S. 2512 (105th): Natural Resources Institute Act of 1998

105th Congress, 1997–1998. Text as of Sep 23, 1998 (Introduced).

Status & Summary | PDF | Source: GPO

S 2512 IS

105th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. 2512

To establish a National Resources Institute at the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

September 23, 1998

Mr. KEMPTHORNE introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works


A BILL

To establish a National Resources Institute at the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory.

    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 ‘Natural Resources Institute Act of 1998’.

SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS.

    As used in this Act:

      (1) 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.

      (2) INTERMOUNTAIN WEST- The term ‘Intermountain West’ means Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, and the far eastern areas of Oregon and Washington.

SEC. 3. FINDINGS.

    The Congress finds the following:

      (1) In order to maintain quality of life, economic growth should be balanced with environmental protection and incorporate collaborative scientific inquiry, technology development, and public policy.

      (2) The environmental science data and knowledge fail to adequately support long-term policy leading to questions of science quality, credibility, and utility, resulting in an atmosphere of adversarial science.

      (3) Individuals affected by decisions regarding natural resources are not effectively involved in determining the needs, setting the agenda, and participating in environmental research and development.

      (4) Coordinated environmental research and development of Federal and State agencies is necessary to support effective policy and environmental and economic sustainability.

      (5) Decisions regarding the management of natural resources can significantly impact a region’s economy and its residents’ quality of life.

      (6) The Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory is the only multiprogrammatic federally funded research and development laboratory in the Intermountain West region of the United States, a region which will be greatly impacted by future natural resource decisions.

      (7) The creation of a Natural Resources Institute that focuses the scientific strengths of government, universities, and industry in collaboration with a wide variety of individuals affected by decisions regarding natural resources will expedite sustainable environmental and natural resource decisionmaking, which will result in the creation and retention of jobs and savings to taxpayers.

SEC. 4. PURPOSE.

    The purpose of this Act is to create a Natural Resources Institute to--

      (1) coordinate research and develop appropriate and systematic approaches to managing natural resources and the specific tools and mechanisms necessary to implement these approaches;

      (2) support public policy development by facilitating the creation of public-private partnerships necessary to implement systematic approaches to natural resource use and management;

      (3) provide education and training regarding natural resources for a wide variety of users, including the public, local and regional government, and industry, by developing training programs and educational curricula using modern information systems such as the Internet and video teleconferencing;

      (4) facilitate the creation of commercial enterprises by involving local economic development agencies, technology incubators, research institutes, and the private sector to apply derived use science and technology; and

      (5) transfer information and analyses regarding natural resources to persons and organizations to allow informed decisionmaking and eliminate duplication of environmental studies.

SEC. 5. ESTABLISHMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES INSTITUTE.

    There is hereby established a Natural Resources Institute (in this Act referred to as the ‘Institute’), the purpose of which shall be to provide a neutral forum to develop scientific solutions that improve the economic and environmental viability of the Intermountain West region of the United States. The Institute shall be located at the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory.

SEC. 6. DUTIES AND FUNCTIONS.

    The duties and functions of the Institute shall be as follows:

      (1) To initiate and perform multidisciplinary, solution-oriented, focused, and needs-driven research regarding natural resources, including--

        (A) coordination of research activities to minimize duplication of effort and maximize scientific advancement;

        (B) maintenance of meaningful public involvement in the development and implementation of research activities;

        (C) performance of research by accessing high-quality scientific talent through private partners of the Institute; and

        (D) performance of research and development on understanding and predicting regional ecosystem dynamics, developing methodologies and tools for environmental stewardship, and

developing and understanding the science associated with the natural resource issues in the Intermountain West region of the United States.

      (2) To support formulation and implementation of natural resources public policy through--

        (A) consideration of the balance of socioeconomic concerns and quality of life issues with environmental remediation, cost, and schedule concerns; and

        (B) involvement of the public with the research and development activities of the Institute.

      (3) To act as an information resource center by--

        (A) serving as a centralized repository for environmental data, data management, and analytical tools for the Intermountain West region of the United States;

        (B) entering into partnership agreements with private entities to access or acquire and maintain regional environmental data sets, including monitoring data, Geographical Information System coverages, satellite data, and data from local and regional ecological studies;

        (C) providing quick and affordable access to all existing public databases, such as those maintained by the Federal and State agencies, and, as appropriate, access to private databases developed to support specific models or decisions; and

        (D) maintaining trained personnel to assist the public and researchers in gaining access to information on natural resources.

      (4) To provide education and training, including--

        (A) education for the public, future scientists, and educators; and

        (B) seminars and training aids for the public and collaborating with universities in the Intermountain West region of the United States to provide resources, internships, and research opportunities.

SEC. 7. BOARD OF STAKEHOLDERS.

    (a) ESTABLISHMENT- There shall be a Board of Stakeholders for the Institute, which shall incorporate the vested interests and stakeholder prospectuses into the design and operation of the Institute.

    (b) Membership-

      (1) APPOINTMENT- The Board of Stakeholders shall be composed of 11 members who shall be appointed by the Secretary of Energy.

      (2) REPRESENTATION- The Board of Stakeholders shall be comprised of representatives from government, industry, the private sector, universities, and interest groups.

      (3) TERMS- Members of the Board of Stakeholders shall serve for a term of 5 years.

      (4) CHAIRPERSON- The Chairperson of the Board of Stakeholders shall be elected by the Board from among its members.

SEC. 8. DIRECTOR; STAFF.

    (a) DIRECTOR- (1) The Board of Stakeholders shall appoint, and define the requirements of, the Director of the Institute. The Director of the Institute shall exercise all authority granted to the Institute in this Act, including powers delegated by the Board.

    (2) The Director of the Institute shall be a nonvoting, ex officio member of the Board of Stakeholders.

    (3) The Director shall be responsible for the integration of the duties and functions of the Institute as described in section 6, and for ensuring the full involvement of all relevant environmental sciences and the full range of users in these duties.

    (b) STAFF- The Director of the Institute shall hire such staff as necessary to carry out the functions of the Institute under this Act.

SEC. 9. SCIENCE ADVISORY PANEL.

    (a) ESTABLISHMENT- There is hereby established a Science Advisory Panel which shall--

      (1) oversee development and implementation of the technical strategy of the Institute; and

      (2) provide oversight of the quality of science, and provide recommendations for the research and development portfolio structure of the Institute.

    (b) Membership-

      (1) APPOINTMENT- The Science Advisory Panel shall be composed of 15 members who shall be appointed by the Board of Stakeholders, in consultation with the Director of the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory.

      (2) REPRESENTATION- The Science Advisory Panel shall be composed of members representing multiple disciplines of science and engineering.

      (3) TERMS- Members of the Science Advisory Panel shall serve for a term of 2 years.

      (4) CHAIRPERSON- The Chairperson of the Science Advisory Panel shall be selected by the Science Advisory Panel from among its members.

SEC. 10. ACQUISITION OF INFORMATION FROM FEDERAL AGENCIES.

    The Institute may acquire from any Federal agency unclassified data and nonproprietary knowledge and information obtained by Federal departments and agencies to assist the Institute in carrying out its duties under this Act.

SEC. 11. ACCESSIBILITY OF INFORMATION.

    The Institute shall work with Federal and State agencies, universities, the public, and the private sector to ensure that the information and products of the Institute are useful and accessible.