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Office of Risk Assessment and Cost-Benefit Analysis (ORACBA)

The Office of Risk Assessment and Cost-Benefit Analysis (ORACBA) was established by the Federal Crop Insurance Reform and Department of Agriculture Reorganization Act of 1994 (P.L. 103-354, H.R.4271,
Section 304
).P.L. 103-354, H.R., Section 304 ORACBA began operation on April 15, 1995, in USDA's Office of the Chief Economist.

The Office of Risk Assessment and Cost-Benefit Analysis's (ORACBA) primary role is to ensure that major regulations proposed by USDA are based on sound scientific and economic analysis.



SRI Webinar Series: Green Infrastructure: Reusing Contaminated Sites and Promoting Sustainable Communities
May 11, 2015
2:00PM-4:00PM EDT
This webinar will introduce green infrastructure elements in the context of reusing and revitalizing contaminated lands. Site-specific projects will be used to discuss reuse projects that with green infrastructure elements such as habitat conservation, storm water management, recreational opportunities and quality of life for communities nearby the contaminated land. The webinar will also share green infrastructure considerations and opportunities for future projects looking to sustainably return contaminated lands to productive and beneficial use for communities.
Download seminar information in iCalendar formatContent question? Call Melissa Friedland at 703-603-8864 or

SRI Webinar Series: How to Bring about Ecological Revitalization on Contaminated Lands
Apr 21, 2015
2:00PM-4:00PM EDT
Ecological revitalization refers to the process of returning land from a contaminated state to one that supports a functioning and sustainable habitat. While the end use of a contaminated property is typically a local decision made with the site owner, EPA actively supports and encourages ecological revitalization, when appropriate, on sites under its cleanup programs. This webinar will share several benefits of ecological revitalization illustrated by case study presentations of various projects across the country. Ecological revitalization topics will include habitat restoration, soil amendment usage, urban gardens and pollinator habitat development. Content Questions?Call Melissa Friedland at 703-603-8864 or


New Frontiers for Ballast Water Treatment at the Intersection of Science, Technology and Policy
April 27, 2015
Via Webinar
Shipping is the backbone of the global economy, transporting goods and people around the globe. However, ships also carry hitchhikers—aquatic invasive species that travel in ballast tanks and released in new locations. While some, like zebra and quagga mussels, are well-known, many others are causing damage in the Great Lakes and other vulnerable waters in the US and internationally.

Governments and stakeholders are working to address this ongoing invasion by developing ballast water treatment (BWT) technologies and enacting and implementing laws and regulations requiring shippers to install and use these technologies. A number of states have created programs requiring vessels to use BWT systems, including California and Great Lakes states, which have been particularly affected by ballast-borne invaders. U.S. Coast Guard regulations and an EPA general permit also require the use of BWT—but with less ambitious, but more immediately achievable, screening goals that in some states.

The differing scope and stringency of state and federal programs and the evolving state of BWT technology have led to consenting debates about the appropriate roles of state and federal government in BWT regulation. Congress is currently considering legislation that would redefine which vessels are subject to BWT requirements, how effective BWT must be, and how state and federal programs intersect. The fate of this legislation and of the debate will determine the continued evolution of the ballast water regulatory landscape for years to come

This webinar will convene a range of experts to discuss these ongoing and emerging issues in BWT technology and law, providing an up-to-date perspective on the present and future of ballast water management in the United States.

The Future of Pharmaceutical Waste Regulation
May 13, 2015; 12:00 to 1:30
1730 M Street, NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC
Available via Webinar

Public dialogue about the management and regulation of pharmaceutical waste has progressed in fits and starts over the last decade. This discussion is particularly germane today as several local municipalities establish local unused medicine “take back” programs and EPA prepares new rulemaking on the topics.

In 2008 EPA proposed a rule to regulate pharmaceutical waste under RCRA’s Universal Waste Rule, but a deluge of negative comments convinced the agency to pull the proposal and develop a new rule from scratch. A new notice of proposed rulemaking is scheduled for June of this year, and EPA has indicated that the revised regulatory scheme will focus on hospitals, pharmacies, and other health care facilities. Meanwhile, concerns over environmental contamination and public health and safety have prompted some local governments to establish mandatory take=back programs funded by the manufacturers. The first such program was instituted by Alameda County, California, in July 2012, and challenged in court by pharmaceutical trade organizations. Eventually, the 9th Circuit found the ordinance did not violate the Constitution. Parties are now waiting to see if the Supreme Court will hear the appeal.

This dynamic area of waste regulation is fraught with questions: Is regulation of pharmaceutical waste necessary to protect human health and the environment, and is it cost effective? What should EPS’s new proposed rule look like.? What would a new rule mean for government or private “take back” initiatives? What are the appropriate roles for the federal government, state and local governments, and manufactures? Join agency officials and representatives from various stakeholder groups as we tackle these and other tough questions.

JIFSAN Courses

The increasing emphasis on risk-based decision making and the increasingly global nature of the food supply have resulted in the use of risk analysis to systematically address food safety issues worldwide. This has created a need to educate food safety and other public health professionals about the principles of food safety risk analysis and the tools and techniques required to apply this approach. For a detailed course description, or to register, visit our website at: