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Frequently Asked Questions about SAB, CASAC, and Council Membership and Establishment of Ad Hoc Panels and Committees

These Frequently Asked Questions (PDF, 3 pp., 15 kb, About PDF Files) are available as a fact sheet.

 

Who appoints experts to SAB, CASAC, and Council and SAB standing committees?

The EPA Administrator appoints experts to the SAB, CASAC, and Council and SAB standing committees.

How do experts get to serve on the SAB, CASAC, and Council and SAB standing committees?

The SAB Staff Office requests public nominations of experts annually through a Federal Register Notice.  The notice specifies the expertise and other qualifications needed and requests nominations for SAB, CASAC, and Council membership and membership on SAB Standing Committees.  

The SAB Staff Office seeks nominations from scientific and research organizations, professional societies, and non-governmental organizations, as well as from EPA and current SAB via letters and direct contacts.

 

Who appoints experts to panels and ad hoc committees?

The EPA SAB Staff Director appoints experts to panels and ad hoc committees.

How do experts get to serve on panels and ad hoc committees?

The SAB Staff Office creates panels and ad hoc committees when a new advisory topic requires expertise not available among current members of the chartered SAB, CASAC, Council, or standing SAB Committees. 

The  SAB Staff Office announces plans to create a new panel in the Federal Register.  The notice describes the advisory activity, identifies the expertise needed, and requests public nominations of experts

 

Who may nominate experts?

Experts may self-nominate or be nominated by the public. 

Members of the public can use a Web-enabled process to identify nominees, provide contact information, and describe how the nominee would provide the expertise needed.  Providing specific and complete information on nominees assists the SAB Staff Office in considering public nominations in an efficient manner. 

The SAB Staff Office also searches independently for experts to provide needed expertise to ensure that all the expertise needs are filled and that the panel or committee will be adequately balanced. 

 

What happens after experts are nominated to or identified for the SAB, CASAC, and Council and SAB standing committees?

The process for selecting members for the SAB is described in the Implementation Plan for the New Structural Organization of the EPA Science Advisory Board (SAB): A Report of the EPA Science Advisory Board Staff Office (EPA-SAB-04-002) (PDF, 30 pp., 347 kb, About PDF Files). The selection of members for CASAC and the Council follows a similar process.

The SAB Staff Office reviews qualifications of nominees to assess whether they have the scientific education, training, and experience to evaluate basic and applied science issues addressed by the advisory committees.  The Staff Office looks for nominees who have distinguished themselves professionally and who will be available to invest the time and effort in providing advice and recommendations to EPA.  The Staff Office consults with the Agency and current members of the SAB, CASAC and Council in this process.

The SAB Staff Office Director submits recommendations for new members annually for the EPA Administrator’s consideration and approval.

The EPA Administrator will inform selected members of their appointment (or reappointment) by letter.  New members will also receive a welcome letter from the SAB Staff Office Director.

How does the SAB Staff Office evaluate ethics considerations for experts being considered for the SAB, CASAC, and Council and SAB standing committees?

The SAB Staff Office requires experts serving on the SAB, CASAC, and Council and SAB standing committees to submit Confidential Financial Disclosure forms annually and to take ethics training (see below) once they become Special Government Employees.  Because of the wide variety of advisory activity that chartered federal advisory committees and SAB standing committees may address, the SAB Staff Office also requires members to update their Confidential Financial Disclosure forms and to respond to questions about appearance of lack of impartiality every time they address a new advisory activity.

Ethics considerations and appearance of lack of impartiality are especially important because of legal requirements and the importance of providing impartial advice.  Ethics information is considered whenever members of a standing committee on chartered committee take up a new advisory activity.

 

What happens after experts are nominated or identified for panels or ad hoc committees?

The process for creating panels is described in the Overview of the Panel Formation Process at the Environmental Protection Agency Science Advisory Board (EPA-SAB-EC-02-010) and the Implementation Plan for the New Structural Organization of the EPA Science Advisory Board (SAB): A Report of the EPA Science Advisory Board Staff Office (EPA-SAB-04-002) (PDF, 30 pp., 347 kb, About PDF Files).

The SAB Staff Offices publishes a “short list” of all qualified experts and provides their biosketches on the Web.  At that time, the Staff Office invites the public to provide “information, documentation, or analysis” to assist the SAB Staff Director in assembling an appropriate panel of experts to provide sound, independent, balanced, and useful scientific and technical advice. 

 

How does the SAB Staff Office evaluate candidates for membership?

The SAB Staff Office evaluates candidates based on five factors: 
1)         The scientific and/or technical expertise needed to address the advisory topic;
2)         Absence of financial conflicts of interest;
3)         Scientific credibility and impartiality; 
4)         Availability and willingness to serve; and
5)         Ability to work constructively and effectively on committees.

Ethics considerations and appearance of lack of impartiality are especially important because of legal requirements and the importance of providing impartial advice.  The SAB Staff Office asks experts being considered for service on a panels or ad hoc committee to respond to questions about appearance of lack of impartiality and to submit a Confidential Financial Disclosure Form for Special Government Employees Serving on Federal Advisory Activities at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency if they will serve as Special Government Employees (PDF, 15 pp., 365 kb, About PDF Files). or to fill out a Confidential Financial Disclosure Form (usually an OGE-450 or an SF-278) if they are Regular Government Employees.

The SAB Staff considers information provided by nominees and nominators, any information provided by members of the public on short list candidates, and information gathered independently by the SAB Staff Office to evaluate whether candidates can provide sound, independent, balanced, and useful scientific and technical advice.

The SAB Staff publishes a determination memorandum on the SAB Web site whenever it creates a new ad hoc committee or panel.  Determination memoranda document the steps taken to form the particular committee or panel. 

 

What are expectations of members of panels and committees?

Members are expected to give independent advice and to represent themselves only and no other organization or group.  Because members serve as Special Government Employees or Regular Government Employees, they are subject to conflict of interest rules and ethics requirements.  Members must submit Confidential Financial Disclosure Forms (PDF, 15 pp., 365 kb, About PDF Files). annually and take annual Ethics TrainingExit EPA Disclaimer.  Members are expected to follow EPA’s procedures for implementing the Federal Advisory Committee Act, as directed by the SAB Staff Office Designated Federal Officer for their panel or committee and as described in the SAB Staff Office publication, Advisory Committee Meetings and Report Development: Process for Public Involvement

 

How long do experts serve on SAB, CASAC, and Council and SAB standing committees?

The EPA Administrator appoints members for a period of three years, with the possibility of re-appointment to a second three-year term.

 

How long do experts serve on panels and ad hoc committees?

Members serve until the advisory project is completed.  Because advisory projects vary by topic and complexity, terms of service vary.  Some advisory projects are completed in 4 months.  Some may take as long as 4 years.

 


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