EPA's Problems with Collection and Management of Scientific Data and Its Efforts to Address Them
T-RCED-95-174: Published: May 12, 1995. Publicly Released: May 12, 1995.
GAO discussed the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) collection and management of scientific information needed for its regulatory decisions and its efforts to improve its peer review process. GAO noted that: (1) much of EPA scientific data is incomplete or outdated; (2) the poor quality of EPA scientific data makes it difficult for EPA to conduct scientifically based risk assessments, measure environmental program results, or make reasonable regulatory decisions; (3) EPA uses hundreds of separate and distinct information systems to assess health and environmental risks; (4) EPA data management systems have been designed to track individual environmental conditions and have made cross-media risk assessments difficult; (5) although EPA has taken steps to address its data management deficiencies, many problems remain which will require management's commitment and appropriate allocation of EPA resources; (6) EPA peer review procedures are not adequate to ensure the scientific quality of its technical and scientific products; (7) EPA internal controls do not ensure that unreviewed documents are not prematurely released to the public; and (8) although EPA has taken steps to improve its peer review process, continued oversight is necessary to ensure policy success.