Box 5.1
The Methane Hydrate Research and Development Act of 2000 Requirement for a Methane Hydrate Advisory Committee

The Secretary shall establish an advisory panel consisting of experts from industrial enterprises, institutions of higher education, and Federal agencies to—

  1. advise the Secretary on potential applications of methane hydrate;

  2. assist in developing recommendations and priorities for the methane hydrate research and development program carried out under subsection (a)(1); and

  3. not later than 2 years after the date of the enactment of this Act, and at such later dates as the panel considers advisable, submit to Congress a report on the anticipated impact on global climate change from—

    1. methane hydrate formation;

    2. methane hydrate degassing (including natural degassing and degassing associated with commercial development); and

    3. the consumption of natural gas produced from methane hydrates.

SOURCE: P.L. 106-193, Section 3c.

The broad expertise of the committee was needed to develop recommendations and priorities for research being undertaken by the program and to fulfill the requirement that the panel provide a report on the impacts of climate change.

The first MHAC was appointed in November 2000. Its first meeting occurred in May 2001—one year after the act was approved, most of the goals of the program had been defined, and the request for proposals (RFPs) had been developed. The committee met for a second and final time in November 2002, even though its term of appointment actually ended in May 2003. Addressing this committee at an open meeting, the

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