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Environmentalists Embrace the Data Quality Act
If you can't beat them, join them. That seems to be the message from several major environmental NGOs who gotten past unjustified concerns regarding the Data Quality Act. Instead of objecting to the Act, these NGOs are now using the Act to seek correction of federally-disseminated data that they believe does not comply with Data Quality standards.

A coalition of environmental watchdogs including the Sierra Club and the Wilderness Society have filed a Data Quality petition concerning natural-gas development estimates in the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) draft Roan Plateau management plan. A component of the draft plan is a Reasonable Foreseeable Development analysis that includes a projection of the number of natural gas wells expected to be developed in the area over the 20-year life of the plan. A local newspaper reports that the analysis was based on 2001 data that may have significantly changed since that time.

BLM received nearly 75,000 comments on the draft plan. An official with the environmental coalition explained that they filed the petition "to make sure the BLM knew they expect a response to the original request submitted with their public comments on April 11."

More significantly, the environmental groups are attempting to use the petition process as a mechanism for making sure that the agency substantiates the information presented in their draft plan. A coalition spoken official stated that "We want them to show us the numbers, back it up."

Winston has seen neither the draft BLM plan nor the Data Quality petition and has no idea as to the merits, if any, of the coalition's complaint. However, he is pleased to see NGOs utilize rather than oppose the Data Quality correction process. It's about time environmental watchdogs learned to stop worrying and love the Data Quality Act.

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