Text: H.R.6564 — 112th Congress (2011-2012)All Bill Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (09/28/2012)


112th CONGRESS
2d Session
H. R. 6564

To amend the Environmental Research, Development, and Demonstration Authorization Act of 1978 to provide for Scientific Advisory Board member qualifications, public participation, and for other purposes.


IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
September 28, 2012

Mr. Hall (for himself, Mr. Rohrabacher, Mr. Harris, and Mr. Benishek) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology


A BILL

To amend the Environmental Research, Development, and Demonstration Authorization Act of 1978 to provide for Scientific Advisory Board member qualifications, public participation, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act of 2012”.

SEC. 2. Science Advisory Board.

(a) Membership.—Section 8(b) of the Environmental Research, Development, and Demonstration Authorization Act of 1978 (42 U.S.C. 4365(b)) is amended to read as follows:

“(b)(1) The Board shall be composed of at least nine members, one of whom shall be designated Chairman, and shall meet at such times and places as may be designated by the Chairman in consultation with the Administrator.

“(2) Each member of the Board shall be qualified by education, training, and experience to evaluate scientific and technical information on matters referred to the Board under this section. The Administrator shall select Board members from nominations received as described in paragraph (3) and shall ensure that—

“(A) the scientific and technical points of view represented on and the functions to be performed by the Board are fairly balanced among the members of the Board;

“(B) at least ten percent of the membership of the Board are representatives of State, local, or tribal governments;

“(C) not more than ten percent of the membership of the Board are current recipients of Environmental Protection Agency grants, contracts, cooperative agreements, or other financial assistance;

“(D) persons with substantial and relevant expertise are not excluded from the Board due to affiliation with or representation of entities that may have a potential interest in the Board’s advisory activities, so long as that interest is fully disclosed to the Administrator and the public;

“(E) in the case of a Board advisory activity that may affect a single entity, no Board member representing such entity shall participate in that activity; and

“(F) Board members may not participate in advisory activities that directly or indirectly involve review and evaluation of their own work.

“(3) The Administrator shall—

“(A) solicit public nominations for the Board by publishing a notification in the Federal Register;

“(B) solicit nominations from relevant Federal agencies, including the Departments of Agriculture, Defense, Energy, and Health and Human Services;

“(C) make public the list of nominees, including the identity of the entities that nominated them, and shall accept public comment on the nominees;

“(D) require that, upon nomination, nominees shall file a written report disclosing financial relationships and professional activities, including Environmental Protection Agency grants, contracts, cooperative agreements, or other financial assistance, that are relevant to the Board’s advisory activities for the five-year period prior to the date of their nomination; and

“(E) make such reports public, with the exception of specific dollar amounts, for each member of the Board upon such member’s selection.

“(4) The terms of the members of the Board shall be three years and shall be staggered so that the terms of no more than one-third of the total membership of the Board shall expire within a single fiscal year. No member shall serve more than two terms over a ten-year period.”.

(b) Record.—Section 8(c) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 4365(c)) is amended—

(1) in paragraph (1), by inserting “risk or hazard assessment,” after “at the time any proposed”; and

(2) in paragraph (2), by adding at the end the following: “The Board’s advice and comments, including dissenting views of Board members, and the response of the Administrator shall be included in the record with respect to any proposed risk or hazard assessment, criteria document, standard, limitation, or regulation and published in the Federal Register.”.

(c) Member committees and investigative panels.—Section 8(e) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 4365(e)) is amended by adding at the end the following:

“These member committees and investigative panels—

“(1) shall be constituted and operate in accordance with the provisions set forth in paragraphs (2) and (3) of subsection (b), in subsection (h), and in subsection (i);

“(2) do not have authority to make decisions on behalf of the Board; and

“(3) may not report directly to the Environmental Protection Agency.”.

(d) Public participation.—Section 8 of such Act (42 U.S.C. 4365) is amended by adding after subsection (g) the following:

“(h)(1) To facilitate public participation in the advisory activities of the Board, the Administrator and the Board shall make public all reports and relevant scientific information and shall provide materials to the public at the same time as received by members of the Board.

“(2) Prior to conducting major advisory activities, the Board shall hold a public information-gathering session to discuss the state of the science related to the advisory activity.

“(3) Prior to convening a member committee or investigative panel under subsection (e) or requesting scientific advice from the Board, the Administrator shall accept, consider, and address public comments on questions to be asked of the Board. The Board, member committees, and investigative panels shall accept, consider, and address public comments on such questions and shall not accept a question that unduly narrows the scope of an advisory activity.

“(4) The Administrator and the Board shall encourage public comments, including oral comments and discussion during the proceedings, that shall not be limited by an insufficient or arbitrary time restriction. Public comments shall be provided to the Board when received. The Board shall respond in writing to substantive comments offered by members of the public.

“(5) Following Board meetings, the public shall be given 15 calendar days to provide additional comments for consideration by the Board.”.

(e) Operations.—Section 8 of such Act (42 U.S.C. 4365) is further amended by adding after subsection (h), as added by subsection (d) of this section, the following:

“(i)(1) In carrying out its advisory activities, the Board shall strive to avoid making policy determinations or recommendations, and, in the event the Board feels compelled to offer policy advice, shall explicitly distinguish between scientific advice and policy advice.

“(2) The Board shall clearly communicate uncertainties associated with the scientific advice provided to the Administrator.

“(3) The Board shall ensure that advice and comments reflect the views of the members and shall encourage dissenting members to make their views known to the public and the Administrator.

“(4) The Board shall conduct periodic reviews to ensure that its advisory activities are addressing the most important scientific issues affecting the Environmental Protection Agency.”.