In an effort to encourage greater risk prioritization and regulatory cost-effectiveness, the Office of Management and Budget developed new guidelines for risk assessments conducted by government agencies. The aim was to create a set of guidelines to ensure agency risk estimates used to develop regulations would be reliable and consistent. Various activist groups criticized the plan, arguing that it would become an obstacle to the adoption of more protective health, safety, and environmental regulations.
Perhaps in response to public criticism, the OMB submitted its plan to the National Research Council for comment. According to an article in today's W$J, the NRC was not fond of OMB's plan, calling it "too simplistic" and "fundamentally flawed." rather than increase the reliability and consistency of agency risk assessments, the NRC concluded the proposal could "create confusion." As a result (and here is the surprise), the Administration is shelving the plan, at least in its current form. According to the Journal story, neither OMB's acting regulatory chief nor the head of the NRC panel "could recall an earlier instance where a panel of outside scientists had prompted the withdrawal of a White House policy initiative."