Under Office of Management and Budget information quality requirements, individuals may challenge the accuracy of information disseminated by a federal agency and seek to have the information corrected. The NPS procedures for addressing challenges are found in Director's Order #11B: Ensuring Quality of Information Disseminated by the National Park Service. This Director's Order identifies the following process for challenging the quality of information disseminated by NPS:
Complaints About Information Quality. Affected people may use these four methods to notify the NPS of their complaints:
1. Informally discuss their complaint in person with park or program office staff, providing information in the form of written documents or oral presentations.
2. Informally direct complaints about the quality of disseminated information to the superintendent of the park or manager of the program office responsible for disseminating the information.
3. Formally direct complaints about the quality of disseminated information by mail to the NPS Washington Administrative Program Center, attention: Correspondence Control Unit (CCU), 1201 Eye Street NW, Washington, DC 20005. The complainant should use the subject: “Complaint About Information Quality” so that it may be clearly recognizable to those managing the process.
4. Formally e-mail complaints about the quality of disseminated information to Doris Lowery at email@example.com. The complainant should use the subject: “Complaint About Information Quality” so that it may be clearly recognizable to those managing the process.
A request for formal informational correction must include the following:
1. A written statement that the person is seeking correction of information disseminated by the National Park Service and the specific reasons for believing the information fails to meet OMB or DOI standards, along with supporting documentation, if any.
2. Name, mailing address, telephone number, email address (if applicable) and organizational affiliation, if any, of the individual making the complaint. Organizations submitting a complaint should identify one individual to serve as the primary contact.
3. A detailed description of the specific material in question, including where the material is located (that is, publication title, date, and publication number, if any, or the website and web page address).
4. A description of how the person submitting the complaint is affected by the informational error.
5. The specific recommendations for corrective action.
Processing Complaints. The CCU will route complaints they receive to the park or office that disseminated the information and track response to assure that it complies with the requirements of Director's Order #11B. The park or office receiving the complaint, regardless of the manner of receipt, will notify the complainant of receipt within 10 working days. The disseminating office will evaluate the complaint within 60 calendar days of the day it is received by the NPS, in accordance with the OMB guidelines, and notify the complainant as to whether the information has been corrected, deleted, or confirmed to be accurate.
A second complaint received before the issuance of a 60 calendar day notice for an overlapping complaint under review will be treated with simultaneous consideration, and the second complainant will be notified within 10 working days that an analysis is in progress and advised of its status. The earlier and later complaints will be combined, and a combined 60 calendar day finding will be issued based on the date of the first complaint. If the second identical complaint on the same subject is received after a 60 calendar day notice has been issued, then the second complaint will require a new and separate review, however recent. Unless substantial new information has been submitted, the 60 calendar day finding for the earlier complaint shall suffice and should be relatively easy to produce.
In 2007, the NPS formally received one request for correction. Samuel W. Plauche of GordonDerr LLP submitted a request on August 28, 2007 that the NPS correct information contained in a Point Reyes National Seashore news report called "Drakes Estero, A Sheltered Wilderness Estuary." (Mr. Plauche's letter may be viewed online at www.nps.gov/policy/Plaucheltr.pdf.) By the time NPS had received this request, NPS already had removed the subject report from the NPS website (July 23, 2007) and had posted a correction on the website (July 25, 2007). NPS later removed an additional component from the website (September 6, 2007). On October 23, 2007, NPS sent the following letter of response to Mr. Plauche:
October 23, 2007
Mr. Samuel W. Plauché
2025 First Avenue, Suite 500
Seattle, Washington 98121-3140
Dear Mr. Plauché:
On August 28, 2007, you submitted to the National Park Service (NPS) a request pursuant to the Information Quality Act (IQA) for correction of information in a Point Reyes National Seashore news report called Drakes Estero, A Sheltered Wilderness Estuary. (See footnote 1)
Prior to your complaint, on July 23, 2007, Point Reyes National Seashore had already removed the report from its website (http://www.nps.gov/pore). In addition, NPS posted a correction on July 25, 2007, on our website acknowledging the error regarding sedimentation and fish species abundance (correction is attached). To ensure the correction was accurate regarding sedimentation and oyster operations, the acknowledgment of correction was approved by the author of the report, Dr. Roberto Anima, United States Geological Survey. On September 6, 2007, NPS also removed the "teaser" page described in the second paragraph of part VI.1.f of your complaint. (See footnote 2)
As a result of the controversy that has developed over the effects on Drakes Estero of the operations of the Drakes Bay Oyster Company, NPS has initiated an independent scientific peer review of the body of scientific studies to ensure that the most current and accurate information is correctly presented to the public. NPS will not release any new version of the report before the review is complete.
Although NPS did not take these actions because of your IQA complaint, the removal of the report, the posting of the correction, and the initiation of the independent scientific peer review all respond to your request for correction. This peer review process is not required by the IQA. We expect, however, that it will address your concerns regarding accuracy, objectivity, transparency, and timeliness.
Accordingly, NPS finds that the concerns in your IQA complaint are moot and no further correction is warranted. If, at the conclusion of the peer review process you believe that the concerns raised in your IQA complaint have not been addressed, you may submit a new complaint.
Please note, however, that the IQA, the OMB Guidelines, and Director's Order 11B provide only for the correction of information. Much of the relief requested in your current complaint goes beyond that and will not be available under these authorities.
If you wish to appeal this response, you may appeal to the NPS Director pursuant to Director's Order 11B. The Director will make a decision on your appeal within 60 calendar days.
/s/ Jonathan B. Jarvis
Jonathan B. Jarvis
Regional Director, Pacific West Region
(Footnote 1: Your request was submitted on behalf of five complainants. Based on your complaint, it does not appear that the Marin County Farm Bureau or Marin Organic would qualify as "affected persons" under the IQA with respect to this report. The complaint provides no explanation or support for their belief that the loss of the oyster farm would somehow affect farmland surrounding the Estero and elsewhere in Marin County nor, indeed, is the loss of the oyster farm even at issue in your complaint. It is also questionable whether the Pacific Institute qualifies, since it has suffered no actual effect and relies solely on its general interest in scientific integrity. Because the other complainants qualify as "affected persons," we do not need to decide these issues, which do not affect the ultimate disposition of your complaint.)
(Footnote 2: Though our removal of this page moots the issue, the arguments in part VI.1.f of your complaint concerning the descriptions of the legal status of Drakes Estero are beyond the scope of the IQA. The IQA, as explained in the OMB Guidelines, deals with dissemination of "knowledge such as facts or data." 67 Fed. Reg. 8,452, 8,460 (Feb. 22, 2002). It does not provide a forum for offering alternative interpretations of law.)
The NPS received no requests in 2008 for correction of information quality.
The NPS received no requests in 2009 for correction of information quality.
In 2010 the NPS formally received one request for correction of information quality. On December 29, 2010 Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility requested that the NPS rescind the April 2010 Big Cypress National Preserve Addition Wilderness Eligibility Assessment or re-issue it in draft form subject to rigorous peer review in order to allow public involvement as stipulated in section 220.127.116.11 of NPS Management Policies 2006. The complaint may be viewed online at www.nps.gov/policy/IQ-PEERcomplaint12-29-10.pdf. The NPS provided an interim response to PEER on February 23, 2011. The interim response may be viewed online at www.nps.gov/policy/IQ-PEERinterim4-1-11.pdf. The final response was issued June 9, 2011. It may be viewed online at www.nps.gov/policy/IQ-PEER-BICY-6-9-11.pdf.
On June 29, 2011, PEER filed an appeal of the NPS’s June 9, 2011, response to PEER’s 2010 request for correction of information quality regarding the Big Cypress National Preserve Addition Wilderness Eligibility Assessment. PEER’s appeal may be viewed online at www.nps.gov/policy/IQ-PEER-BICY-appeal.pdf. NPS Director Jon Jarvis’s September 30, 2011 response may be viewed online at http://www.nps.gov/policy/PEER-BICY-response.pdf.
On August 7, 2012, Cause of Action submitted a request for correction of information quality regarding the following two documents: Draft Environmental Impact Statement: Drakes Bay Oyster Company Special Use Permit (Sept. 2011) and Atkins North America, Final Report on Peer Review of the Science Used in the National Park Service’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement: Drakes Bay Oyster Company Special Use Permit (Mar. 2012). The complaint may be viewed online at www.nps.gov/policy/IQ-Cause-Complaint-08-07-12.pdf. NPS Information Collection Clearance Officer Madonna Baucum’s August 20, 2012 interim response may be viewed online at www.nps.gov/policy/IQ-Cause-Interim-08-20-12.pdf. The National Park Service Regional Director’s October 3, 2012 final response may be viewed online at www.nps.gov/policy/IQ-Cause-Final-10-03-12.pdf. On October 16, 2012, Cause of Action submitted an appeal, which may be viewed online at www.nps.gov/policy/IQ-Cause-Appeal-10-16-12.pdf. The National Park Service Director’s December 21, 2012 response may be viewed online at www.nps.gov/policy/IQ-Cause-Response-12-21-12.pdf.
On May 30, 2013, Plauche and Carr submitted a complaint about, and request for correction of information contained in, the Draft and Final Environmental Impact Statements regarding a possible Drakes Bay Oyster Company Special Use Permit. This complaint may be viewed online at www.nps.gov/policy/IQ-Plauche-Complaint-5-30-13.pdf. National Park Service Regional Director Christine S. Lehnertz replied to this complaint on August 1, 2013. This response may be viewed online at www.nps.gov/policy/IQ-Plauche-Response-8-1-13.pdf.