"'                      WASHINGTON, D.C. 20460
                                      DEC  2 2000
                                                                            Of FICE OF
                                                                         THE ADMINISTRATOR

SUBJECT:   Peer Review Handbook - 2nd Edition

TO:         Assistant Administrators
             Regional Administrators
             General Counsel
             Chief Financial Officer                 
             Inspector General
             Associate Administrators

       We are very pleased to present the newly revised edition of the EPA's Peer Review
Handbook for use within the Agency. The Handbook builds on an active tradition of peer review
at EPA which encompasses the work of the Agency's Science Advisory Board and the other
federal advisory committees as well as numerous peer reviews sponsored throughout EPA's
programs, regions and laboratories. We believe the 2nd Edition will continue to provide
necessary and useful guidance to EPA staff and managers, contribute to the Agency's goal of
Sound Science, and enhance the quality and credibility of Agency decisions.

       The 2nd Edition reflects the Agency's accumulation of experience as our long-standing
commitment to peer review matures and grows. In particular, the revised Handbook addresses
recommendations and comments received since the original Handbook was issued in 1998. We
are gratified that many EPA staff and outside parties with an interest in peer review greeted
publication of the 1st  Edition as an excellent product. At the same time, we appreciate the
thoughtful recommendations for enhancements that came from many sources, including the
EPA's Science Advisory Board, EPA's Office of Inspector General, the National Research
Council, and many EPA staff involved with peer review.

       As Administrator and Deputy Administrator we are ultimately responsible for all peer
review at the Agency. We remind you that as the main decision makers in your organizations
you must ensure that proper peer review procedures are followed for your major scientific and
technical work products. Accountability by the Agency's decision makers is paramount in
ensuring that EPA decisions are fully supported by sound and credible science.
                                                                       Printed wtthSoy/Canola ink on paper that
                                                                       contain* at least 50% recycled fiber

                                      . 2
      The revised Handbook is still written in a plain English, question-and-answer format to
provide easy, user-friendly guidance for conducting peer reviews.  We expect that the Handbook
will continue to be an invaluable reference for you and your staff as you reaffirm EPA's strong
commitment to peer review and to the quality of the scientific and technical products that
underlie the Agency's decisions.
^^^^^         Afc.
 Carol M. Browner /                              ^ W. Michael 1
Carol M. Browner

                                                W. Michael IvIcCabe
                                                Deputy Administrator