How the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Uses the
Federal Advisory Committee Act to Achieve Collaboration
Throughout the years, EPA has used federal advisory committees, established and managed under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) of 1972, to solicit expert participation and citizen involvement in developing and implementing a wide variety of environmental policies and programs. The advisory committee process has proven to be an effective tool to achieve collaboration and build consensus among the Agency’s diverse customers and stakeholders.
The federal advisory committee process should generally be used when the Agency wants to get advice or recommendations from a group of people who are not solely federal employees and who have an expertise or perspective which can provide value to the decision making process. A federal advisory committee is:
- any group which is established by statute; or established or utilized by the President, or a Federal agency;
- used to obtain group advice or recommendations;
- composed of at least one member who is not a Federal employee.
FACA committees operate "in the sunshine" which means that their meetings, deliberations and reports are open and available to the public. EPA's federal advisory committees range from those with a science focus (i.e., Board of Scientific Counselors, Science Advisory Board), to a geographic focus (i.e., Good Neighbor Environmental Board), to a functional focus (i.e., Environmental Financial Advisory Board, Children’s Health Protection Advisory Committee), among others.
EPA currently has 22 FACA committees and 24 Subcommittees managed by virtually every major EPA program office. Last year, the Agency held 190 committee meetings which included 687 scientists, public health officials, business people, academics, citizens, and representatives of all levels of government. These meetings were open to the public, and many citizens had an opportunity to have their voices heard by the experts sitting at the table. The Office of Federal Advisory Committee Management and Outreach is the FACA committee management office for EPA.
Office of Federal Advisory Committee Management and Outreach
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., MC 1601M
Washington D.C. 20460