Monday, November 14, 2011

SAB Review Of Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Action Plan

Nov 14: U.S. EPA's Science Advisory Board (SAB) will conduct a public teleconference on December 6, 2011 to receive an update on EPA strategic research directions. One of the items for consideration will be a draft Review of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Action Plan. In a Federal Register announcement of the teleconference [76 FR 70445-70446] it is noted that EPA is leading an interagency Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) to protect and restore the chemical, biological, and physical integrity of the Great Lakes. The GLRI is designed to target the most significant environmental problems in the region.
    To guide the efforts of the GLRI, EPA and its Federal partners, through the Great Lakes Interagency Task Force, developed a comprehensive multi-year Action Plan. The EPA Great Lakes National Program Manager requested the SAB to review the GLRI Action Plan to assess the appropriateness of its measures and actions to achieve its stated priorities and goals. An SAB panel reviewed the EPA's action plan and prepared a draft report that will undergo quality review by the chartered SAB.
    Among other items in the panel review, the SAB indicates, "The Action Plan is consistent, for the most part, with previous plans and strategies, reflecting a continuation of collaborative planning in the region. This continuity in planning is good, but such consistency does not guarantee sufficiency and the SAB has a number of comments and recommendations to improve future efforts. . ." SAB said that a "solid science plan" is necessary "to drive the restoration plan, but the SAB notes that such a plan appears to be missing." SAB indicates that a standing science panel is "an important organizational tool that seems to be missing."

    Members of the public can submit comments for a federal advisory committee to consider as it develops advice for EPA. Input from the public to the SAB will have the most impact if it provides specific scientific or technical information or analysis for the SAB to consider or if it relates to the clarity or accuracy of the technical information. Members of the public wishing to provide comment should contact the Designated Federal Officer directly. Brief oral statements can be made at the teleconference written statements must be submitted by December 1.
    Access the FR announcement which provides details on the meeting, commenting and contact information (click here). Access the SAB Panel website for links to the 54-page draft review report as well as the 41-page GLRI Action Plan and additional background (click here).