The Aug. 16 front-page story " 'Data Quality' Law Is Nemesis of Regulation" contained two points that merit clarification.
First, the Environmental Protection Agency did reregister the weedkiller atrazine on an interim basis, despite scientific reports that this chemical disrupts the hormones of frogs. However, the decision was not based on, or even influenced by, the information-quality complaint filed by the Center for Regulatory Effectiveness.
The EPA, based on advice from its independent science advisory panel, concluded that the scientific reports about frogs warranted concern, monitoring and further research but that they were not adequate to support the ecological risk assessment required under its guidelines and regulatory authority. Thus, the EPA would have made the same reregistration decision on atrazine, even if the information quality law had never been enacted by Congress.
Second, the story gave the impression that the law, with its new tools to challenge weak regulatory science, will favor industry over pro-regulation activists because evidence is necessary to support new rules. However, evidence is also necessary to support acts of deregulation, and some groups are beginning to use the law to challenge the quality of evidence used to deregulate, to limit rules or to decide against regulation.
The scientific professionals at the Office of Management and Budget work to enhance the quality of regulatory science, regardless of whether information supports more or less regulation.
JOHN D. GRAHAM
Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs
The White House