Year of Publication

2016

College

Martin School of Public Policy and Administration

Executive Summary

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC) was created in 1977 under section 109 of the Clean Air Act (CAA). The role of CASAC is to provide technical and scientific advice to the EPA Administrator on National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), required under the CAA. The standards themselves and the science upon which the standards are established for the six “criteria” pollutants included in the NAAQS are reviewed periodically by CASAC. The committee also exists to bridge new research developments to current environmental requirements.

Section 109(d) of the CAA requires the chartered CASAC to be composed of seven members appointed by the EPA Administrator. The CAA requires that membership include a chairperson, at least one member of the National Academy of Sciences, one physician, and one person from a state and air pollution control agency. Preliminary research regarding recent chartered CASAC panels suggests that there may be an underrepresentation of other stakeholder expertise including state air agencies, local governments and tribes.

To evaluate and analyze the role of CASAC, This project involved creating a survey to solicit feedback from state air agencies. Air Directors from all fifty states were contacted and provided the electronic survey through email. The survey included questions on the barriers individuals face in becoming an expert on the committee and whether CASAC performs its duties required by the CAA. The survey offered an opportunity for robust feedback through the use of open-ended and multiple response questions. This survey and its results represents an important contribution to the literature, as it allowed the top air quality officials in each state, or their designee, an opportunity to voice any concerns or critiques to the CASAC process as well as to any barriers faced in participating as an expert candidate on the panel or subpanels. The goals of the survey are to analyze responses from state air agencies on their perspectives on the transparency, barriers for nomination and panel member representation. From the data gathered from the survey, several potential areas for reform and additional transparency became apparent.

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