Murphy submits Request for Correction under Information Quality Act

On July 13, 2015, Dennis Murphy submitted a request for correction under the Information Quality Act to the U.S. Forest Service. The request seeks correction of information in two documents generated in support of the Upper Echo Lake Hazardous Fuels Reduction Project:

1.  USDA Forest Service, Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit of El Dorado County, CA, Decision Memo – Upper Echo Lakes Hazardous Fuels Reduction (November 15, 2012).

2.  United States Department of Agriculture-Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, Biological Assessment/Biological Evaluation Terrestrial Species (April 23, 2012).

The documents overstate the fire risk in the project area and understate the environmental impacts associated with implementation of the project on native species, wetlands, and water quality.

The Information Quality Act (IQA) requires agencies to develop guidelines to assure a basic quality of information is disseminated.  The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) within the Executive Office of the President has issued guidelines that explain that all federal agencies, including the Forest Service, must “adopt a basic standard of quality (including objectivity, utility, and integrity) as a performance goal,” and should also “take appropriate steps to incorporate information quality criteria into agency information dissemination practices.”  67 Fed. Reg. at 8458.  The OMB guidelines define objectivity to have two distinct elements.  The second of these “involves a focus on ensuring accurate, reliable, and unbiased information.”  67 Fed. Reg. at 8459.  Thus ensuring the accuracy of information disseminated is one of the explicit requirements set out in the OMB guidelines.  The Forest Service made a number of statements in the two documents identified above that are inaccurate and, therefore, do not meet the objectivity standard.

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