does not mean that it happened.
Industry Complaints about Information Quality
When complaints about information quality are made by an industry under the "Information Quality Act" it is a good idea for that industry doing the complaining to be sure the information provided is not lacking in foundation.
Recently, the Pacific Coast Shellfish Grower's Association (PCSGA) filed an "information quality complaint" about information used and conclusions reached on the adverse impacts from a commercial shellfish farm operating in Drakes Estero (see below for more information on the Information Quality Act - IQA). In explaining why the complaint is not "moot" as those previously filed by Cause of Action/Corey Goodman and another in 2007 by PCSGA were found to be, they state these conclusions "may still have significant adverse impacts for the shellfish industry and PCSGA members."
"...another red flag in a debate where civility and truth have been casualties to strong opinions." Congressman Huffman (D-CA) 6/19/13 MarinIJWhere does the truth lie?
In their IQA complaint PCSGA states that "PCSGA members will be harmed" because "there have been at least two cases where the issues raised in the DEIS were used to deny oyster lease applications in Alabama and South Carolina." It is one reason, if not the primary reason PCSGA claims it and the entire shellfish industry is "affected" and why NPS should not consider the complaint moot.
This statement on permit denial is based on a "report" written by the conservative group Cause of Action which notes, on page 30, a letter by Bob Rheault, Executive Director of the East Coast Shellfish Growers Association (ECSGA), written to Kevin and Nancy Lunny, dated January 7, 2013. [Note: Kevin Lunny, owner of DBOC, is also the cousin of Tom Kehoe, ECSGA Vice President.] In that letter, Cause of Action notes Bob Rheault writing, "the issues raised in the DEIS [were] used to quash oyster lease applications-one in Alabama and one in South Carolina." [That letter is within this body of Exhibits, a 45Mb pdf file]
Life of Its Own?
In response to a question from South Carolina, asking where this rumor may have started, Bob Rheault responded on June 24: "No one ever suggested the permits were denied - simply that new concerns were raised - unique concerns that as far as I recall had never been raised in previous applications. ...it has taken a life of its own."
Fabricated statements - intentional or not - that permits have been denied puts the entire complaint in question. On that alone NPS should reject the complaint.
Passed as a rider.
The Information Quality Act (IQA)? (aka the "Data Quality Act" or "Section 515")
The IQA is described in an article written in the Naval Law Review (beginning on page 91) which notes it "was most likely enacted at the behest of industry in an attempt to hinder environmental rulemaking."
Passed as a rider in 2000, the IQA was introduced by Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson and made part of the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act of 2001. [Note: Ironically, it was also a rider created by Senator Feinstein which gave the Secretary of the Interior the discretion to decide whether a commercial shellfish operation should continue in a wilderness area based on contractual terms, not on whether science is perfect.] The end result was its requiring agencies to develop policies based on guidelines issued by the Office of Management and Budget to deal with questions about information quality. As with all riders, very little public input was given and little attention was paid to the 227 words which made up Section 515 by those who allowed it to be included.
Section 515 - the IQA - may be found on page 100 and 101 here.
The National Park Service's implementation of Section 515 may be found here.
Politics at its best, law not at its best.
Section 515 (aka the IQA) was the result of Lobbyist James Tozzi and was described in the Washington Post as the "Nemesis of Regulation."
"Rumor has it that a lobbyist dreamed up the original idea and sold it to a paying client and a gullible member of Congress. The chief beneficiaries of the new rule will be lobbyists. They will now have a new device for sucking money from clients who don't like the latest bit of data from an agency and who are stupid enough to think that filing a complaint will accomplish something other than enriching the lobbyist."