Interim Report Implementing Updates to the Department of Energy's Information Quality Act Guidelines, 53124-53132 [2019-21662]

Download as PDF 53124 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 193 / Friday, October 4, 2019 / Notices Approved: September 11, 2019. D.J. Antenucci, Commander, Judge Advocate General’s Corps, U.S. Navy, Federal Register Liaison Officer. [FR Doc. 2019–21639 Filed 10–3–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3810–FF–P DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Environmental Management SiteSpecific Advisory Board, Idaho Cleanup Project; Meeting Office of Environmental Management, Department of Energy. ACTION: Notice of open meeting. AGENCY: This notice announces a meeting of the Environmental Management Site-Specific Advisory Board (EM SSAB), Idaho Cleanup Project. The Federal Advisory Committee Act requires that public notice of this meeting be announced in the Federal Register. DATES: Thursday, October 24, 2019; 8:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m. The opportunities for public comment are at 9:45 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. This time is subject to change; please contact the Federal Coordinator (below) for confirmation of times prior to the meeting. ADDRESSES: Teton Mountain Lodge, 3385 Cody Lane, Teton Village, WY 83025. SUMMARY: Brad Bugger, Federal Coordinator, U.S. Department of Energy, Idaho Operations Office, 1955 Fremont Avenue, MS– 1203, Idaho Falls, Idaho 83415. Phone (208) 526–0833; or email: buggerbp@ id.doe.gov or visit the Board’s internet home page at: https://energy.gov/em/ icpcab/. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Purpose of the Board: The purpose of the Board is to make recommendations to DOE–EM and site management in the areas of environmental restoration, waste management, and related activities. Tentative Topics (agenda topics may change up to the day of the meeting; please contact Brad Bugger for the most current agenda): • Recent Public Outreach • Idaho Cleanup Project (ICP) Overview • Update on Integrated Waste Treatment Unit (IWTU) • Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Project (AMWTP) Closure and Status of Transuranic Waste Program • Subsurface Disposal Area (SDA) Cap Design Complete • Board Discussion of Calcine Subcommittee Future Work khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:49 Oct 03, 2019 Jkt 250001 • Board Perspectives on National Cleanup Workshop Public Participation: The meeting is open to the public. The EM SSAB, Idaho Cleanup Project, welcomes the attendance of the public at its advisory committee meetings and will make every effort to accommodate persons with physical disabilities or special needs. If you require special accommodations due to a disability, please contact Brad Bugger at least seven days in advance of the meeting at the telephone number listed above. Written statements may be filed with the Board either before or after the meeting. Individuals who wish to make oral presentations pertaining to agenda items should contact Brad Bugger at the address or telephone number listed above. The request must be received five days prior to the meeting and reasonable provision will be made to include the presentation in the agenda. The Deputy Designated Federal Officer is empowered to conduct the meeting in a fashion that will facilitate the orderly conduct of business. Individuals wishing to make public comments will be provided a maximum of five minutes to present their comments. Minutes: Minutes will be available by writing or calling Brad Bugger, Federal Coordinator, at the address and telephone number listed above. Minutes will also be available at the following website: https://energy.gov/em/icpcab/ listings/cab-meetings. Signed in Washington, DC, on October 1, 2019. LaTanya Butler, Deputy Committee Management Officer. [FR Doc. 2019–21670 Filed 10–3–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450–01–P DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Interim Report Implementing Updates to the Department of Energy’s Information Quality Act Guidelines Office of the Chief Information Officer, Department of Energy. ACTION: Notice of availability and request for comment. AGENCY: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) gives notice of an interim report to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on the DOE Information Quality Act (IQA) Guidelines setting forth updates to DOE’s 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 interim report pursuant to OMB Memorandum M–19– SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00027 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 15, Improving Implementation of the Information Quality Act, issued April 24, 2019, which requires federal departments and agencies to update their existing IQA Guidelines to address implementation updates and additional best practices. DOE invites public comment on the interim report and draft updates to the DOE IQA Guidelines. DATES: DOE will accept comments regarding this interim report and draft guidelines no later than November 4, 2019. See section II, ‘‘Public Participation,’’ for details. ADDRESSES: The interim DOE report and guidelines in this notice are available on the website of the DOE Chief Information Officer (CIO) at https:// www.energy.gov/cio/department-energyinformation-quality-guidelines. Interested persons are encouraged to submit comments using the Federal eRulemaking Portal at https:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. Alternatively, interested persons may submit written comments, by mail to: Brooke Dickson, Office of the Chief Information Officer, U.S. Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue SW, Room 8H–089, Washington, DC 20585, or by email at DOEPRA@ hq.doe.gov. No telefacsimilies (faxes) will be accepted. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Requests for additional information should be directed to Brooke Dickson at DOEPRA@hq.doe.gov or by telephone at (202) 287–5786. A copy of the interim IQA Guidelines is included in this Notice and is also posted on the DOE website at https://www.energy.gov/cio/ department-energy-information-qualityguidelines. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Introduction and Background The Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) issued the Guidelines for Ensuring and Maximizing the Quality, Objectivity, Utility, and Integrity of Information Disseminated by Federal Agencies (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) (OMB Guidelines). Pursuant to the OMB Guidelines, the DOE published its Final Report containing the Departmental version of the Guidelines in the Federal Register on October 7, 2002 (67 FR 62446) (DOE IQA Guidelines). DOE’s IQA Guidelines provide guidance to Departmental Elements (i.e., major DOE offices) on maximizing the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of information (including statistical E:\FR\FM\04OCN1.SGM 04OCN1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 193 / Friday, October 4, 2019 / Notices information) disseminated to the public; establish mechanisms for the public to seek and request administrative correction of disseminated information; and explain how the Chief Information Officer will comply with OMB’s annual reporting requirement concerning complaints from members of the public. On April 24, 2019, OMB issued Memorandum M–19–15, Improving Implementation of the Information Quality Act, requiring federal departments and agencies to update their existing IQA Guidelines to address implementation updates and additional best practices. DOE is issuing an interim report that includes proposed updates to the DOE IQA Guidelines to align with the requirements of OMB M–19–15. This interim update has been approved by the Secretary of Energy and posted to the DOE IQA website located at https:// www.energy.gov/cio/department-energyinformation-quality-guidelines. The interim update outlines the Department’s compliance with appropriate and acceptable OMB M–19– 15 implementation updates. DOE invites public comment on the interim report and draft updates to the DOE IQA Guidelines. DOE plans to issue its final and updated IQA Guidelines after consideration of public comments received on the draft guidelines. II. Public Participation khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES Submission of Comments DOE will accept comments and information regarding these proposed updates no later than the date provided in the DATES section at the beginning of this notice. Interested parties may submit comments using any of the methods described in the ADDRESSES section at the beginning of this notice. Submitting comments via https:// www.regulations.gov. The https:// www.regulations.gov web page will require you to provide your name and contact information. Your contact information will be viewable to DOE staff only. Your contact information will not be publicly viewable except for your first and last names, organization name (if any), and submitter representative name (if any). If your comment is not processed properly because of technical difficulties, DOE will use this information to contact you. If DOE cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, DOE may not be able to consider your comment. However, your contact information will be publicly viewable if you include it in the comment or in any documents attached to your comment. Any VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:49 Oct 03, 2019 Jkt 250001 information that you do not want to be publicly viewable should not be included in your comment, nor in any document attached to your comment. Persons viewing comments will see only first and last names, organization names, correspondence containing comments, and any documents submitted with the comments. Do not submit to https:// www.regulations.gov information for which disclosure is restricted by statute, such as trade secrets and commercial or financial information (hereafter referred to as Confidential Business Information (CBI)). Comments submitted through http://www.regulations.gov cannot be claimed as CBI. Comments received through the website will waive any CBI claims for the information submitted. DOE processes submissions made through https://www.regulations.gov before posting. Normally, comments will be posted within a few days of being submitted. However, if large volumes of comments are being processed simultaneously, your comment may not be viewable for up to several weeks. Please keep the comment tracking number that http:// www.regulations.gov provides after you have successfully uploaded your comment. Submitting comments via email or mail. Comments and documents submitted via email or mail also will be posted to https://www.regulations.gov. If you do not want your personal contact information to be publicly viewable, do not include it in your comment or any accompanying documents. Instead, provide your contact information on a cover letter. Include your first and last names, email address, telephone number, and optional mailing address. The cover letter will not be publicly viewable as long as it does not include any comments. Include contact information each time you submit comments, data, documents, and other information to DOE. If you submit via mail, please provide all items on a CD, if feasible. It is not necessary to submit printed copies. No facsimiles (faxes) will be accepted. Comments, data, and other information submitted to DOE electronically should be provided in PDF (preferred), Microsoft Word or Excel, WordPerfect, or text (ASCII) file format. Provide documents that are not secured, written in English and free of any defects or viruses. Documents should not contain special characters or any form of encryption and, if possible, they should carry the electronic signature of the author. It is DOE’s policy that all comments may be included in the public docket, PO 00000 Frm 00028 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 53125 without change and as received, including any personal information provided in the comments (except information deemed to be exempt from public disclosure). Signed in Washington, DC, on September 27, 2019. Mark Kneidinger, Principal Deputy Chief Information Officer, Office of the Chief Information Officer, U.S. Department of Energy. Interim Update to the Department of Energy Guidelines for Ensuring and Maximizing the Quality, Objectivity, Utility, and Integrity of Information Disseminated by the Department of Energy Introduction The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued Memorandum M–19–15, Improving Implementation of the Information Quality Act, on April 24, 2019, requiring federal departments and agencies to update their existing Information Quality Act (IQA) Guidelines to address implementation updates and additional best practices. This is an interim update to the Department of Energy’s (DOE or Department) final report pursuant to OMB’s Guidelines for Ensuring and Maximizing the Quality, Objectivity, Utility, and Integrity of Information Disseminated by Federal Agencies (OMB IQA 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 Final Report, hereafter referred to as the DOE IQA Guidelines, was published in the Federal Register on October 7, 2002 (67 FR 62446). The Department is issuing this interim update of its IQA Guidelines that includes proposed updates to the DOE IQA Guidelines to align with the requirements of OMB M–19–15, Improving Implementation of the Information Quality Act, April 24, 2019. The Department commits to updating its IQA Guidelines pursuant to the Implementation Updates requirements outlined in OMB M–19–15. The Department plans to issue its final and updated IQA Guidelines after consideration of public comments received on these draft guidelines after a public comment period. 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 E:\FR\FM\04OCN1.SGM 04OCN1 53126 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 193 / Friday, October 4, 2019 / Notices khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES laboratories with active scientific research programs. DOE also disseminates a large volume of statistical reports through its Energy Information Administration (EIA). 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 and OMB M– 19–15 Implementation Updates 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. EIA 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 (EERE) 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 draft updates to DOE IQA Guidelines set forth below are modeled on the Implementation Update requirements of OMB M–19–15 to augment the original standard of quality (including objectivity, utility, and integrity) in the development and dissemination of DOE or DOEsponsored information to the public introduced in the DOE IQA Guidelines published in 2002. The updates also review the procedures that DOE has traditionally followed to review information products for adequate quality. The DOE IQA Guidelines continue to provide a uniform set of procedures for members of the public who wish to request correction. These procedures 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. Section 515 establishes procedures and performance goals for the internal management of the Executive Branch. While seeking to VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:49 Oct 03, 2019 Jkt 250001 establish a process that assures that DOE is attentive to the issue of information quality, neither section 515 nor the OMB IQA Guidelines nor DOE’s own IQA Guidelines provide for judicially manageable standards regarding the quality of information that the agency may disseminate. Therefore, neither section 515 nor the OMB IQA Guidelines nor DOE’s IQA Guidelines create private rights or contemplate judicial oversight of its directives through judicial review. The Department complies with OMB annual reporting on IQA management. This interim update to the DOE IQA Guidelines is prepared by the DOE Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO), who is responsible for coordinating DOE’s response to OMB’s IQA Guidelines, in cooperation with other affected DOE offices. This interim update has been through Departmental clearance and is posted to the DOE IQA website located at https:// www.energy.gov/cio/department-energyinformation-quality-guidelines. DOE invites public comment on the draft updates to the DOE IQA Guidelines. DOE plans to issue its final updated IQA Guidelines after consideration of public comments received on the draft updates. Interim 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), known as the Information Quality Act (IQA), 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 Department issued its final report and guidelines on October 7, 2002 (67 FR 62446). Pursuant to OMB Memorandum M–19–15, Improving Implementation of the Information Quality Act April 24, 2019, the Department is updating its IQA Guidelines to align with M–19–15 Implementation Update requirements. This interim update to DOE’s IQA Guidelines is issued by the Department’s Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO). DOE’s IQA Guidelines are intended to provide guidance to Departmental Elements (i.e., major DOE offices) on maximizing the PO 00000 Frm 00029 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of information, including statistical information, disseminated to the public. The updates to DOE’s IQA Guidelines are modeled on the OMB M–19–15 Implementation Update criteria with modifications specific to DOE. DOE invites public comment on the interim report and draft interim update to the DOE IQA Guidelines. A final version of the Department’s updated Information Quality Guidelines will be published after Departmental consideration and adjudication of received public comments. The principal updates to DOE’s IQA Guidelines based on OMB M–19–15 are as follows: 1. Influential information. OMB M– 19–15 Implementation Update 1.1 directed agencies to identify specific types of information the agency produces that are ‘‘influential’’ and to provide a rigorous process for determining whether types of information not specifically listed by the guidelines qualify as ‘‘influential.’’ In the 2002 final report on the DOE IQA Guidelines, DOE included its own definition of ‘‘influential’’ when that term is applied to financial, scientific, or statistical information. Under the OMB IQA Guidelines, ‘‘influential’’ information should 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. DOE revisited its parameters for identifying ‘‘influential information,’’ as instructed by OMB–M–19–15, and believes that, consistent with the OMB directive, DOE’s definition of ‘‘influential information’’ provides sufficient guidance for program managers for determining the amount and type of pre-dissemination review necessary. In addition, DOE has extended the option to DOE Elements to tailor DOE’s definition of ‘‘influential information’’ to meet their program requirements to ensure that high standards of quality are maintained for all information products aimed at the public. For example, EIA adopted DOE’s definition of ‘‘influential information’’ and supplemented their application of the definition to include the associated requirements of ‘‘reproducibility’’ and E:\FR\FM\04OCN1.SGM 04OCN1 khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 193 / Friday, October 4, 2019 / Notices ‘‘transparency.’’ 1 EIA’s expansion of the DOE definition was necessary to ensure that important energy products that would not have been included under DOE’s definition were subject to the same high standards for utility, transparency, and reproducibly. DOE OCIO will establish a review process for DOE Elements who elect to modify and adopt an Element-specific version of the DOE definition of ‘‘influential’’ information. 2. Peer review. DOE complies with OMB’s Final Information Quality Bulletin for Peer Review, which states that ‘‘peer review typically evaluates the clarity of hypotheses, the validity of the research design, the quality of data collection procedures, the robustness of the methods employed, the appropriateness of the methods for the hypotheses being tested, the extent to which the conclusions follow from the analysis, and the strengths and limitations of the overall product,’’ 70 FR 2664–2665 (Jan. 14, 2005). DOE Elements, along with National Laboratories, may use peer review panels or comparable assessment processes, to objectively evaluate programmatic, technical, scientific, business methods, analytic results, and other findings. DOE Elements may rely on internal or external peer review panels and processes to make these evaluations. In cases where previously determined influential information has changed significantly, the DOE Element with authority over the data should consider whether a second peer review panel or comparable assessment process should be convened to evaluate the objectivity and reliability of the changed data, as appropriate given the program’s intended use of the modified information. 3. Privacy and confidentiality of data. Existing Federal Government policy requires agencies to ensure that privacy and confidentiality are fully protected in data and information that is made publicly available, known as ‘‘open data.’’ DOE Elements must ensure that both raw information and analytic results that are covered by these Guidelines, including influential information, does not identify specific individuals or place confidentiality at risk. DOE Elements are directed to work with the Department’s Privacy Program office, legal counsel, and other appropriate subject matter experts to ensure that information is appropriately and adequately managed and protected consistent with applicable laws, regulations, and policies regarding 1 https://www.eia.gov/about/information_quality_ guidelines.php VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:49 Oct 03, 2019 Jkt 250001 confidentiality, appropriate access and use, and security and privacy practices. 4. Open data and re-use of data. Open data is a core principle of OMB M–19– 15 and has been a federal governmentwide standard since 2009. The Department has an established open data program and maintains a website, located at https://www.energy.gov/data/ open-energy-data, to enable public access to released DOE open data sets. DOE Elements both disseminate data that is re-used across a variety of sectors and utilize open data and other data sources to inform Departmental analyses. In addressing OMB M–19–15 Implementation Updates pertaining to open data, the Department elected to rely on established open data processes while strengthening the importance of documentation and transparency and source documentation to support informed selection of data and to enable accountability in the ‘‘downstream’’ or secondary use of data. 5. Transparency, open code, data reproducibility, confidentiality, and applicability to non-government data. Multiple OMB M–19–15 Implementation Updates focus on the principles of transparency and reproducibility. Several legal and policy updates have occurred since the publication of the 2002 IQA Guidelines. Data standards and architectures have been developed to manage data, which provide transparency for agencies into data creation, collection, usage, transfer, and dissemination. Open data requirements promulgated by OMB have required agencies to identify data sets and data collections with broad utility outside of their source agency. In 2016, OMB established policies for making Federal-source code publicly available. DOE complies with both legal and policy requirements for making source code available, consistent with applicable law and policy. 6. Request for correction processing timelines and appeals requests. Upon consideration of OMB M–19–15 implementation Updates 4.1–4.5, DOE reaffirms its previously established timelines for the Request for Correction and appeals process under its IQA Guidelines. DOE’s 60-day response deadline is significantly shorter than the 120 days suggested by OMB M–19–15. Since DOE’s IQA Guidelines were issued in 2002, DOE has received only one Request for Correction. DOE responded to the request consistent with its current guidelines, offering a response to the requestor’s data quality arguments, and in doing so did not take a policy position. The requestor has not appealed DOE’s response. To ensure the integrity of the appeals process, DOE PO 00000 Frm 00030 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 53127 has added to its Request for Correction appeals process that the DOE Element must ensure that those individuals reviewing and responding to an appeals request were not involved in the review and initial response to the Request for Correction. DOE OCIO will consider coordinating draft responses to received requests for correction with OMB appropriate to the received request. The updated DOE IQA Guidelines maintain DOE’s existing 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 reporting requirement concerning complaints from members of the public. II. Introduction The DOE OCIO 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 DOE OCIO has sought to avoid the problems that would be inherent in developing detailed, prescriptive, ‘‘onesize-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. E:\FR\FM\04OCN1.SGM 04OCN1 53128 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 193 / Friday, October 4, 2019 / Notices khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES 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, machinereadable 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. Open data means publicly available data that are made available consistent with relevant privacy, confidentiality, security, and other valid access, use, and dissemination restrictions, and are structured in a way that enables the data to be fully discoverable and usable by end users. Generally, open data are consistent with principles, explained in OMB guidance, of such data being public, accessible, machine-readable, VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:49 Oct 03, 2019 Jkt 250001 described, reusable, complete, timely, and managed post-release. 9. Quality means utility, objectivity, and integrity. 10. 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. 11. 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. 12. 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 under the control of DOE. 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 PO 00000 Frm 00031 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 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. Applicability to information from a non-Federal government source. These Guidelines apply to information under the control and management of the Department and its Element offices. Information is not under the control of the Department if the Department is not granted the authority to modify or change such data without the consent of the original source. In the interest of transparency or public awareness, DOE may make publicly available information provided by a non-Federal government source. For example, the Department may post on its website information regarding Native American Tribal infrastructure projects utilizing DOE-provided energy grants. Such information is produced and owned by the participating Tribal entities and made available to a broader audience through the DOE website, but DOE does not have authority to change or modify the data. 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 interagency 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; (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 E:\FR\FM\04OCN1.SGM 04OCN1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 193 / Friday, October 4, 2019 / Notices khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES 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 website to document historical DOE actions); and (10) Communications intended to be limited to government employees or DOE contractors or grantees. (11) Social medial or blog posts containing information a DOE Element has disseminated elsewhere. 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? 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. When using non-government sources to create information, specifically influential information, DOE Elements must provide sufficient information about the characteristics of the data and any analysis, including scope, protocols, and any information relevant to ensure objectivity in the use of non-government data in products, evaluations, or policies disseminated by the Department or a DOE Element. In VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:49 Oct 03, 2019 Jkt 250001 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 Elementsponsored 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 found in OMB’s Final Information Quality Bulletin for Peer Review, issued in December 2004 and posted at (https:// www.whitehouse.gov/sites/ whitehouse.gov/files/omb/memoranda/ 2005/m05-03.pdf)) DOE Elements should comply with OMB’s Final Information Quality Bulletin for Peer Review. When conducting peer review, reviewers are expected to evaluate both the objectivity of the underlying data and the sensitivity of the conclusions to analytic assumptions. In cases where previously determined influential information has changed significantly, the DOE Element with authority over the data should consider whether a second peer review panel or comparable assessment process should be convened to evaluate the objectivity and reliability of the changed data, as appropriate given the program’s intended use of the modified information. Influential information. If a DOE Element is responsible for disseminating and disseminates influential scientific, statistical, or 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 PO 00000 Frm 00032 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 53129 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.’’ DOE Elements may tailor DOE’s definition of ‘‘influential information’’ to meet their program requirements and to ensure that high standards of quality are maintained for all information products aimed at the public. 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 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 E:\FR\FM\04OCN1.SGM 04OCN1 khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES 53130 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 193 / Friday, October 4, 2019 / Notices 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. Transparency of data and sources. With regard to analytic results, DOE Elements generally should demonstrate sufficient transparency about data and methods that an independent reanalysis 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. Further, DOE Elements should, to the extent possible, consistent with security, privacy, intellectual property, VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:49 Oct 03, 2019 Jkt 250001 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. While DOE Elements should consider the potential for using existing data sources, both internal and external to DOE, for statistical and research purposes, it is critical that data should have full, accurate, transparent documentation, and possible sources of error affecting data quality should be identified and disclosed to users. If a DOE Element utilizes information originally collected or developed by another Federal agency and makes that information available to the public, the DOE Element will indicate the origin of the information and note that the originating Federal agency is responsible for the quality of the information. When a DOE Element has performed analysis using a specialized set of computer code, the computer code used to process it should be made available to the public for further analysis, if consistent with applicable law and policy. Exceptions may arise when the code itself contains confidential information relating to the application of data protection methodologies, or DOE Elements are restricted from publicly releasing or disclosing any proprietary data. In such circumstances, DOE Elements should release a description of the data sources and/or methodology, and how the methodology is applied in the estimation process to maintain transparency of the published estimates. Protection of privacy and confidentiality in data. Federal agencies, including DOE, collect, use, maintain, and disseminate information that may include personally identifiable information (PII). In addition to PII, DOE Elements may collect, use, and disseminate confidential information that includes proprietary business, technical, or financial information belonging to other Government agencies, other countries, or private sector or non-profit companies or organizations. DOE Elements should ensure that any data used or disseminated by or on behalf of the Department is protected consistent with statutory, regulatory, and policy requirements for privacy and confidentiality, proprietary data, and confidential business information. DOE Office of the CIO, in conjunction with DOE Elements, will explore methods that provide broader access to data sets PO 00000 Frm 00033 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 while maintaining protections for PII and confidentiality in the use and disclosure of data. New methodologies for data access should be consistent with principles for ethnical governance, the employment of sound security and privacy practices to safeguard the identity of individuals, while ensuring appropriate access and use. If a DOE Element is considering secondary analysis of data that includes personally identifiable information, the DOE Element should coordinate with the DOE Senior Agency Official for Privacy, the DOE Chief Privacy Officer, and the DOE Program Office to meet all privacy requirements and manage privacy risks. 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. The DOE IQA Guidelines website will provide a central repository for DOE Element supplemental guidance related to quality review processes. 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 information that the DOE Elements collect and disseminate to the public. DOE Elements already are required to demonstrate in their PRA E:\FR\FM\04OCN1.SGM 04OCN1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 193 / Friday, October 4, 2019 / Notices 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. DOE Elements should consider and plan for any potential re-use or re-purposing of information in data collection systems, known as ‘‘downstream uses.’’ In developing a PRA information collection, DOE Elements should add language to published public comment notices that identify potential downstream uses and potential impacts and uses and seek public comment on the anticipated downstream uses. 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 khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES 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 [DATE OF ISSUANCE OF FINAL DOE IQA GUIDELINES], 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 VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:49 Oct 03, 2019 Jkt 250001 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 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; PO 00000 Frm 00034 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 53131 (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 SW, Washington, DC 20585, or via Fax to (202) 586–0262, or by providing the information called for at the DOE Information Quality website: https://www.energy.gov/cio/ department-energy-information-qualityguidelines. This website outlines the Department’s process for submitting a request for correction under these Guidelines as 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 E:\FR\FM\04OCN1.SGM 04OCN1 53132 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 193 / Friday, October 4, 2019 / Notices khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES (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. (D) Requests from members of the public seeking correction of non-DOE information. (1) DOE Elements may collect, use, and make available information from various sources and data owners. Elements must identify and highlight original sources of information when such information is used to create or modify influential information. (2) If the Department receives a request for correction involving nonDOE controlled information, the following applies: (a) The Department cannot correct or modify information that is owned or made available on behalf of the original data owner, such as a tribal nation. (b) The Department will identify the specific information exempt from the correction process through a written response to the requester. 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. The DOE Element’s response should contain a point-by-point response to any data quality arguments contained in the RFC and should refer to any relevant peer review that directly considered the issue VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:49 Oct 03, 2019 Jkt 250001 being raised, if available. In responding to an RFC, the DOE Element should not opine on the requestor’s or DOE’s policy position. 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 email to DOEPRA@ 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 SW, Washington, DC 20585, or via Fax to (202) 586–0262. 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 the 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. To ensure the integrity of the appeals process, the DOE Element should ensure that those individuals reviewing and responding to the appeals request were not involved in the review and initial response to the RFC. 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. Determination of merit. 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 PO 00000 Frm 00035 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 explaining the reasons for accepting the request. 8. Multiple requests for correction. If DOE receives multiple requests for correction of information not subject to public comment, DOE may consolidate the requests and respond on a DOE website, or by notice in the Federal Register, or by issuing a correction in similar form and manner as the original information was issued. 9. Applicability of the request for correction to the Guidelines. If a member of the public complains about information set forth or referenced with endorsement in a DOE or DOEsponsored 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. Timeliness of the request for correction. 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. Additional procedures. DOE may devise additional procedures on a caseby-case basis as may be appropriate to process requests for correction. V. IQA Reporting Requirements. On an annual basis, the Department will report to the Director of OMB on the requests for corrections received under these Guidelines through a process managed by OMB. The OCIO will serve as the Departmental lead for this report. DOE Elements must designate a reporting official, except as agreed otherwise between the DOE Element and the OCIO. The report will include the location of the Department’s IQA web page, the number of complaints received for the previous fiscal year, and a detailed description of the nature of submitted complaints (e.g., request for deletion or correction) and the resolution of complaints (e.g., number corrected, denied, or pending review). [FR Doc. 2019–21662 Filed 10–3–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450–01–P DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY DOE/NSF Nuclear Science Advisory Committee Office of Science, Department of Energy. ACTION: Notice of renewal. AGENCY: E:\FR\FM\04OCN1.SGM 04OCN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 193 (Friday, October 4, 2019)]
[Notices]
[Pages 53124-53132]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-21662]


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DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY


Interim Report Implementing Updates to the Department of Energy's 
Information Quality Act Guidelines

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

ACTION: Notice of availability and request for comment.

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SUMMARY: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) gives notice of an interim 
report to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on the DOE 
Information Quality Act (IQA) Guidelines setting forth updates to DOE's 
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 interim report pursuant to 
OMB Memorandum M-19-15, Improving Implementation of the Information 
Quality Act, issued April 24, 2019, which requires federal departments 
and agencies to update their existing IQA Guidelines to address 
implementation updates and additional best practices. DOE invites 
public comment on the interim report and draft updates to the DOE IQA 
Guidelines.

DATES: DOE will accept comments regarding this interim report and draft 
guidelines no later than November 4, 2019. See section II, ``Public 
Participation,'' for details.

ADDRESSES: The interim DOE report and guidelines in this notice are 
available on the website of the DOE Chief Information Officer (CIO) at 
https://www.energy.gov/cio/department-energy-information-quality-guidelines.
    Interested persons are encouraged to submit comments using the 
Federal eRulemaking Portal at https://www.regulations.gov. Follow the 
instructions for submitting comments. Alternatively, interested persons 
may submit written comments, by mail to: Brooke Dickson, Office of the 
Chief Information Officer, U.S. Department of Energy, 1000 Independence 
Avenue SW, Room 8H-089, Washington, DC 20585, or by email at 
[email protected]. No telefacsimilies (faxes) will be accepted.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Requests for additional information 
should be directed to Brooke Dickson at [email protected] or by 
telephone at (202) 287-5786. A copy of the interim IQA Guidelines is 
included in this Notice and is also posted on the DOE website at 
https://www.energy.gov/cio/department-energy-information-quality-guidelines.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Introduction and Background

    The Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) issued the Guidelines 
for Ensuring and Maximizing the Quality, Objectivity, Utility, and 
Integrity of Information Disseminated by Federal Agencies (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) (OMB Guidelines). Pursuant to the OMB Guidelines, the 
DOE published its Final Report containing the Departmental version of 
the Guidelines in the Federal Register on October 7, 2002 (67 FR 62446) 
(DOE IQA Guidelines).
    DOE's IQA Guidelines provide guidance to Departmental Elements 
(i.e., major DOE offices) on maximizing the quality, objectivity, 
utility, and integrity of information (including statistical

[[Page 53125]]

information) disseminated to the public; establish mechanisms for the 
public to seek and request administrative correction of disseminated 
information; and explain how the Chief Information Officer will comply 
with OMB's annual reporting requirement concerning complaints from 
members of the public.
    On April 24, 2019, OMB issued Memorandum M-19-15, Improving 
Implementation of the Information Quality Act, requiring federal 
departments and agencies to update their existing IQA Guidelines to 
address implementation updates and additional best practices. DOE is 
issuing an interim report that includes proposed updates to the DOE IQA 
Guidelines to align with the requirements of OMB M-19-15. This interim 
update has been approved by the Secretary of Energy and posted to the 
DOE IQA website located at https://www.energy.gov/cio/department-energy-information-quality-guidelines. The interim update outlines the 
Department's compliance with appropriate and acceptable OMB M-19-15 
implementation updates.
    DOE invites public comment on the interim report and draft updates 
to the DOE IQA Guidelines. DOE plans to issue its final and updated IQA 
Guidelines after consideration of public comments received on the draft 
guidelines.

II. Public Participation

Submission of Comments

    DOE will accept comments and information regarding these proposed 
updates no later than the date provided in the DATES section at the 
beginning of this notice. Interested parties may submit comments using 
any of the methods described in the ADDRESSES section at the beginning 
of this notice.
    Submitting comments via https://www.regulations.gov. The https://www.regulations.gov web page will require you to provide your name and 
contact information. Your contact information will be viewable to DOE 
staff only. Your contact information will not be publicly viewable 
except for your first and last names, organization name (if any), and 
submitter representative name (if any). If your comment is not 
processed properly because of technical difficulties, DOE will use this 
information to contact you. If DOE cannot read your comment due to 
technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, DOE 
may not be able to consider your comment.
    However, your contact information will be publicly viewable if you 
include it in the comment or in any documents attached to your comment. 
Any information that you do not want to be publicly viewable should not 
be included in your comment, nor in any document attached to your 
comment. Persons viewing comments will see only first and last names, 
organization names, correspondence containing comments, and any 
documents submitted with the comments.
    Do not submit to https://www.regulations.gov information for which 
disclosure is restricted by statute, such as trade secrets and 
commercial or financial information (hereafter referred to as 
Confidential Business Information (CBI)). Comments submitted through 
http://www.regulations.gov cannot be claimed as CBI. Comments received 
through the website will waive any CBI claims for the information 
submitted.
    DOE processes submissions made through https://www.regulations.gov 
before posting. Normally, comments will be posted within a few days of 
being submitted. However, if large volumes of comments are being 
processed simultaneously, your comment may not be viewable for up to 
several weeks. Please keep the comment tracking number that http://www.regulations.gov provides after you have successfully uploaded your 
comment.
    Submitting comments via email or mail. Comments and documents 
submitted via email or mail also will be posted to https://www.regulations.gov. If you do not want your personal contact 
information to be publicly viewable, do not include it in your comment 
or any accompanying documents. Instead, provide your contact 
information on a cover letter. Include your first and last names, email 
address, telephone number, and optional mailing address. The cover 
letter will not be publicly viewable as long as it does not include any 
comments.
    Include contact information each time you submit comments, data, 
documents, and other information to DOE. If you submit via mail, please 
provide all items on a CD, if feasible. It is not necessary to submit 
printed copies. No facsimiles (faxes) will be accepted.
    Comments, data, and other information submitted to DOE 
electronically should be provided in PDF (preferred), Microsoft Word or 
Excel, WordPerfect, or text (ASCII) file format. Provide documents that 
are not secured, written in English and free of any defects or viruses. 
Documents should not contain special characters or any form of 
encryption and, if possible, they should carry the electronic signature 
of the author.
    It is DOE's policy that all comments may be included in the public 
docket, without change and as received, including any personal 
information provided in the comments (except information deemed to be 
exempt from public disclosure).

    Signed in Washington, DC, on September 27, 2019.
Mark Kneidinger,
Principal Deputy Chief Information Officer, Office of the Chief 
Information Officer, U.S. Department of Energy.

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

Introduction

    The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued Memorandum M-19-
15, Improving Implementation of the Information Quality Act, on April 
24, 2019, requiring federal departments and agencies to update their 
existing Information Quality Act (IQA) Guidelines to address 
implementation updates and additional best practices. This is an 
interim update to the Department of Energy's (DOE or Department) final 
report pursuant to OMB's Guidelines for Ensuring and Maximizing the 
Quality, Objectivity, Utility, and Integrity of Information 
Disseminated by Federal Agencies (OMB IQA 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 Final Report, hereafter referred to as the DOE IQA 
Guidelines, was published in the Federal Register on October 7, 2002 
(67 FR 62446).
    The Department is issuing this interim update of its IQA Guidelines 
that includes proposed updates to the DOE IQA Guidelines to align with 
the requirements of OMB M-19-15, Improving Implementation of the 
Information Quality Act, April 24, 2019. The Department commits to 
updating its IQA Guidelines pursuant to the Implementation Updates 
requirements outlined in OMB M-19-15. The Department plans to issue its 
final and updated IQA Guidelines after consideration of public comments 
received on these draft guidelines after a public comment period.

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

[[Page 53126]]

laboratories with active scientific research programs. DOE also 
disseminates a large volume of statistical reports through its Energy 
Information Administration (EIA). 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 and OMB M-19-15 Implementation Updates

    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. EIA 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 (EERE) 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 draft updates 
to DOE IQA Guidelines set forth below are modeled on the Implementation 
Update requirements of OMB M-19-15 to augment the original standard of 
quality (including objectivity, utility, and integrity) in the 
development and dissemination of DOE or DOE-sponsored information to 
the public introduced in the DOE IQA Guidelines published in 2002. The 
updates also review the procedures that DOE has traditionally followed 
to review information products for adequate quality. The DOE IQA 
Guidelines continue to provide a uniform set of procedures for members 
of the public who wish to request correction. These procedures 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. 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 
IQA Guidelines nor DOE's own IQA Guidelines provide for judicially 
manageable standards regarding the quality of information that the 
agency may disseminate. Therefore, neither section 515 nor the OMB IQA 
Guidelines nor DOE's IQA Guidelines create private rights or 
contemplate judicial oversight of its directives through judicial 
review. The Department complies with OMB annual reporting on IQA 
management.
    This interim update to the DOE IQA Guidelines is prepared by the 
DOE Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO), who is responsible 
for coordinating DOE's response to OMB's IQA Guidelines, in cooperation 
with other affected DOE offices. This interim update has been through 
Departmental clearance and is posted to the DOE IQA website located at 
https://www.energy.gov/cio/department-energy-information-quality-guidelines. DOE invites public comment on the draft updates to the DOE 
IQA Guidelines. DOE plans to issue its final updated IQA Guidelines 
after consideration of public comments received on the draft updates.

Interim 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), known as the Information Quality 
Act (IQA), 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 
Department issued its final report and guidelines on October 7, 2002 
(67 FR 62446). Pursuant to OMB Memorandum M-19-15, Improving 
Implementation of the Information Quality Act April 24, 2019, the 
Department is updating its IQA Guidelines to align with M-19-15 
Implementation Update requirements.
    This interim update to DOE's IQA Guidelines is issued by the 
Department's Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO). DOE's IQA 
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 updates to DOE's IQA 
Guidelines are modeled on the OMB M-19-15 Implementation Update 
criteria with modifications specific to DOE.
    DOE invites public comment on the interim report and draft interim 
update to the DOE IQA Guidelines. A final version of the Department's 
updated Information Quality Guidelines will be published after 
Departmental consideration and adjudication of received public 
comments.
    The principal updates to DOE's IQA Guidelines based on OMB M-19-15 
are as follows:
    1. Influential information. OMB M-19-15 Implementation Update 1.1 
directed agencies to identify specific types of information the agency 
produces that are ``influential'' and to provide a rigorous process for 
determining whether types of information not specifically listed by the 
guidelines qualify as ``influential.'' In the 2002 final report on the 
DOE IQA Guidelines, DOE included its own definition of ``influential'' 
when that term is applied to financial, scientific, or statistical 
information. Under the OMB IQA Guidelines, ``influential'' information 
should 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.
    DOE revisited its parameters for identifying ``influential 
information,'' as instructed by OMB-M-19-15, and believes that, 
consistent with the OMB directive, DOE's definition of ``influential 
information'' provides sufficient guidance for program managers for 
determining the amount and type of pre-dissemination review necessary. 
In addition, DOE has extended the option to DOE Elements to tailor 
DOE's definition of ``influential information'' to meet their program 
requirements to ensure that high standards of quality are maintained 
for all information products aimed at the public. For example, EIA 
adopted DOE's definition of ``influential information'' and 
supplemented their application of the definition to include the 
associated requirements of ``reproducibility'' and

[[Page 53127]]

``transparency.'' \1\ EIA's expansion of the DOE definition was 
necessary to ensure that important energy products that would not have 
been included under DOE's definition were subject to the same high 
standards for utility, transparency, and reproducibly. DOE OCIO will 
establish a review process for DOE Elements who elect to modify and 
adopt an Element-specific version of the DOE definition of 
``influential'' information.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ https://www.eia.gov/about/information_quality_guidelines.php
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    2. Peer review. DOE complies with OMB's Final Information Quality 
Bulletin for Peer Review, which states that ``peer review typically 
evaluates the clarity of hypotheses, the validity of the research 
design, the quality of data collection procedures, the robustness of 
the methods employed, the appropriateness of the methods for the 
hypotheses being tested, the extent to which the conclusions follow 
from the analysis, and the strengths and limitations of the overall 
product,'' 70 FR 2664-2665 (Jan. 14, 2005). DOE Elements, along with 
National Laboratories, may use peer review panels or comparable 
assessment processes, to objectively evaluate programmatic, technical, 
scientific, business methods, analytic results, and other findings. DOE 
Elements may rely on internal or external peer review panels and 
processes to make these evaluations. In cases where previously 
determined influential information has changed significantly, the DOE 
Element with authority over the data should consider whether a second 
peer review panel or comparable assessment process should be convened 
to evaluate the objectivity and reliability of the changed data, as 
appropriate given the program's intended use of the modified 
information.
    3. Privacy and confidentiality of data. Existing Federal Government 
policy requires agencies to ensure that privacy and confidentiality are 
fully protected in data and information that is made publicly 
available, known as ``open data.'' DOE Elements must ensure that both 
raw information and analytic results that are covered by these 
Guidelines, including influential information, does not identify 
specific individuals or place confidentiality at risk. DOE Elements are 
directed to work with the Department's Privacy Program office, legal 
counsel, and other appropriate subject matter experts to ensure that 
information is appropriately and adequately managed and protected 
consistent with applicable laws, regulations, and policies regarding 
confidentiality, appropriate access and use, and security and privacy 
practices.
    4. Open data and re-use of data. Open data is a core principle of 
OMB M-19-15 and has been a federal government-wide standard since 2009. 
The Department has an established open data program and maintains a 
website, located at https://www.energy.gov/data/open-energy-data, to 
enable public access to released DOE open data sets. DOE Elements both 
disseminate data that is re-used across a variety of sectors and 
utilize open data and other data sources to inform Departmental 
analyses. In addressing OMB M-19-15 Implementation Updates pertaining 
to open data, the Department elected to rely on established open data 
processes while strengthening the importance of documentation and 
transparency and source documentation to support informed selection of 
data and to enable accountability in the ``downstream'' or secondary 
use of data.
    5. Transparency, open code, data reproducibility, confidentiality, 
and applicability to non-government data. Multiple OMB M-19-15 
Implementation Updates focus on the principles of transparency and 
reproducibility. Several legal and policy updates have occurred since 
the publication of the 2002 IQA Guidelines. Data standards and 
architectures have been developed to manage data, which provide 
transparency for agencies into data creation, collection, usage, 
transfer, and dissemination. Open data requirements promulgated by OMB 
have required agencies to identify data sets and data collections with 
broad utility outside of their source agency. In 2016, OMB established 
policies for making Federal-source code publicly available. DOE 
complies with both legal and policy requirements for making source code 
available, consistent with applicable law and policy.
    6. Request for correction processing timelines and appeals 
requests. Upon consideration of OMB M-19-15 implementation Updates 4.1-
4.5, DOE reaffirms its previously established timelines for the Request 
for Correction and appeals process under its IQA Guidelines. DOE's 60-
day response deadline is significantly shorter than the 120 days 
suggested by OMB M-19-15. Since DOE's IQA Guidelines were issued in 
2002, DOE has received only one Request for Correction. DOE responded 
to the request consistent with its current guidelines, offering a 
response to the requestor's data quality arguments, and in doing so did 
not take a policy position. The requestor has not appealed DOE's 
response. To ensure the integrity of the appeals process, DOE has added 
to its Request for Correction appeals process that the DOE Element must 
ensure that those individuals reviewing and responding to an appeals 
request were not involved in the review and initial response to the 
Request for Correction. DOE OCIO will consider coordinating draft 
responses to received requests for correction with OMB appropriate to 
the received request.
    The updated DOE IQA Guidelines maintain DOE's existing 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 reporting requirement concerning 
complaints from members of the public.

II. Introduction

    The DOE OCIO 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 DOE OCIO 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.

[[Page 53128]]

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. Open data means publicly available data that are made available 
consistent with relevant privacy, confidentiality, security, and other 
valid access, use, and dissemination restrictions, and are structured 
in a way that enables the data to be fully discoverable and usable by 
end users. Generally, open data are consistent with principles, 
explained in OMB guidance, of such data being public, accessible, 
machine-readable, described, reusable, complete, timely, and managed 
post-release.
    9. Quality means utility, objectivity, and integrity.
    10. 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.
    11. 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.
    12. 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 
under the control of DOE. 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.
    Applicability to information from a non-Federal government source. 
These Guidelines apply to information under the control and management 
of the Department and its Element offices. Information is not under the 
control of the Department if the Department is not granted the 
authority to modify or change such data without the consent of the 
original source. In the interest of transparency or public awareness, 
DOE may make publicly available information provided by a non-Federal 
government source. For example, the Department may post on its website 
information regarding Native American Tribal infrastructure projects 
utilizing DOE-provided energy grants. Such information is produced and 
owned by the participating Tribal entities and made available to a 
broader audience through the DOE website, but DOE does not have 
authority to change or modify the data.
    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 interagency 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;
    (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

[[Page 53129]]

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 website to document historical DOE actions); and
    (10) Communications intended to be limited to government employees 
or DOE contractors or grantees.
    (11) Social medial or blog posts containing information a DOE 
Element has disseminated elsewhere.

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?

    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.
    When using non-government sources to create information, 
specifically influential information, DOE Elements must provide 
sufficient information about the characteristics of the data and any 
analysis, including scope, protocols, and any information relevant to 
ensure objectivity in the use of non-government data in products, 
evaluations, or policies disseminated by the Department or a DOE 
Element. 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 
found in OMB's Final Information Quality Bulletin for Peer Review, 
issued in December 2004 and posted at (https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/whitehouse.gov/files/omb/memoranda/2005/m05-03.pdf))
    DOE Elements should comply with OMB's Final Information Quality 
Bulletin for Peer Review. When conducting peer review, reviewers are 
expected to evaluate both the objectivity of the underlying data and 
the sensitivity of the conclusions to analytic assumptions. In cases 
where previously determined influential information has changed 
significantly, the DOE Element with authority over the data should 
consider whether a second peer review panel or comparable assessment 
process should be convened to evaluate the objectivity and reliability 
of the changed data, as appropriate given the program's intended use of 
the modified information.
    Influential information. If a DOE Element is responsible for 
disseminating and disseminates influential scientific, statistical, or 
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.'' DOE Elements may tailor DOE's definition of 
``influential information'' to meet their program requirements and to 
ensure that high standards of quality are maintained for all 
information products aimed at the public.
    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 
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

[[Page 53130]]

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.
    Transparency of data and sources. With regard to analytic results, 
DOE Elements generally should demonstrate sufficient transparency about 
data and methods that an independent reanalysis 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.
    Further, 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. While DOE Elements should consider the potential for using 
existing data sources, both internal and external to DOE, for 
statistical and research purposes, it is critical that data should have 
full, accurate, transparent documentation, and possible sources of 
error affecting data quality should be identified and disclosed to 
users.
    If a DOE Element utilizes information originally collected or 
developed by another Federal agency and makes that information 
available to the public, the DOE Element will indicate the origin of 
the information and note that the originating Federal agency is 
responsible for the quality of the information.
    When a DOE Element has performed analysis using a specialized set 
of computer code, the computer code used to process it should be made 
available to the public for further analysis, if consistent with 
applicable law and policy. Exceptions may arise when the code itself 
contains confidential information relating to the application of data 
protection methodologies, or DOE Elements are restricted from publicly 
releasing or disclosing any proprietary data. In such circumstances, 
DOE Elements should release a description of the data sources and/or 
methodology, and how the methodology is applied in the estimation 
process to maintain transparency of the published estimates.
    Protection of privacy and confidentiality in data. Federal 
agencies, including DOE, collect, use, maintain, and disseminate 
information that may include personally identifiable information (PII). 
In addition to PII, DOE Elements may collect, use, and disseminate 
confidential information that includes proprietary business, technical, 
or financial information belonging to other Government agencies, other 
countries, or private sector or non-profit companies or organizations. 
DOE Elements should ensure that any data used or disseminated by or on 
behalf of the Department is protected consistent with statutory, 
regulatory, and policy requirements for privacy and confidentiality, 
proprietary data, and confidential business information. DOE Office of 
the CIO, in conjunction with DOE Elements, will explore methods that 
provide broader access to data sets while maintaining protections for 
PII and confidentiality in the use and disclosure of data. New 
methodologies for data access should be consistent with principles for 
ethnical governance, the employment of sound security and privacy 
practices to safeguard the identity of individuals, while ensuring 
appropriate access and use.
    If a DOE Element is considering secondary analysis of data that 
includes personally identifiable information, the DOE Element should 
coordinate with the DOE Senior Agency Official for Privacy, the DOE 
Chief Privacy Officer, and the DOE Program Office to meet all privacy 
requirements and manage privacy risks.
    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. The DOE IQA Guidelines website will provide a central 
repository for DOE Element supplemental guidance related to quality 
review processes. 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 information that the DOE Elements collect and 
disseminate to the public. DOE Elements already are required to 
demonstrate in their PRA

[[Page 53131]]

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. DOE Elements should consider and 
plan for any potential re-use or re-purposing of information in data 
collection systems, known as ``downstream uses.'' In developing a PRA 
information collection, DOE Elements should add language to published 
public comment notices that identify potential downstream uses and 
potential impacts and uses and seek public comment on the anticipated 
downstream uses.
    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 [DATE OF ISSUANCE OF FINAL DOE IQA GUIDELINES], 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 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 SW, Washington, DC 20585, or via Fax to (202) 
586-0262, or by providing the information called for at the DOE 
Information Quality website: https://www.energy.gov/cio/department-energy-information-quality-guidelines. This website outlines the 
Department's process for submitting a request for correction under 
these Guidelines as 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

[[Page 53132]]

    (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.
    (D) Requests from members of the public seeking correction of non-
DOE information.
    (1) DOE Elements may collect, use, and make available information 
from various sources and data owners. Elements must identify and 
highlight original sources of information when such information is used 
to create or modify influential information.
    (2) If the Department receives a request for correction involving 
non-DOE controlled information, the following applies:
    (a) The Department cannot correct or modify information that is 
owned or made available on behalf of the original data owner, such as a 
tribal nation.
    (b) The Department will identify the specific information exempt 
from the correction process through a written response to the 
requester.

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. The DOE Element's response should contain a point-by-
point response to any data quality arguments contained in the RFC and 
should refer to any relevant peer review that directly considered the 
issue being raised, if available. In responding to an RFC, the DOE 
Element should not opine on the requestor's or DOE's policy position.
    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 email to [email protected] 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 SW, Washington, DC 20585, or via Fax to (202) 
586-0262. 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 the 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. To 
ensure the integrity of the appeals process, the DOE Element should 
ensure that those individuals reviewing and responding to the appeals 
request were not involved in the review and initial response to the 
RFC. 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. Determination of merit. 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. Multiple requests for correction. If DOE receives multiple 
requests for correction of information not subject to public comment, 
DOE may consolidate the requests and respond on a DOE website, or by 
notice in the Federal Register, or by issuing a correction in similar 
form and manner as the original information was issued.
    9. Applicability of the request for correction to the Guidelines. 
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. Timeliness of the request for correction. 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. Additional procedures. DOE may devise additional procedures on 
a case-by-case basis as may be appropriate to process requests for 
correction.

V. IQA Reporting Requirements.

    On an annual basis, the Department will report to the Director of 
OMB on the requests for corrections received under these Guidelines 
through a process managed by OMB. The OCIO will serve as the 
Departmental lead for this report. DOE Elements must designate a 
reporting official, except as agreed otherwise between the DOE Element 
and the OCIO. The report will include the location of the Department's 
IQA web page, the number of complaints received for the previous fiscal 
year, and a detailed description of the nature of submitted complaints 
(e.g., request for deletion or correction) and the resolution of 
complaints (e.g., number corrected, denied, or pending review).

[FR Doc. 2019-21662 Filed 10-3-19; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 6450-01-P