Reducing Risk Conflict by Regulatory Negotiation: A Preliminary Evaluation
MARK E. RUSHEFSKY
The movements of the interested parties--familiar groups from the debates over acid rain, toxic air pollution, and dozens of other issues--are so predictable and formalized, they can almost be choreographed as a dance.
Environmentalists take two steps forward, projecting disastrous consequences if particular industrial practices continue. Industry representatives take two steps backward, conjuring up horrible hardships for society and enormous economic costs if these practices, the consequences of which they minimize, are curtailed. The most that's needed, they say, is more study.
Meanwhile, scientists stand in the middle, reluctant to leap boldly in either direction because of the uncertainties connected with complex physical phenomena. Congress and federal agencies form a ring around the other dancers, proposing their own solutions, discrediting the others' proposals and generally trading insults and gibes. 1
In 1982, the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS) recommended that federal regulatory agencies use a process of rule-making that would supplement normal administrative procedures, a process that we will call regulatory negotiation. By mid-1986, four formal such negotiations had been conducted by three different agencies: two by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and one each by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). A fifth such negotiation is underway within EPA. There have also been a number of informal voluntary negotiations at the federal level without agency participation, known as policy dialogues. Similar negotiations have taken place at the state level. Finally, a small number of interest groups have recommended changes in the Federal Insecticide,