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About the Science and Technology Policy Council

Science and Technology Policy Council

The success of EPA's mission depends on a strong and credible foundation of science and technology. Due to the breadth and scope of its science and technology activities, the Agency established and maintains a forum for senior- level policy deliberation and coordination on selected science and technology issues. Under Administrator Lee Thomas, the Risk Assessment Council (RAC) (PDF)
(2 pp, 25KB, About PDF)
, the Science and Technology Policy Council's predecessor, was established in 1986. The RAC's purpose was to oversee virtually all aspects of the Agency's risk assessment process. Senior Agency officials with experience and responsibilities in the area of science policy and risk assessment were appointed to the RAC. The RAC's objectives, agenda and membership were reexamined under Administrator William Reilly and its role expanded and chaired by the Deputy Administrator (PDF) (2 pp, 25KB, About PDF), Henry Habicht. This group established EPA's fundamental policies for conducting risk assessments and evaluating risk information. They also oversaw the activities of the Risk Assessment Forum.

The Science Policy Council (SPC) (PDF) (2 pp, 39KB, About PDF) was established in 1993 under Administrator Carol Browner with a broader mission and a new Framework as a replacement to the RAC. In July 2010, to reflect Administrator Lisa Jackson’s strong interest in promoting technology innovation to achieve environmental and public health goals, the SPC was reconstituted as the Science and Technology Policy Council (STPC). With a goal of integrating policies that guide Agency decision-makers in their use of scientific and technical information, the STPC works to implement and ensure the success of selected initiatives recommended by external advisory bodies such as the National Research Council and the Science Advisory Board, as well as others such as the Congress, industry and environmental groups, and Agency staff. In this way, the STPC provides guidance for selected EPA regulatory enforcement policies and decisions.

As part of Administrator Christie Whitman's initiative to improve the Agency's policy-making process to better integrate the highest quality science, she created the position of Science Advisor to the Agency (PDF) (2 pp, 363KB, About PDF). One of the duties of the Science Advisor is to chair the STPC. The STPC continues to be supported by standing groups such as the Risk Assessment Forum and by interim working groups. A small staff positioned in the Office of Science Advisor supports the STPC.

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