Prescribing the Right Dose of Peer Review for the Endangered Species Act
Ruhl, J. B.
....what I examine here is whether scientific-style peer review, depending on how it is dosed out, could be counterproductive for environmental law.The use of peer review as a component of regulatory procedure has not received much discrete attention in environmental law literature, but it is truly the sleeping dog of the "sound science" movement. Understanding this concept requires some background on science and administrative law. The "sound science" movement, as its name suggests, advocates that environmental law decisions be based principally on scientific information and conclusions that have been derived through the rigorous, unbiased practice of science. Science is generally regarded as a formalized system for gathering and evaluating information about the world in which prescribed methods of observation, communication, informed criticism, and response must be carefully followed. If these steps work for science, so goes the argument, they should work for environmental law as well...Indeed, on its surface this argument appears unassailable--if peer review is part of sound science, which it is, and sound science is part of environmental decision making in many instances, which it is, ought not peer review be a part of environmental decision making? But the answer is: not necessarily.