[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 157 (Wednesday, August 13, 2008)]
[Notices]
[Pages 47162-47164]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-18740]


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ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

[EPA-HQ-Docket ID No. ORD-2008-0597; FRL-8703-4]


Guidance on the Development, Evaluation and Application of 
Environmental Models

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

ACTION: Notice of public comment period.

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SUMMARY: EPA is announcing a 30-day public comment period for an 
external review of its Guidance Document on the

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Development, Evaluation and Application of Regulatory Environmental 
Models (hereinafter Guidance Document). The EPA's Council on Regulatory 
Environmental Modeling (CREM) has developed the Guidance Document and 
its companion product, the Models Knowledge Base, to improve the 
quality, consistency and transparency of EPA models. These products 
were produced in draft form in November 2003 and have undergone a 
rigorous process of internal and external peer review. This revised 
draft of the Guidance Document builds on the recommendations of the 
Science Advisory Board review panel and the National Research Council 
report on Models in Environmental Regulatory Decision Making.
    This Federal Register Notice is intended to solicit public comment 
on the Guidance Document. EPA is releasing this external review draft 
document solely for the purpose of public comment under applicable 
information quality guidelines. The guidance document has not been 
formally disseminated by EPA. It does not represent and should not be 
construed to represent any Agency policy or determination. EPA will 
consider any public comments submitted in accordance with this notice 
when revising the document.

DATES: Comments may be submitted in writing by September 12, 2008.

ADDRESSES: The Guidance Document may be downloaded from the CREM Web 
site: http://www.epa.gov/crem. Submit your comments, identified by 
Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-ORD-2008-0597, by one of the following methods: 
http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the on-line instructions for 
submitting comments.
     E-mail: ORD.Docket@epa.gov.
     Mail: ORD Docket, Environmental Protection Agency, 
Mailcode: 28221T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460.
     Hand Delivery: EPA Docket Center (EPA/DC), Room 3334, EPA 
West Building, 1301 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20460, 
Attention Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-ORD-2008-0597. Deliveries are only 
accepted from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding 
legal holidays. Special arrangements should be made for deliveries of 
boxed information.
    Instructions: Direct your comments to Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-ORD-
2008-0597. EPA's policy is that all comments received will be included 
in the public docket without change and may be made available online at 
http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information 
provided, unless the comment includes information claimed to be 
Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose 
disclosure is restricted by statute. Do not submit information that you 
consider to be CBI or otherwise protected by statute through http://
www.regulations.gov or e-mail. The http://www.regulations.gov Web site 
is an ``anonymous access'' system, which means EPA will not know your 
identity or contact information unless you provide it in the body of 
your comment. If you send an e-mail comment directly to EPA, without 
going through http://www.regulations.gov, your e-mail address will be 
automatically captured and included as part of the comment that is 
placed in the public docket and made available on the Internet. If you 
submit an electronic comment, EPA recommends that you include your name 
and other contact information in the body of your comment and with any 
disk or CD-ROM you submit. If EPA cannot read your comment due to 
technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, EPA 
may not be able to consider your comment. Electronic files should avoid 
the use of special characters, any form of encryption, and be free of 
any defects or viruses.
    Docket: All documents in the docket are listed in the http://
www.regulations.gov index. Although listed in the index, some 
information is not publicly available, e.g., CBI or other information 
whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such 
as copyrighted material, will be publicly available only in hard copy. 
Publicly available docket materials are available either electronically 
in http://www.regulations.gov or in hard copy at the ORD Docket, EPA/
DC, EPA West, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave., NW., Washington, DC 
20460. The Public Reading Room is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., 
Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The telephone number 
for the Public Reading Room is (202) 566-1744, and the telephone number 
for the ORD Docket is (202) 566-1752.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. Noha Gaber, Council for Regulatory 
Environmental Modeling, Office of the Science Advisor, 1200 
Pennsylvania Ave, NW., Mail Code: 8105R, Washington, DC 20460; by 
telephone/voice mail at (202) 564-2179; Fax: (202) 564-2070; or via e-
mail at gaber.noha@epa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: To achieve its mission of protecting human 
health and safeguarding the natural environment, the U.S. Environmental 
Protection Agency (EPA) often employs mathematical models to study 
environmental systems and processes and to inform regulatory decision 
making. The EPA established the Council for Regulatory Environmental 
Modeling (CREM) in 2000 in an effort to improve the quality, 
consistency and transparency of EPA models. At the request of the EPA 
Administrator, the CREM developed the Draft Guidance Document on the 
Development, Evaluation and Application of Regulatory Environmental 
Models (hereinafter Draft Models Guidance, http://www.epa.gov/ord/crem/
library/CREM%20Guidance%20Draft%2012_03.pdf) and the Models Knowledge 
Base (hereinafter Models KBase, http://cfpub.epa.gov/crem/knowledge_
base/knowbase.cfm)
    While the Draft Models Guidance does not impose legally binding 
requirements on EPA or the public, it provides recommendations on the 
principles of good modeling practice, stressing the importance of model 
quality, documentation and transparency with the aim of helping to 
determine when and how a model can be used to inform a decision. The 
Draft Models Guidance was developed in close collaboration with members 
of the CREM, who represent the different EPA program and regional 
offices, and as such, the document represents the consensus view among 
EPA offices. The Draft Models Guidance was also evaluated and approved 
by the EPA's Science Policy Council, the Agency's forum for senior 
level policy deliberation and coordination on significant science 
issues.
    Both the Draft Models Guidance and the Models KBase were issued in 
draft form in November 2003. By providing access to its tools and 
methods, the EPA increases transparency and can improve the public's 
understanding of how sound science is used to make environmental 
decisions. In short, these products are intended to help foster a 
culture of transparency in developing models.
    In addition to internal review within Agency offices and regions, 
the CREM products have undergone an external review process. EPA's 
Science Advisory Board (SAB) formed a CREM Guidance Advisory Panel 
(hereinafter ``the Panel'') to review the Draft Models Guidance and the 
Models KBase. Specifically, the Panel was given seven charge questions 
(which can be found at this URL: http://www.epa.gov/fedreg/EPA-SAB/
2003/August/Day-06/sab20034.htm). The Panel concluded its review in 
2006

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(the report may be found at http://www.epa.gov/sab/panels/
cremgacpanel.html).
    The CREM also commissioned the National Academy of Science (NAS) to 
assess evolving scientific and technical issues related to the 
selection and use of computational and statistical models in decision 
making processes at the EPA. The NAS report which provides advice on 
the management, evaluation and use of models at the EPA was released in 
2007 (the report may be found at http://www.nap.edu/
catalog.php?record_id=11972).
    This revised draft of the Guidance Document builds on the 
recommendations of the Science Advisory Board review panel and the 
National Research Council report on Models in Environmental Regulatory 
Decision Making.

    Dated: August 6, 2008.
George Gray,
EPA Science Advisor.
[FR Doc. E8-18740 Filed 8-12-08; 8:45 am]
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