Applying legal sunshine to the hidden regulation of biological control

Marc L. Miller, Gregory H. Aplet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article identifies a serious legal gap in current United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) policy concerning decisions about the review and release of biological pest control agents. Currently, most of the critical documents and the quantitative evidence underlying USDA decisions and policy related to the petition, review, and release of biological pest control agents (biocontrols) for weeds are inaccessible. Current practices do not provide sufficient information for biologists or an informed public to understand or evaluate policy decisions and environmental outcomes. The USDA needs to comply with federal law by making all relevant documents and data available on the internet. Federal law and policy requires that the USDA release all relevant information, and make it readily accessible to all interested parties. Public disclosure of all relevant documents, along with the scientific evidence related to the review and release of biocontrols, is required by the Administrative Procedure Act, the Freedom of Information Act, the Federal Advisory Committee Act, the National Environmental Policy Act of 1970, and the Plant Protection Act of 2000. Disclosure of this information will impose at most a trivial financial and administrative burden on the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, or the Division of Plant Protection and Quarantine. The importance of full information and open debate in the pursuit of both scientific knowledge and sound environmental management far outweighs any administrative burden.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)358-365
Number of pages8
JournalBiological Control
Volume35
Issue number3 SPEC. ISS.
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2005

Keywords

  • APHIS
  • Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
  • Biological controls
  • FOIA
  • Freedom of Information Act
  • Government in the sunshine
  • TAG
  • Technical Advisory Group
  • Transparent government
  • USDA
  • United States Department of Agriculture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Insect Science

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