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January 22, 2002

The Honorable Kimberly Terese Nelson
Assistant Administrator for Environmental Information
   And Chief Information Officer
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Mail Code 2810A
Washington, D.C. 20460

 

RE: EPA Should Expeditiously Release for Public Review an Analytical Model That EPA Is Using to Predict Economic Effects of "Multi-Pollutant" Legislation to Amend the Clean Air Act

 

Dear Assistant Administrator Nelson:

 

On behalf of the Center for Regulatory Effectiveness ("CRE"), I request that you urge EPA officials to release for public review a model that was developed by ICF Consulting and/or ICF Resources, Inc. I believe this model is known as the "Integrated Planning Model." I understand that EPA is using this model to predict the effects on important economic factors, such as coal production and electricity prices, from various possible reductions in air emissions contemplated in the "multi-pollutant" legislation to amend the Clean Air Act. This legislation is now under consideration in Congress.

EPA is using the ICF economic-impact model to develop national policy recommendations on multi-pollutant legislation. The public cannot determine or comment on the merits of the recommendations unless EPA makes public the basis for developing the recommendations: i.e., the model itself and related information.

EPAís analysis of potential economic impacts will strongly influence EPAís public policy recommendations. Therefore, under the new Data Quality Act and OMBís guidelines implementing the Act, EPAís analytical process must be objective, transparent and reproducible. 44 U.S.C. ß 3516 note; 67 Fed. Reg. 373 (Jan. 3, 2002). Making the ICF model (and associated data inputs and assumptions) available for public review and debate is the only way to meet these Data Quality Act requirements.

As a matter of public policy and "Good Government," and in order to comply with the Data Quality Act and OMBís implementing guidelines, EPA should:

1. Release the ICF model and related information for public assessment; or

2. Abandon the ICF model and instead adopt a "public" model.

If ICF and/or EPA believe that this model may be proprietary to ICF, and if there is any basis for this belief, then EPA should:

1. Amend EPAís contract with ICF to require public disclosure of the model as a condition of the contract;

2. Purchase from ICF the right (e.g., a license) to reveal the model to the public; or

3. Abandon the ICF model and instead adopt a public model.

Several years ago, EPA failed to release similar information relating to grants to universities. The decision not to release that information resulted in federal legislation reversing EPAís decision. CRE hopes that similar legislation will not be necessary with regard to the ICF model.

For the above-stated reasons, CRE respectfully requests that you, in your role as Chief Information Officer, urge the EPA Air Office to take expeditiously all steps necessary to release to the public the ICF model and relevant associated information as soon as possible. Attached is a copy of Freedom of Information Act request that CRE has filed regarding the model and related agency records.

Sincerely,

Jim J. Tozzi
Member, CRE Board of Advisors

Attachments

cc: Sudhaker Kesavan,
Chairman and CEO,
ICF Consulting (w/attach.)

Francis S. Blake
Deputy Secretary
U.S. DOE (w/attach.)

Jeffrey Holmstead
Assistant Administrator
U.S. EPA (w/attach.)


Click for CRE's FOIA request