BILL REQ. #:  H-3457.1 


State of Washington62nd Legislature2012 Regular Session

By Representatives Short, Upthegrove, and Springer

Read first time 01/11/12.   Referred to Committee on Environment.

     AN ACT Relating to standards for the use of science to support public policy; adding a new section to chapter 34.05 RCW; and creating a new section.


NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1   (1) The legislature finds that it is critically important that scientific information used to inform public policy be of the highest quality and integrity.
     (2) The legislature further finds that the scientific information used in support of or in justification for public policy actions in the state of Washington can be of varying quality and integrity.
     (3) The legislature further finds that a perceived lack of quality and integrity of scientific information is a key factor leading to litigation.
     (4) The legislature further finds that the generally accepted approach to ensuring the quality and integrity of scientific information is the conduct of independent peer review by qualified experts.
     (5) The legislature further finds that the state of Washington has not previously adopted a uniform standard for the use of independent peer review by qualified experts.
     (6) The legislature further finds that the only way to ensure that agencies use scientifically credible information is for all agencies to use the generally accepted practice of peer review.

NEW SECTION.  Sec. 2   A new section is added to chapter 34.05 RCW to read as follows:
     (1) Before taking a significant agency action, the department of fish and wildlife and the department of ecology must identify the peer-reviewed science, scientific literature, and other sources of information reviewed by the agency and relied upon for the significant agency action.
     (2) As used in this section, the following terms have the following meanings:
     (a) "Peer-reviewed science" means information developed using the scientific method for which the following factors are true:
     (i) The scientific information is provided by a qualified, scientific professional or professionals with issue-appropriate expertise based on the professional's credentials, certifications, earned advanced degrees, years of experience, recognized leadership in an appropriate scholarly area, formal training, and recognized ability to produce peer reviewed professional literature;
     (ii) The scientific information has been subjected to independent peer review by at least three reviewers who are qualified and are independent with no conflict of interest. Independent peer review may be performed by reputable scientific journals, scholarly organizations such as the national academies, commissioned by the relevant agency, or commissioned by qualified entities whose interests will be affected by the action;
     (iii) The methods used to obtain the information are clearly stated, standardized for the pertinent scientific discipline, and are able to be replicated;
     (iv) The conclusions underlying the information are based on reasonable and logical assumptions supported by other studies and consistent with the data presented;
     (v) The data underlying the information have been analyzed using the appropriate statistical or quantitative methods;
     (vi) The information has been placed in a proper context and is appropriately framed with respect to the prevailing body of pertinent scientific knowledge; and
     (vii) The information is based on assumptions, analytical techniques, and conclusions that are clearly stated and well-referenced with citations to credible literature and other pertinent existing information.
     (b) "Significant agency action" means an act of the department of fish and wildlife or the department of ecology that:
     (i) Results in substantive requirements for a nonstate actor, the violation of which subjects the violator to penalty or sanction;
     (ii) Establishes, alters, or revokes any qualification or standard for the issuance, suspension, or revocation of a license or permit; or
     (iii) Results in significant amendments to an existing policy or program.

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