NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Business Groups to Challenge Data Behind Rules

July 8, 2002

Some 18 months ago, Congress passed and President Clinton signed a little noticed law called the Federal Data Quality Act. The act's final rules will be in place by Oct. 1, 2002, and companies and others will be able to challenge the quality of the data used formulate government rules and regulations -- and not just the rules themselves.

  • Many companies believe some government regulations are based on worthless data -- and they are cheering.
  • But liberal activists think the act strikes a blow to public access to information -- and they are jeering.
  • Business groups have set their sights on clean-air regulations and global warming issues.
  • Groups could always challenge federal regulations, but prior to the Data Quality Act they couldn't challenge information or data that might be used to make them.

In the spring, for example, the a study used by the Environmental Protection Agency to set Clean Air Act standards was found to have a software glitch that caused figures to be off by as much as 23 percent. Now, rules based on such flawed data can the challenged.

But liberal groups claim that when human health is at stake, regulators can't wait for all the facts to come in.

Source: Stephanie M. Horvath, "Surge in Rule Challenges Looms," Wall Street Journal, July 5, 2002.


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