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Text of H.R. 2827


HR 2827 IH
          104th CONGRESS
          1st Session
          To consolidate and improve governmental environmental research by
          organizing a National Institute for the Environment, and for other
          purposes.
                             IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
                                    December 21, 1995
          Mr. SAXTON (for himself, Mr. BOEHLERT, Mr. WELDON of Pennsylvania,
              Mr. BARTON of Texas, Mr. GOSS, Mr. SMITH of New Jersey, Mr.
              KLUG, Mr. EHLERS, Mr. BLUTE, Mr. DELLUMS, Mr. KENNEDY of Rhode
              Island, Mr. SABO, Mr. OLVER, Mr. YATES, Mr. WARD, Mr.
              TORKILDSEN, Mr. DAVIS, Mr. GILCHREST, Mr. SHAYS, Mrs. MORELLA,
              and Mrs. ROUKEMA) introduced the following bill; which was
              referred to the Committee on Science
                                         A BILL
          To consolidate and improve governmental environmental research by
          organizing a National Institute for the Environment, 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 `Sound Science for the Environment
          Act'.
          SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
            The Congress finds the following:
                (1) The United States lacks an effective mechanism for
              providing and communicating a comprehensive, objective, and
              credible scientific understanding of environmental issues in a
              timely manner to policymakers and the public.
                (2) An appropriate understanding of the diverse scientific
              issues that underlie the environmental problems facing the
              United States is essential to finding environmentally and
              economically sound solutions to these problems.
                (3) To be useful, this understanding requires the integration
              of ongoing assessments of the state of scientific knowledge 
              with credible problem-focused research, the communication of
              scientific information, and the appropriate education and
              training of environmental scientists, engines, and other
              professionals.
                (4) A healthy environment is essential to an enhanced quality
              of life, a competitive economy, and national security.
                (5) It is imperative that our Nation wisely expend its fiscal
              resources by eliminating duplication of certain Federal
              environmental research, and by consolidating Federal
              environmental science programs resulting in a more
              cost-effective and efficient use of resources, to achieve a
              better integration of an overall national environmental 
              research strategy.
          SEC. 3. PURPOSE.
            The purpose of this Act is to consolidate certain governmental
          environmental science functions and create an independent institute
          to--
                (1) improve the scientific basis for decision-making on
              environmental issues by integrating the functions of knowledge
              assessment, research, information services, and education and
              training; and
                (2) provide national leadership in environmental science and
              research.
          SEC. 4. ESTABLISHMENT OF THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT.
            There is hereby established as an independent agency the National
          Institute for the Environment. The mission of the Institute shall 
          be to improve the scientific basis for decisionmaking on 
          environment issues.
          SEC. 5. DUTIES AND FUNCTIONS.
            The duties and functions of the Institute shall be--
                (1) to initiate, facilitate, and where appropriate perform
              comprehensive assessments of the current state of knowledge of
              environmental issues and their implications;
                (2) to establish a Center for Environmental Assessment with
              duties to--
                    (A) identify emerging issues and problems by evaluating
                  conditions and trends of the state of the environment;
                    (B) determine the state of environmental knowledge by
                  identifying what is known about particular issues and the
                  voids in the current knowledge base;
                    (C) evaluate implications of that knowledge and
                  communicate scientific understanding of environmental 
                  issues to decisionmakers and the public;
                    (D) identify areas of research that would provide the
                  scientific information needed by decisionmakers and the
                  public on critical environmental issues and evaluate
                  constraints which may affect the conduct of this research,
                  including the limitations in technological, human, and
                  economic resources;
                    (E) assist the Board and Director of the Institute in
                  setting goals and priorities for the Institute; and
                    (F) cooperate with and utilize the National Academy of
                  Sciences and similar scientific organizations where
                  appropriate;
                (3) to award competitively peer-reviewed grants, and where
              appropriate contracts, competitively for extramural scientific
              research;
                (4) to establish a Directorate of Research with duties to--
                    (A) fund issue-oriented research on--
                        (i) environmental resources (including inventories,
                      monitoring, and characterization);
                        (ii) environmental systems (including mechanisms,
                      processes, and effects); and
                        (iii) environmental sustainability (including
                      strategies, methods, and techniques);
                    (B) ensure that such research is disciplinary,
                  multidisciplinary, and interdisciplinary, and organized
                  around priority environmental issues, including the human
                  dimensions associated with environmental problems;
                (5) to establish a National Library for the Environment as a
              universally accessible, easy to use, electronic,
              state-of-the-art information system for scientists,
              decisionmakers, and the public, which shall--
                    (A) link existing information networks and collections of
                  environmental information, such as libraries, specialized
                  information centers, data and statistical centers,
                  government and private sector repositories of information,
                  and individual experts;
                    (B) provide quality-assured data and information by
                  maintaining information about data sets, including who
                  generated the information, by what methods they were
                  collected, and whether the methods and information were
                  peer-reviewed;
                    (C) conduct targeted information programs by developing
                  products and packaging information, in various media that
                  are most accessible to specific groups or needs; and
                    (D) provide long-term maintenance and management of the
                  Nation's environmental information resources, through the
                  promotion and development of policies and standards for
                  managing and providing access to environmental data and
                  information; and
                (6) to sponsor education and training of environmental
              scientists and professionals and to improve the public
              environmental literacy, including by establishing a Directorate
              of Education and Training with duties to--
                    (A) award competitive scholarships, traineeships,
                  fellowships, and other arrangements at universities,
                  colleges, and other institutions for study and research in
                  disciplinary and interdisciplinary environmental sciences,
                  and for improving environmental literacy;
                    (B) support curriculum and program development, along 
                  with teacher training programs, at colleges, universities,
                  and public institutions;
                    (C) actively involve women, minorities, members of other
                  underrepresented groups, and affected communities; and
                    (D) sponsor public environmental education programs,
                  including using the National Library for the Environment 
                  and other means to disseminate knowledge about the
                  environment.
          SEC. 6. BOARD OF GOVERNORS.
            (a) ESTABLISHMENT- There shall be a Board of Governors for the
          Institute which shall establish goals, priorities, and policies of
          the Institute and serve in the national interest.
            (b) MEMBERSHIP- 
                (1) APPOINTMENT- The Board shall be composed of 18 members 
              who shall be appointed by the President by and with the advice
              and consent of the Senate.
                (2) REPRESENTATION- The members of the Board shall be
              comprised of approximately equal numbers of non-Federal
              scientists and users of scientific information on the
              environment, and shall include individuals--
                    (A) who as scientists, users of scientific information, 
                  or those who are affected by environmental issues, are
                  individuals from diverse groups, including State, tribal,
                  and local governments, business, environmental and citizens
                  groups, academia, other organizations, and the public;
                    (B) have an established record of distinguished service
                  and expertise in their fields; and
                    (C) who among the scientists represent the diversity of
                  fields that study the environmental.
            (c) SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS- In making appointments under this
          section, the President shall seek to provide for representation on
          the Board of women, minority groups, and individuals recommended by
          the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of
          Engineering, and other groups.
            (d) TERMS- Members of the Board shall serve the following terms:
                (1) IN GENERAL- Except as provided in paragraph (2), a member
              of the Board shall serve for a 6-year term.
                (2) INITIAL TERMS- Of the initial members of the Board, as
              specified by the President at the time of appointment--
                    (A) 6 members shall serve an initial term of 2 years;
                    (B) 6 members shall serve an initial term of 4 years; and
                    (C) 6 members shall serve an initial term of 6 years.
                (3) SUBSEQUENT TERMS- An individual may not serve as a member
              of the Board for more than 2 consecutive 6-year terms.
            (e) MEETINGS- Meetings of the Board may be called by the Chair or
          a majority of its members at any time, and should occur no less 
          than 4 times a year.
            (f) CHAIR- The Chair of the Board shall be elected by the Board
          from among its members.
            (g) REPORTS- On January 31 following completion of appointment of
          the members of the Board, and every 2 years thereafter, the Board
          shall report on the work, findings, and accomplishments of the
          Institute, including an indication of likely priorities of the
          Institute for the 2-year period following. Reports of findings on
          specific environmental matters may be issued by the Board at any
          time, including periodic evaluation of the conditions and trends of
          the environment. Reports of the Board shall be transmitted to the
          President, the Congress, and Federal agencies in a timely fashion
          and shall be available to the general public.
            (h) ADVISORY COMMITTEES- The Board may establish such advisory
          committees as the Board considers necessary. The Board shall 
          consult with the Interagency Advisory Committee established by
          section 9 and advisory committees established under this 
          subsection, to ensure coordination and to avoid duplication.
            (i) TRAVEL EXPENSES- Each member of the Board who is not an
          officer or employee of the United States may receive travel
          expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, in the same
          manner as travel expenses are allowed under section 5703 of title 
          5, United States Code, for persons serving intermittently in the
          Government service.
            (j) PROHIBITION OF COMPENSATION OF FEDERAL EMPLOYEES- Members of
          the Board who are full-time officers or employees of the United
          States or Members of Congress may not receive additional pay,
          allowances, or benefits by reason of service on the Board.
          SEC. 7. STAFF.
            (a) DIRECTOR- 
                (1) IN GENERAL- The Institute shall be administered by a
              Director, who shall be appointed by the President by and with
              the advice and consent of the Senate. In appointing the
              Director, the President--
                    (A) shall solicit nominations from the Board and
                  established scientific organizations; and
                    (B) shall appoint an individual who has an established
                  record of distinguished service and expertise in the
                  environmental sciences.
                (2) AUTHORITY- The Director shall exercise all authority
              granted to the Institute in this Act, including powers 
              delegated by the Board, and all actions of the Director shall 
              be final and binding on the Institute.
                (3) DUTIES- The Director shall be responsible for the
              integration of the duties and functions of the Institute as
              described in section 5, and for ensuring the full involvement 
              of all relevant environmental sciences and the full range of
              users in these duties.
                (4) PAY; TERM OF OFFICE- The Director shall receive basic pay
              at a rate not to exceed the rate provided for level II of the
              Executive Schedule under section 5313 of title 5, United States
              Code, and shall serve for a term of 6 years.
                (5) MEMBER OF COUNCIL- The Director shall be a member on the
              National Science and Technology Council.
                (6) EX-OFFICIO MEMBER OF BOARD- The Director shall be a
              nonvoting, ex-officio member of the Board.
            (b) ASSISTANT DIRECTORS- The Director shall appoint, in
          consultation with the Board, Assistant Directors for the Center for
          Environmental Assessment, the Directorate of Research, the National
          Library for the Environment, and the Directorate of Education and
          Training to carry out the duties and functions of the Institute and
          to ensure that all functions of the Institute are properly
          integrated.
          SEC. 8. INTERAGENCY COOPERATION.
            (a) ACQUISITION OF INFORMATION FROM OTHER AGENCIES- The Institute
          may acquire from the head of any Federal agency unclassified data
          and nonproprietary knowledge and information obtained and possessed
          by other Federal agencies which the Institute considers useful in
          the discharge of its duties. The head of each Federal agency shall
          cooperate with the Institute to furnish all information required by
          the Director that is requested by the Institute.
            (b) ACCESS TO INFORMATION AND PRODUCTS OF INSTITUTE- The 
          Institute shall cooperate with all Federal agencies to ensure that
          the information and products of the Institute are useful and
          accessible to all agencies.
          SEC. 9. INTERAGENCY ADVISORY COMMITTEE.
            (a) ESTABLISHMENT- There is hereby established an Interagency
          Advisory Committee to ensure that the environmental efforts of the
          Institute and other Federal agencies are complementary.
            (b) DUTIES- The Interagency Advisory Committee shall provide
          recommendations and advice to the Board to help ensure that--
                (1) the Institute's priorities incorporate the needs and
              activities of other agencies;
                (2) the activities of the Institute support and complement 
              and do not duplicate the existing programs of the agencies; and
                (3) other Federal agencies are informed of the scientific
              findings of the Institute.
            (c) COMPOSITION- The Interagency Advisory Committee shall consist
          of the heads (or their designees of other Federal agencies,
          including the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Oceanic
          and Atmospheric Administration, the National Institutes of Health,
          the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense, the
          Department of Energy, the Department of the Interior, the 
          Department of Agriculture, the Department of Transportation, the
          National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science
          and Technology Council, the Council on Environmental Quality, and
          the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
            (d) CHAIR- The Interagency Advisory Committee shall elect a 
          Chair, who shall be a nonvoting, ex officio member of the Board.
          SEC. 10. GRANTS, CONTRACTS, AND OTHER AUTHORITIES.
            (a) AUTHORITY TO PROVIDE FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE- To carry out the
          duties of the Institute under this Act, the Institute, subject to
          the availability of appropriations, may enter into various 
          financial arrangements, including competitively awarded grants,
          loans, cooperative agreements, and contracts to institutions, 
          teams, and centers, after rigorous peer review.
            (b) PERSONS ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE FUNDING- Scientists, engineers,
          and other researchers are eligible to receive funding from the
          Institute under subsection (a), except that--
                (1) scientists from Federal agencies shall not be given a
              preference for funding based on their employment with the
              Federal Government; and
                (2) the receipt of funding from the Institute shall be 
              subject to any criteria and other requirements prescribed by 
              the Institute.
            (c) RECEIPT OF FUNDING FROM OTHER PERSONS- 
                (1) RECEIPT- To carry out particular projects and activities
              under this Act the Institute may, subject to the approval of 
              the Board--
                    (A) receive funds from other Federal agencies; and
                    (B) accept, use, and dispose of gifts, bequests, or
                  devises of services or property, both real and personal.
                (2) USE- Funds received under this subsection shall be
              deposited in the Treasury and shall be made available to the
              Institute to the extent provided in appropriations Acts.
          SEC. 11. RECOMMENDATIONS FOR TRANSFERS OF FUNCTIONS TO INSTITUTE.
            (a) IN GENERAL- Not later than 12 months after the date of the
          enactment of this Act, the President, in consultation with the 
          heads of other Federal departments and independent agencies in the
          executive branch, shall--
                (1) submit to the Congress recommendations regarding existing
              Federal programs that are appropriate for transfer to the
              Institute; and
                (2) include with those recommendations any draft legislation
              the enactment of which is necessary to accomplish those
              transfers.
            (b) IDENTIFICATION OF APPROPRIATE PROGRAMS- In implementing
          subsection (a), the President shall consider a program to be
          appropriate for transfer to the Institute if the program--
                (1) is consistent with the mission of the Institute under
              section 4;
                (2) is non-regulatory;
                (3) supports achievement of comprehensive, problem-focused,
              anticipatory, multidisciplinary, and interdisciplinary science
              programs; and
                (4) supports achievement of extramural programs.
          SEC. 12. DEFINITIONS.
            As used in this Act:
                (1) BOARD- The term `Board' means the Board of Governors of
              the Institute, established by section 6.
                (2) DECISIONMAKERS- The term `decision- makers' means elected
              or appointed officials of Federal, State, tribal, and local
              governments, and similar individuals in the private sector.
                (3) ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES- The term `environmental sciences'
              means the full range of fields of study, including biological,
              physical, chemical, geological, and social sciences,
              engineering, and humanities, relevant to the understanding of
              environmental problems.
                (4) INSTITUTE- The term `Institute' means the National
              Institute for the Environment established by this Act.
                (5) SCIENTIST- The term `scientist' means a practitioner of
              science relevant to the environment.

(Source: Library of Congress)

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