Book review: The science of bureaucracy
Andreas Eriksen has published a review of David Demortain’s book The science of bureaucracy: Risk decision making and the US Environmental Protection Agency
One of President Biden's first acts was to send federal agencies a “Memorandum on Restoring Trust in Government Through Scientific Integrity and Evidence-Based Policymaking.” In reference to this, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) emphatically and overtly retracted one of their recent toxicity assessments. The explicit justification was political interference under the previous administration. The agency thereby signaled its return. But a return to what exactly? As the dust settles, the need for systematic reflection on what genuine regulatory science is supposed to be makes itself felt.
To aid such reflection, David Demortain's timely book invites us to take a hard look at how risk decision making has evolved through the contentious history of the EPA. The unfolding story is not one of incremental improvements based on scientific progress and organizational learning alone. But neither has the EPA merely found itself on the receiving end of the whims of its political surroundings. The point of interest is how this agency carves out a mission in the space between science and politics.
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Review of the book The science of bureaucracy: Risk decision making and the US Environmental Protection Agency
In: Governance, 2021