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Cyberactivist.US Forums

®: CRE's Regulatory Action of the Week

CRE Responds to CPR Letter to EPA and OMB Alleging CRE Misuse of Data Quality Act

On May 19, two academic members of the Center for Progressive Regulation wrote to EPA Administrator Whitman and OIRA Administrator Graham complaining that CRE was attempting to misuse the DQA when it filed comments with EPA rebutting comments on a biosolids rulemaking submitted by NRDC and a Cornell University project director. They alleged that the CRE comments constituted a DQ "complaint" which was an attempt to "quell scientific debate" and "pick-off" or "censor" comments "outside the normal confines of the rulemaking process." The CPR letter also argued at length that both OMB and CRE have misinterpreted the DQA as applying to information disseminated as part of rulemaking proceedings. The CRE response explains how the CPR assertions are inaccurate and reflect a misunderstanding of the CRE comments and the Data Quality legislation and guidance.

  • Click to view the CRE response
  • Click to view the CPR letter
  • Click to view the original CRE letter
  • Click here for CyberActivist.US
  • Einstein's Lectures on Electricity and Magnetism Demonstrate the Role of Data Quality and Transparency in Illuminating Complex Subject Matter

    Lecture notes by Albert Einstein for a course on electricity and magnetism demonstrate that careful attention to Data Quality and transparency are essential for disseminating information about complex scientific issues. However, the lectures also demonstrate that, when requisite care is given to Data Quality, even difficult topics become accessible to a wider audience, thus expanding the ability of stakeholders to participate in the discussion. The following quote concerning continuously distributed electricity, following a discussion of the generalized form of Gauss's theorem, provides a lucid example of how Einstein carefully dealt with the use of assumptions. "So far we have assumed that electricity is unalterably bound to small bodies (treated as points). But the character of experience favors the assumption that electricity is spatially distributed. We must generalize our investigations in this sense." (p.6)
  • Click to read English translation of Einstein lecture notes from the Albert Einstein Archives, The Jewish National and University Library, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

  • Click here for CyberActivist.US

    Federal Court Rules That Escaping Aquaculture Salmon Are Pollutants Requiring Clean Water Act Permit
    A federal judge in the United District Court for Maine recently ruled that commercially raised Salmon which escape from their pens into the ocean are "pollutants" requiring permits under the Clean Water Act. In this decision, United States Public Interest Research Group v. Atlantic Salmon of Maine (D. Me. 2003), the judge fined the aquaculture companies in question because they did not have CWA Permits, and ordered them to shut down their operations by emptying their pens. The judge found in his opinion that the commercially raised salmon were genetically different from wild salmon and damage them genetically by inbreeding with the wild salmon. The activist group PIRG brought the case under the CWA's citizen suit provision.

  • Click to read the Court's Opinion
  • Click here for CyberActivist.US
  • FCC Decision on Broadcast Rules Suggests Need for Oversight
    The FCC has issued new rules governing media ownership by broadcast companies. These new rules have the effect of significantly relaxing media ownership restrictions. The FCC News Release announcing the decision stated that the new rules were "based on empirical evidence" and were the result of an "unprecedented public record" of more than 520,000 comments. Commissioner Adelstein's dissenting statement noted that "99.9 percent"of people who made their views known to the Commission were opposed to the new rules. The Commissioner's statement also discussed his view that the new rules were "based on oftentimes arbitrary numbers." Given the economic significance of the new broadcast ownership rules and the disputes over the quality of the data and analysis underlying the Commission's decision, the rulemaking is a key illustration why OMB should, under its existing authority, review major rulemakings by the FCC and other independent agencies. OMB has particular expertise in regulatory analysis and is responsible for ensuring that agencies adhere to the "good government" laws, such as the Data Quality Act and Paperwork Reduction Act, which govern the regulatory process. Although there is great controversy over whether the public interest will be well served by the new broadcast ownership rules, there should be little dispute that the public would have been better served by OMB oversight of the rulemaking.

  • Click to read the FCC News Release
  • Click to read Statement by Commissioner Adelstein
  • Click to read CRE's Blueprint for OMB Review of
         Independent Agency Regulations
  • Click here for CyberActivist.US

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