Secrecy News

OMB Backs Away From Disputed Risk Assessment Policy

In an uncommon victory for the objectivity of the scientific advisory process, the Office of Management and Budget said that it would not implement a proposed new policy on regulatory risk assessments after a National Academy of Sciences panel said the policy was “fundamentally flawed.”

Last January the OMB issued a proposed “bulletin” (pdf) that prescribed new, centralized procedures for performing regulatory risk assessments.

But “the proposed definition of risk assessment in the OMB bulletin departs without justification from long-established concepts and practices,” the NAS panel said.

What’s worse, the proposed changes would mean that “agency risk assessments are more susceptible to being manipulated to achieve a predetermined result.”

Accordingly, the NAS panel recommended that the OMB bulletin be withdrawn. See this January 11 news release on the NAS report.

In light of the NAS critique, the OMB will not finalize the proposed bulletin, Rick Weiss of the Washington Post reported today.

See OMB Watch for further background on the OMB risk assessment proposal and the resulting controversy.

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