The Federal Data Quality Act?s Impact on the Environmental Health Regulatory Process
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The little-known Data Quality Act, passed by Congress in 2000, may have had a noticeable impact on the creation and implementation of federal regulations. This act, which makes it far easier to question scientific evidence used to justify regulations, has altered the regulatory process in several key ways.
First, it has created new but vague standards for the acceptability of scientific research used as the basis for federal regulations. Each federal agency is now required to establish its own standards that could be used for evaluating the quality of the data it used to justify a new regulation.
Second, it allows any party to challenge the credibility of the scientific evidence used to justify a regulation. Third, it has shifted authority for rule-making away from federal agencies and to the federal courts. And finally, it has made the entire regulatory process more cumbersome and subject to lengthy delays.
The DQA allows industry-sponsored studies to be used to counter the findings of peer-reviewed scientific research. Additionally, it gives the federal courts final authority to determine if scientific evidence is credible and sufficient enough to warrant new federal rules, a power previously held exclusively by government agencies.
Supporters claim that the DQA insures that government action is based on solid and reliable science. Critics, however, charge that this act exploits the fundamental uncertainty found in all scientific research and is a callous attempt to prevent the creation of needed health and environmental protections.
At a minimum, this act will produce additional costs associated with challenges to regulations; it will lengthen the time necessary for the establishment of regulations by adding several new potential obstacles; and if used to its fullest extent, it can be a powerful tool to hinder the development of a broad range of government regulations.
Since the Data Quality Act (DQA) took effect there have been 39 (32 by regulated industries) challenges to federal regulations. Lawsuits under the DQA have been filed by industry groups against the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. EPA, and several other federal agencies. Many of these cases have required some modification to issued regulations. Additionally, an examination of federal consumer safety and health spending on regulatory activity suggests that the DQA may have had a significant impact on federal regulations.
Since the establishment and implementation of the required agency standards increases in regulatory spending outlays appear to have dropped. This may suggest that the act has had a negative impact on regulatory activity, but it is too early to suggest a causal connection.
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regul (44), feder (39), agenc (39), regulatori (34), scientif (33), health (30), act (30), dqa (29), evid (24), environment (24), group (23), qualiti (23), use (22), public (20), industri (20), inform (20), govern (18), data (17), protect (16), process (16), new (15),
Data Quality Act, Information Quality Act, health regulations, environmental regulations
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| Background In late 2000 the U. S. Congress passed a little known act that has created serious obstacles for the federal regulatory process. This act usually referred to as the Data Quality Act (DQA) and officially known as the Quality Information Act of 2001 was passed as a rider to the 2001 Appropriations Bill without debate or any public or media attention. Despite its obscurity the DQA has produced a major controversy. Since this act has the potential to|
| Integrity of Information Disseminated by the Environmental Protection Agency: Information Quality Guidelines " August 28 http://aspe.hhs.gov/infoquality/Guidelines/part1/.shtml United States Environmental Protection Agency 2002 Guidelines for Ensuring and Maximizing the Quality Objectivity Utility and Integrity of Information Disseminated by the Environmental Protection Agency: Information Quality Guidelines " October http://www.epa.gov/oei/qualityguidelines/ Brito J and Warren M 2007 Growth in Regulations Slows: An Analysis of the U.S. Budget for Fiscalk Years 2007 and 2008. Wiedenbaum Center 2008 Annual Report June Regulators' Budget Report 29.|
Information as Lobbying, or Lobbying as Information? Argument Quality, Group Credibility, and Heuristic Processing in Congress
Public Participation and
Bureaucratic Decision-Making: Citizen Groups and the Environmental