Lately I’ve been spending quite a bit of time reading about the federal government’s regulatory systems and the extent to which public inputs exist, beyond elections. I was preparing to write a piece on the Zika virus and the GMO mosquito being harnessed to control it, and stumbled across the federal government’s notice-and-comment. I ended up climbing down a very interesting rabbit hole, and one that turns out to be pretty relevant for scientists.
It’s important that people with scientific training take a proactive stance on public policy; executive rule-making will always benefit from well-informed scientists providing hard data to regulators, wherever they happen to fall on the political spectrum. Scientists have the potential to make real contributions—when they participate.
At some point in the future I plan to really dig into the notice-and-comment mechanism, with the hope of providing context, guidance, and concrete examples to help scientists and otherwise-interested citizens make meaningful contributions to federal regulations.
For now, a look at rule-making through the lens of the recent high-profile GMO mosquito controversy.
Expect more to come!