Both the United States and the European Union, and increasingly other jurisdictions as well, have created institutions to require and oversee impact assessment of new and existing regulatory policies (often using benefit-cost analysis or other evaluation tools). This chapter compares the US Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) (created in 1980) and the EU Regulatory Scrutiny Board (RSB) (formerly known as the Impact Assessment Board, IAB, created in 2006). We compare these regulatory oversight bodies regarding their structure, powers, functions, methods, and performance.
Jonathan B Wiener
Abstract ‘Precaution’ has become a major topic of environmental law. Where hazards pose uncer-tain but serious or even catastrophic risks, precautionary action is urged as essential to preventing future harm – rather than waiting to act after the damage is done and it may be too late to address the cause. Yet the ‘precautionary principle’ is also controversial, variously criticized as incoherent, costly, and posing its own risks. This chapter exam-ines three key aspects of precaution: different versions of the precautionary principle, with different implications for law and policy; the debates over the pros and cons of precaution, including risk reduction and risk-risk tradeoffs; and efforts to reconcile these debates, notably by making precautionary measures less permanent so that, in order to learn in the face of uncertainty, precaution becomes more provisional and adaptive over time.