Bipartisan Panel sets Goals to Distinguish between Questions of Science and Issues of Policy

August 20, 2009

The Science for Policy Project – a brainchild of the Bipartisan Policy Center –released a report on August 5 th , 2009 calling for improved transparency in the federal regulatory process, and the clear distinction between questions of science versus issues of policy within federal agencies.

The Science for Policy Project (SPP) is chaired by Sherwood Boelhert and Donald Kennedy. Mr. Boelhert was the former Chairman of the House Science Committee, and Mr. Kennedy was the former Director of the Food and Drug Administration. Additionally, the Project is comprised of, “eleven other ideologically diverse members from business, academia, government and non-profits.”

Boelhert summarized the forty-seven page report by saying the, “fundamental theme…is that the Administration needs to put in place procedures to distinguish science questions from policy questions,” because, “often, policy disputes are cast as fights over science. This damages the credibility of science and obscures the real issues that ought to be debated.” When asked for an example of what the report was targeting, Boelhert responded, “for example, how much risk a substance poses to human health or the environment is a science question; how much risk is acceptable is a policy question.”

Kennedy also added that, “our recommendations would make the regulatory process more rigorous and transparent.”

The recommendations of the report are can be found in the official press release from the Bipartisan Policy Center. 

Kennedy also said that, “disagreements over political ideology, economics, and values that are at the heart of many regulatory disputes will be debated more openly and fully if these reforms are implemented. Science will be better protected from unwarranted attacks and political values will be more fully debated.”

An interim version of the panel’s report was released in March 2009 and the White House used the report as part of the Administration’s expected guidelines on scientific integrity and regulatory reform. These guidelines from the White House are expected soon.

The full SPP report may be viewed here.

Submitted by Peter Lougee, Policy Intern.

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Comments:

#1 Fire science on Sunday September 13, 2009 at 11:56pm

Well he hasn’t done any research of his own for over a decade, unless you count misrepresenting other scientists’ findings as ‘research’.
At this point his income come sfrom the SEPP, which has received funds from both the tobacco and oil industries.
Suffice it to say that Singer’s opinions on global warming should be taken with a grain of salt, just like his opinions on secondhand smoke, acid rain, and the effects of CFCs on the ozone layer. Basically Singer will take whatever position is most beneficial for industry, regardless of what the scientific evidence says.
Fire Science

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