The Regulatory Science & Engineering Center (RSEC) hosted its first seminar in its Regulatory Science & Engineering Symposia Series. The seminar featured a distinguished panel that included Mr. Michael S. Swetnam (CEO & Chairman of the Board, Potomac Institute), The Honorable Dr. Lee Buchanan (President & CEO, Areté Associates), Ms. Michelle C. Jackson, Esq (Attorney, Venable LLP) and Dr. Charles Mueller (Director, RSEC). 

Mr. Swetnam began the conversation by describing the mission of RSEC and the purpose of the Regulatory Science & Engineering Symposia Series. He encouraged the audience to actively participate in the discussion, which led to some insightful exchanges between the panelists and the audience. The panelists examined the different ways one could approach trying to answer the question, “Is our regulatory process working?” This led to discussion about the general relationship between regulations and the intent of the lawmakers; the process of developing regulations; the tools used or underutilized to analyze regulations and regulatory policy; and the types of information needed to assess the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of regulation.

One of the key points discussed and developed was the increasing difficultly in assessing the impact and effectiveness of all regulations due to there being more regulations on the books (i.e. the Federal Register) than could possibly be understood by any one institution, much less an individual. The panelists agreed that some sort of retroactive review process was needed that continually improved and/or removed regulations that were irrelevant, outdated, or ineffective. Overall, the conclusion was that a serious investigation of the underlying framework of the federal regulatory process is needed and that the US government requires a new methodology that applies a more science-based approach to developing, implementing, managing, and evaluating regulations and regulatory policy.

Please find a copy of the seminar report here.



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The Potomac Institute for Policy Studies is an independent, 501(c)(3), not-for-profit public policy research institute. The Institute identifies and aggressively shepherds discussion on key science and technology issues facing our society. From these discussions and forums, we develop meaningful science and technology policy options and ensure their implementation at the intersection of business and government.


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