I received an interesting email from Bruce Anderson at the DHS Transportation Safety Administration (TSA). He was responding to a comment I submitted last October on a 60-day information collection request (ICR) renewal notice that TSA had published to support the collection of information from people applying for a Transportation Workers Identification Credential (TWIC).
In my comment, I noted that the lack of detail about recent changes in the TWIC program made it difficult to appropriately comment on the burden estimates provided in the 60-day ICR renewal notice. In his email, Anderson responded (in part) for each of the three areas that I had identified a lack of detail that: “The supporting calculations and explanations are included in the Information Collection Supporting Statement.”
Readers who have followed my blog posts about ICRs over the years may recognize that document title. It is a document that the ICR submitting agency must provide to the OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) to justify the requested approval of the ICR. These are very detailed documents that definitely spell out the details that I claimed were missing from the published ICR notice.
Unfortunately, that document is not prepared until the ICR renewal request is sent to the OIRA for approval. Part of the reason is that, included in that document, is a listing of the public comments received from the two ICR renewal notices (60-day and 30-day notices) and the agencies response to those comments.
The ICR published in October specifically requests public comments to: “Evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden”. Without the detailed information that is provided in the Information Collection Supporting Statement it is not possible for the public to evaluate the burden estimate. That was the point of my original comment and the point that was totally missed by TSA in their response.
It would not be reasonable for TSA, or any agency, to include the complete Supporting Statement in the Federal Register notices that are required to be published by 44 USC 3507. What would be helpful, however, would be for a copy of the draft Supporting Statement to be included in the docket for the ICR on the Federal eRulemaking Portal (www.Regulations.gov). That way the concerned public or affected entities would have a legitimate opportunity to evaluate and comment upon the burden estimate.
The comment period for the 60-day ICR notice has closed and no more public comments are being accepted. There will be another notice, the 30-day ICR notice, and I will submit a copy of this post as a comment on that notice.