CRE is not supportive of the EPA science initiative at this time because it creates a new regulatory regime without first exploiting to the fullest the existing regulatory regime which consists of the Data Access Act and the Data Quality Act. It has been nearly a month since CRE announced its opposition to the EPA Silent Science Initiative. During that time period we have examined the position of others and it appears that with the exception of NGOs, CRE is the only organization which has stated an outright opposition to the EPA proposal.
Here are CRE positions on this matter:
Press Coverage of CRE position:
With respect to a host of suggestions made to us, we appreciate and respect the views of those in support of the EPA proposal but CRE has no intention whatsoever of changing its position notwithstanding the source of recommendations to the contrary.
Kudos to EPA for asking the relevant question in its NPRM but a cursory review of comments to date appears that the request was not addressed by most if not all of the commentators.
EPA solicits comment on this proposal and how it can best be promulgated and implemented in light of existing law and prior Federal policies that already require increasing public access to data and influential scientific information used to inform federal regulation.
EPA is also to be commended for emphasizing that the Data Quality Act is one of the cornerstones of its proposed policy. Nonetheless it fails to advise the public that when it finds errors in the data made available by the NPRM that the DQA petition process is the mechanism to seek needed corrections. One reason for the aforementioned omission might be that no Administration has ever endorsed judicial review of DQA petitions.
What is to be gained by having access to underlying information if there is no mechanism for correcting errors? Why would one support a proposed administrative action over an existing statute that is applicable to all federal agencies, is statutorily based and therefore difficult to change by a subsequent Administration and is not in violation of an OMB circular? Consequently after twenty years this is the time to confront these issues directly not to bury them again by hoping that activity in itself will lead to accomplishment.
If nothing else the EPA proposed rule may force a review of a festering problem of two decades, ignoring the complete implementation of the Data Access and Data Quality Acts. The fixes are simple: OMB should:
(1) modify Circular A 110 governing the implementation of the Data Access Act to remove the restriction that it only applies to a handful of government reports, and
(2) direct the Department of Justice not to oppose the justiciability of the Data Quality Act when the denial of a Request for Correction taken pursuant to the DQA is challenged in court.