Indiana Law Journal

Article Title


Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2008

Publication Citation

83 Indiana Law Journal 399 (2008)


Scientific information has become a centralr ationalef or environmental regulation, and scientific uncertainty is viewed as a major obstacle in developing, justifying, and enforcing environmental laws and policies. In the context of environmental regulation, scientific information may be analyzed as subject to both supply and demand. A regulatory system that supplies more scientific information than it demands can operate effectively to impose protective regulation. By contrast, a system that demands more information than it supplies will face a "data gap "and will fail to accomplish its protective goals. The data gap can be addressed by applying regulatory techniques that increase the supply of data by providing more information ('filling" the gap) or that reduce the demand by permitting regulation to proceed despite uncertainty and incomplete information ("bridging" the gap).

Environmental law is also structured by the divide between pollution control and chemical regulation on the one hand, and resource management on the other. In addressing the data gap, therefore, it is necessary to distinguish not only between supply and demand, but also between chemical and conservation issues. The existence of a data gap between the scientific information necessary for effective environmental regulation and the information available to regulators and the public presents an opportunity to study the causes and extent of the differences in the chemical and conservation regulatory systems.

Missing Information: The Scientific Data Gap in Conservation and Chemical Regulation, Symposium held on March 24, 2006 at Indiana University School of Law- Bloomington.