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当贝市场tv版RepublicanefforttoremakeU.S.regulatyprocessrufflessciencegroups

文章来源:Erron 时间:2020-01-06

  当贝市场tv版Republican effort to remake U.S. regulatory process ruffles science groupsRepublican effort to remake U.S. regulatory process ruffles science groups Defying a White House veto threat, the U.S. House of Representatives has approved, largely along party lines, a bill that its Republican authors say would make the process of writing new federal regulations more accountable and reduce regulatory costs. But public interest groups argue that the bill would make it tougher for agencies to issue rules needed to protect public health and the environment—in part by interfering with how they use scientific evidence.At issue is H.R. 185, the Regulatory Accountability Act, which the House approved on a 250 to 175 vote on 13 January. Under the bill, which is similar to legislation that died in Congress last year, agencies would be required to craft rules that achieve their goals in the lowest cost way. It also would direct the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to write standards for how agencies conduct risk assessments and economic analyses, and would give the public and outside groups more opportunities to challenge the data agencies use to justify regulations. In figuring out the cost of proposed rules, agencies also would have to perform analyses of “direct” and “indirect” economic impacts and the effects of possible alternatives on jobs, the economy, and wages.Executive agencies already incorporate many such analyses into their rulemaking processes, but backers of the bill say new steps are needed to ensure that rules are of the highest quality. “This bill says to every agency, ‘Fulfill the statutory goals the United States Congress has set for you … but as you achieve those goals, make sure you do it with better public input, better tested information, and in the least costly way, ” said Representative Bob Goodlatte (R–VA), one of the bill’s two lead co-sponsors and the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, on the House floor before the vote.The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the American Chemistry Council, and dozens of other business groups back the legislation. “By creating more transparency and public participation and holding agencies accountable for the nature and quality of their data, the bill would improve the rulemaking process,” the chamber wrote in a 13 January letter to lawmakers ahead of the House vote.Opponents, however, argue the goal is to simply bog down the rulemaking process. The bill prescribes “radical changes and subverts the ability of science to inform agency policymaking,” Celia Wexler of the Scientific Integrity Initiative of the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) in Washington, D.C., tells ScienceInsider. “The role of science is to inform agencies in how you fulfill [legal] mandates … but this gets in the way of that.”In a 9 January letter to lawmakers, the Coalition for Sensible Safeguards (CSS), a coalition of public interest groups that includes UCS, detailed several concerns. One is that the bill would create a “one-size-fits-all” rulemaking process by forcing agencies to take the least-costly approach. Currently, statutes such as the Clean Air Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Act establish their own requirements and guidelines for devising regulations, and many statutes direct agencies to craft rules based mainly on what science says about the public health and welfare benefits at stake, and not costs.Other provisions, the letter warns, could enable interest groups to repeatedly challenge settled science and data that underpins some regulations, allowing them to “further stretch out the already lengthy rulemaking process.”Another requirement, which would require agencies facing court challenges to show that their rules are based on “substantial evidence,” also concerns CSS. It would task judges, who generally lack scientific expertise, with assessing complicated science underlying regulations, the group wrote, and represent “a dangerous move away from traditional judicial deference to agency experts,” the coalition says. Andrew Rosenberg, director of UCS’s Center for Science and Democracy in Cambridge, Massachusetts, takes similar issue with putting OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) in charge of writing guidelines for how agencies conduct risk and economic analyses. “OIRA’s small staff … lacks the scientific and technical expertise of federal agencies,” he writes in a 9 January letter.The House bill now heads to the Senate, where it faces an uncertain future. And White House staff have said they would recommend that President Barack Obama veto the legislation if it were to reach his desk, because it would “make the regulatory process more expensive, less flexible, and more burdensome.”Observers, however, don’t expect the effort to die quietly. “This bill is not going to go away,” says Wexler, who predicts the provisions could pop up again in other legislation. “We call them zombie bills because these bills come up over and over and over again.”