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News Release
January 27, 2004
CONTACT: David Fish
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Combating Junk Science - The Right Way
OMB's Peer Review Plan Needs Improvement, May Writes

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Junk science is just that – junk – and it should not be allowed to affect government regulations or policymaking. But, according to a federal administrative law and regulatory expert who admits his deregulatory bias, the proposal put forward by the Office of Management and Budget to require government-wide peer review of scientific assessments, at least as proposed, only “adds to the plethora of existing mandates” and should be modified.

In his regular column for Legal Times, Progress & Freedom Foundation Senior Fellow and Director of Communications Policy Studies Randolph J. May cautions against “formalizing new across-the-board rule-making requirements in ways that add unnecessary delay and expense to the regulatory process without countervailing benefits.”

He explains his concern that another level of formal government-wide review requirements would add to the “ossification” of the rule-making process. And, that ossification afflicts both regulators and deregulators: “The same ossification that may deter the adoption of new regulations may also deter the repeal of those unnecessary or unwise ones already on the books.”

Among the other problems May lists with the OMB proposal as currently drafted is that it apparently requires peer review of scientific information used by an agency that is neither new nor non-controversial, adding unnecessary expense to the regulatory process.

Instead of adopting the OMB proposal on a mandatory agency-wide basis, May writes, “the OMB should allow individual agencies to continue improving their own peer review policies.” Then, it can “pay particular attention to those agencies that need the closest scrutiny…” Congress should help, too, “with more specific deregulatory guidance in statutory delegations, and engage in more forceful oversight.” And the president should appoint regulators “committed, where feasible, to market-oriented solutions.”

The Progress & Freedom Foundation is a market-oriented think tank that studies the digital revolution and its implications for public policy. It is a 501(c)(3) research & educational organization.



The Progress & Freedom Foundation