U.S. Chamber: OMB Risk Assessment Bulletin Must Be Judicially Reviewable

Wednesday, May 17, 2006 - 8:00pm

WASHINGTON, D.C.-OMB's Risk Assessment Bulletin must be judicially reviewable to ensure that its requirements can be adequately enforced, according to comments filed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce today.

"If the Bulletin is not judicially reviewable, then agencies can ignore it," said William Kovacs, vice president of the Chamber's environment, technology & regulatory affairs division. "What measures will OMB undertake to ensure that the agencies follow the instructions set out in the Bulletin? Unfortunately, the Bulletin lacks clarity on this important matter."

The proposed OMB Risk Assessment Bulletin seeks to improve agency risk assessments by setting minimum standards for their scientific quality. When finalized, it will have a profound impact on the nature and conduct of risk assessments that evaluate the severity of potential impacts to human health, safety, and the environment.

The Chamber praised the Bulletin for improving the quality of risk assessments. "The Bulletin would result in more transparent, scientifically-sound risk assessments for use by federal agencies and thereby improve regulatory decision making," said Kovacs.

Risk assessments impact many areas of industry, including waste cleanup, nanotechnology, biotechnology, drug development, chemicals, transportation, energy, manufacturing, and agricultural food production. When regulators use unreliable information to perform the assessments, business and industry can be forced to unnecessarily spend tens of millions of dollars in clean-up actions and other remedial activities, according to the Chamber

"Governmental agencies absolutely can and must do a better job," said Kovacs. "There is a well-documented, mainstream consensus within the academic scientific community that risk assessments can be improved."

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world's largest business federation representing more than 3 million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region.

View the Chamber's comments online at: www.uschamber.com/issues/comments/060518_ombriskassessment.htm


# # #