Science in the Administrative Process
Project Stages:1. Gather ideas - Completed
2. Select ideas - Completed
3. Council approval - Completed
4. Picking a researcher - Completed
5. Committee consideration - Completed
6. Back to the council - Completed
7. Consideration by the full conference - Current
8. Implementation - Not reached yet
Background Information: Science plays a crucial role in the administrative process, but a role that has become controversial. Critics complain either that agencies overregulate because they give insufficient attention to sound science, or underregulate because they permit science to be trumped by political considerations. The ACUS Science project examines the transparency of agencies’ use of science, considering how agencies structure their scientific studies and how they communicate their findings. The consultant, Professor Wendy Wagner, has interviewed agency officials at 3 agencies that make extensive use of science (EPA, FWS, and NRC) and prepared a draft report that offers a series of recommendations for enhancing the transparency of the agency scientific process.
Project Details: The Committee on Regulation has held three in-person meetings and one virtual meeting (via web forum) to discuss Professor Wagner’s research and her draft report. In addition, the Conference has collaborated with outside organizations to host a series of workshops designed to examine the draft recommendations under consideration by the committee: a September 10, 2012 workshop at the National Academies; an October 23, 2012 workshop at George Washington University’s Regulatory Studies Center; and a December 14, 2012 roundtable discussion organized by the Small Business Administration. Professor Wagner and Staff Counsel Reeve Bull are currently working to integrate the input from the committee meetings and workshops and prepare a set of draft recommendations, which the committee will then consider at upcoming meetings.