Increasing Public Access to Federal Contract Information – Reinvigorating the Data Access Act: Center for Regulatory Effectiveness in Science MagazineWASHINGTON, May 30, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Data Quality Act continues to be used by the public to correct erroneous information disseminated by the Federal government. However, its companion legislation goes virtually unnoticed because OMB under the Clinton Administration emasculated the statute by prescribing overly restrictive regulations which were infinitely more limiting than required by statute.
The Data Access Act states that federal agencies must make available to the public all research and underlying data developed under a federal award. The term “all” means all; OMB in its implementing regulations stated, however, that the only reports covered by the Data Access Act were those reports which carry the “force and effect of law”, meaning only those reports which change one’s legal rights — a tiny fraction of the reports which were to be covered by the Act.
CRE is mindful of the cost of regulation and the adverse impact it has on local businesses. However, in the instance described below the federal government must act forcefully to stop this carnage whether the cause be it shrimping or the oil spill. CRE will make periodic reports on actions taken by federal agencies.
Shrimpers, not oil, causing hundreds of turtles’ deaths along Gulf of Mexico, scientists say
By Juliet Eilperin, Published: May 25 Washington Post
The numbers are startling: Hundreds of sea turtles have begun washing up into bays and onto beaches along the Gulf of Mexico. Six hundred of the mottled, soup-plate-shaped reptiles came ashore in just four states in 2010, six times the annual average. This year, 563 have been stranded.
The thirtieth anniversary of OMB’s regulatory review office, OIRA–the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, was celebrated on Friday, May 20th. The event was sponsored by Susan Dudley, a former OIRA Administrator, who presently heads the George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center.
Virtually all former Administrator’s and Deputy Administrators made presentations, including Jim Tozzi, the first Deputy Administrator of OIRA.
The Bureau of National Affairs Reports:
Jim Tozzi, the first deputy administrator of OIRA, said the institution gives a protective shield against the wholesale dismantling of regulatory agencies, which play an integral role in society.
The National Ocean Council (NOC) has recently published all of the public comments on the “Strategic Action Plans for the Nine Priority Objectives” of the National Ocean Policy. All of the comments are available here. The CRE’s submitted comments on Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning.
The CRE’s comments are available beginning on page 45 of the document attached below.
New Orleans 10-12 May 2011
The General Counsel of NOAA and the official in NOAA in charge of NRDA (natural resource damage assessments) spoke; the later speaker emphasized that the NRDA process is run by a Trustee Council consisting of federal and state representatives. The thrust of the statement was that the Council was not federal-centric in that the Council works by consensus.
It will be interesting to view how consensus is reached since the Council is composed of two federal entities and five states.
The speakers emphasized that BP is not necessarily the only “responsible which will be held liable for natural resource damages.
The NOAA Science Advisory Board held a meeting on May 16, 2011. The subject of the meeting was a report prepared by the Ecosystem Science and Management Working Group (ESMWG) on Strategic Advice on Designing and Implementing Coastal and Marine Spatial Plans.
CRE believes that it is an excellent report and applauds the work done by the ESMWG. Specifically, CRE agrees with the recommendation that metrics must be defined to judge the performance of the plan before the plan is developed. This will enable NOAA and the National Ocean Council to acheive successful ecological and economic outcomes.
Accolades to the Department of Interior–they listen to public comments.
CRE was one of the parties which informed the Department of Interior of the deficiencies in the “Smart from the Start Initiative”:
“WEAs [Wind Energy Areas] established by DOI under the Start Initiative undermine CMSP for the following two reasons:
- Certain stakeholders are cut out of the process, especially fishermen and shipping. This is well reflected in recent a bipartisan letter signed by Senators and Congressmen, urging DOI to provide these stakeholders with a greater opportunity for input.