Risk. In the environmental arena, when determining whether to regulate or how to regulate activities or products, policymakers must begin by assessing the level of risk presented by the activity or product. Although essential information about the level of risk is often in the hands of the actors or producers, they may be reluctant to provide this information to policymakers, unless they are compelled to do so, because the disclosure of information about the risk presented by their activity or product could reduce demand for their activity or product, increase potential liability for harm caused by their activity or product, or spur additional government regulation of their activity or product. Consequently, policymakers often face an "information deficit" or "data qap" as they determine whether and how to regulate activities and products.
Stephen M. Johnson, Competition: The Next Generation of Environmental Regulation?, 18 S.E. Env't. L.J. 1 (2009).