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S. 578 (115th): BEST Act

The Better Evaluation of Science and Technology Act would require federal agencies to be more transparent about the science sources they use when crafting regulations.

“This bill requires each agency, before making a rule that would affect all Americans, to use the ‘best available’ science,” lead House sponsor Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC5) said in a press release. “No longer are rules going to be made by Federal agencies behind closed doors and unavailable to Congress and the public.”

“Since 2009, the operational cost of our nation’s regulations exceeds $100 billion annually. Many times, Congress, as well as the American people, can be left in the dark on these why these regulations were made,” Norman continued. “The BEST Act would reverse this long-standing course of action and show why and how certain regulations are being established.”

Critics counter that this is merely a Republican-backed attempt to weaken or overturn Obama-era regulations on issues such as the environment from the EPA, under the guise of “better science.”

Neither the House version H.R. 4231 nor the Senate version S. 578 received a vote in committee, despite having been introduced in November 2017 and March 2017 respectively — and seemingly being in line with Republicans’ deregulatory policies.

Last updated Dec 25, 2018. View all GovTrack summaries.

The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Mar 8, 2017.

Better Evaluation of Science and Technology Act or the BEST Act

This bill requires a federal agency, to the extent it is making a decision based on science when issuing a rule, to use scientific information, technical procedures, methods, protocols, methodologies, or models in a manner that is consistent with the best available science and the intended use of the information, based on the weight of the scientific evidence.

Each federal agency shall make available to the public: (1) all of its notices, determinations, findings, rules, consent agreements, and orders in connection with a rule; (2) a nontechnical summary of each risk evaluation conducted in connection with a rule; and (3) a list of the studies considered by the agency in carrying out each evaluation, along with the results of those studies.