and 
reopening the comment period.
    (D) If a member of the public files a request for correction under 
paragraph IV.A.1 of these guidelines after the close of a comment 
period, DOE may consider the request to the same extent that DOE 
considers late-filed comments and time permits such consideration.
    (E) With respect to information that is set forth or referenced 
with

[[Page 62454]]

endorsement in a notice of final rulemaking or a final regulation 
disseminated on or after October 1, 2002, (regardless of when first 
disseminated and regardless of whether there was prior notice and 
opportunity for public comment), a member of the public:
    (1) Must file a request for correction with Office of the Chief 
Information Officer at the address provided in paragraph IV.A.2 of 
these guidelines;
    (2) Must include in such a request the content required by 
paragraph IV.A.1 of these guidelines; and
    (3) Must file such a request regarding the regulatory text or 
supporting information that would necessitate changes to the regulatory 
text as a petition for reconsideration or for regulatory amendments 
under 5 U.S.C. 553(e).
    (F) With respect to information set forth or referenced with 
endorsement in a final environmental impact statement (and any related 
portion of a Record of Decision) disseminated on or after October 1, 
2002, regardless of when first disseminated, a member of the public:
    (1) Must file a request for correction with the Office of the Chief 
Information Officer at the address provided in paragraph IV.A.2 of 
these guidelines;
    (2) Must include in such a request the content required by 
paragraph IV.A.1 of these guidelines; and
    (3) Must file such a request in the form of a petition for a 
supplemental environmental impact statement if the petitioner asserts 
that are significant new circumstances or information as provided for 
in 40 CFR 1502.9(c)(1)(ii).
    (G) With respect to information that is made subject to public 
comment on or after October 1, 2002, and that is set forth or 
referenced with endorsement in a DOE notice of final rulemaking or a 
final environmental impact statement (and any related portions of a 
Record of Decision), DOE may summarily deny a request for correction as 
untimely.
    (H) A member of the public who files a request for correction under 
paragraph IV.A.1 has the burden of justification with respect to the 
necessity for correction as well as with respect to the timing and type 
of correction requested.
    2. Requests from members of the public seeking correction of DOE or 
other DOE-sponsored documents.
    (A) With respect to information set forth or referenced with 
endorsement in a DOE or DOE-sponsored document that is disseminated on 
or after October 1, 2002, regardless of when the information was first 
disseminated, and that is not subject to paragraph IV.A.1 of these 
guidelines, a member of the public must request correction by letter to 
the Office of the Chief Information Officer, Attention: DOE Quality 
Guidelines, U.S. Department of Energy, Forrestal Building--Room 8H-089, 
1000 Independence Avenue NW., Washington, DC. 20585, or via Fax to 
(202) 586-7966, or by providing the information called for at the CIO 
Web site: http://cio.doe.gov/informationquality. This web site requests 
the information set forth in paragraph (B) below.
    (B) If a member of the public requests correction of DOE or DOE-
sponsored information by letter, addressed to the CIO, then the letter 
must:
    (1) Specifically identify the information in question and the 
document(s) containing the information;
    (2) Explain with specificity the reasons why the information is 
inconsistent with the applicable quality standards in the OMB 
Guidelines or DOE guidelines;
    (3) Present substitute information, if any, with an explanation 
showing that such information is consistent with the OMB guidelines and 
the DOE implementing guidelines; and
    (4) Justify the necessity for, and the form of, the requested 
correction.
    (C) A member of the public who files a request for correction under 
paragraph IV.A.2 has the burden of justification with respect to the 
necessity for correction as well as with respect to the type of 
correction requested.

B. How Does DOE Process Requests for Correction?

    1. Incomplete requests. If a request for correction is incomplete, 
DOE may seek clarification from the person submitting the request or 
return it without prejudice to resubmission.
    2. Public notice of a request for correction. In selected cases, 
DOE may publish notice of the receipt of a request for correction and 
may invite public comment.
    3. Participation by other interested persons. By letter, DOE may 
invite or allow other interested persons to comment on a request for 
correction.
    4. Initial decisions. If the request for correction concerns 
information that does not involve a document subject to public comment, 
then the originating office of the DOE Element responsible for 
dissemination of the information should provide at least an initial 
decision within 60 days from the date of receipt. The response should 
contain a statement of reasons for the disposition. If an initial 
decision on a request for correction under this paragraph requires more 
than 60 days, then the DOE Element should inform the requestor that 
more time is required and indicate the reason why and an estimated 
decision date.
    5. Administrative appeals. In the event DOE initially denies a 
request for correction of information not subject to public comment and 
the person who submitted the request would like additional review, then 
that person must submit a request for review, including a statement of 
reasons for modifying or reversing the initial decision, no later than 
30 days from the date of that decision. A request for review under this 
paragraph must be submitted by e-mail to dictrs.quid@hq.doe.gov or by 
regular mail to Office of the Chief Information Officer, Attention: DOE 
Quality Guidelines, U.S. Department of Energy, Forrestal Building--Room 
8H-089, 1000 Independence Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20585, or via Fax 
to (202) 586-7966. The CIO will direct the request for review to the 
DOE Element which supervises the originating DOE program office, and 
the DOE Element, with the concurrence of the Office of General Counsel, 
should issue a final decision for DOE (with a copy to the CIO) within 
60 days from the date that the request for review is received. If a 
final decision on a request for correction under this paragraph 
requires more than 60 days, then the DOE Element should inform the 
requestor that more time is required and indicate the reason why and an 
estimated decision date.
    6. Any corrective action will be determined by the nature and 
timeliness of the information, the magnitude of the error, and the cost 
of undertaking a correction. DOE Elements are not required to change, 
or in any way alter, the content or status of information simply based 
on the receipt of a request for correction. DOE Elements need not 
respond substantively to frivolous or repetitive requests for 
correction. Nor do DOE Elements have to respond substantively to 
requests that concern information not covered by the OMB or DOE 
Guidelines or from a person who has not justified the necessity for 
correction.
    7. If DOE determines that a request for correction of information 
not subject to public comment has merit, DOE may respond by correcting 
the information in question and without issuing a decision explaining 
the reasons for accepting the request.
    8. If DOE receives multiple requests for correction of information 
not subject to public comment, DOE may consolidate the requests and 
respond on a DOE web site, or by notice in the Federal Register, or by 
issuing a correction in similar form and manner as the original 
information was issued.

[[Page 62455]]

    9. If a member of the public complains about information set forth 
or referenced with endorsement in a DOE or DOE-sponsored document and 
does not request correction under the OMB and DOE guidelines, then the 
complaint is not subject to processing as a request for correction 
under those guidelines.
    10. If a member of the public requests correction of information 
first disseminated more than one year prior to the request and the 
information does not have a continuing significant impact on DOE 
projects or policy decisions or on important private sector decisions, 
DOE may regard the information as stale for purposes of responding to 
the request.
    11. DOE may devise additional procedures on a case-by-case basis as 
may be appropriate to process requests for correction.

V. DOE Reporting Requirements

    On an annual basis, the Office of the CIO (OCIO) will report to the 
Director of OMB on the requests for corrections received under these 
Guidelines. DOE elements must designate a reporting official, except as 
agreed otherwise between the DOE Element and the OCIO. The OCIO will 
work with the DOE Element reporting officials to develop the annual OMB 
report beginning January 1, 2004. The report will include the number of 
complaints received, nature of complaints (e.g., request for deletion 
or correction) and how they are resolved (i.e.g number corrected, 
denied, or pending review).

[FR Doc. 02-25402 Filed 10-4-02; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6450-01-P