Ensure that all information used or relied upon by federal agencies as part of the rulemaking process has been subjected to rigorous, independent peer review.
Summary of the Issue
Each year federal agencies issue approximately 4,000 new regulations. The annual cost of federal regulations is estimated at $1.1 trillion. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has long advocated for changes to the federal regulatory process that will help ensure that rulemakings and other federal agency activities are based upon the best scientific and technical information available.
One way to ensure that federal agencies use and rely upon only sound science as the basis for regulatory actions is to require peer review of all scientific and technical information used in the rulemaking process. In 2004, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a supplement to its Data Quality Act guidelines requiring all important scientific information used by agencies to be peer reviewed prior to dissemination. Specifically, OMB's guidelines require that all influential scientific information used in the regulatory process be subjected to independent, external peer review before it can be relied upon. In addition, for scientific risk assessments that support major regulations (e.g., those having a greater than $500 million annual impact or those involving important interagency issues), OMB requires detailed reports from federal agencies, including written specifications on the scope of the peer review, the technical expertise and independence of the peer reviewers, public review and comment, and detailed findings about the outcome of the peer review process.
The Data Quality Act is intended to ensure and maximize the quality of information disseminated by federal agencies. OMB's peer review guidelines should help ensure this goal by improving the quality and credibility of regulatory science used by federal agencies.
U.S. Chamber Strategy
- Ensure that all scientific and technical information used or relied upon by federal agencies as part of the rulemaking process is subject to independent, external peer review.
- Support the full implementation of OMB's peer review guidelines.
- Conduct scientific, technical, and statistical research, where appropriate, to test the quality of peer reviews conducted by federal agencies.
- Pursue administrative challenges under the Data Quality Act when federal agencies use or rely upon scientific and technical information that has not been subject to adequate peer review.
Environment, Technology & Regulatory Affairs Division