sial decisions and must be able to access and understand the latest scientific techniques and approaches. There has been progress toward agency-wide science integration with the establishment of the Office of the Science Advisor, and further progress might be made with the shift of the science advisor position from within ORD to the Office of the Administrator in early 2012; however, the Office of the Science Advisor may need further authority from the administrator or additional staff resources to continue to improve the integration and coordination of science across the programs and regions throughout the agency.
As discussed in several places in this report, EPA has made important progress in human health and environmental science and engineering over the last few decades, and the environment is better today because of that progress. However, as the committee reviewed emerging challenges and scientific tools and evaluated the capacity of the agency to respond, the need for substantially enhanced science leadership throughout the agency became clear. When the committee speaks of enhanced science leadership, it is not just referring to the strengthened capacity of someone in a high-level position within EPA to whom the administrator has provided independence, authority, and resources, but also the internal support at all levels in the agency (including scientists, analysts, directors, and deputy and assistant administrators) to ensure that the highest-quality science is developed, evaluated, and applied systematically throughout the agency’s programs.
At least four independent reports in the last 20 years (EPA 1992, NRC 2000, GAO 2011, EPA SAB 2012b) have, on the basis of their own analyses recommended enhanced science leadership. Some of the specific recommendations included the need for the position of deputy administrator for science with sufficient resources and authority to coordinate scientific efforts in the agency (as noted above) and to build collaboration with external agencies and expertise; the establishment of an overarching issue-based planning process and a scientific agenda for major environmental issues that integrates and coordinates scientific efforts throughout the agency and that is regularly reviewed and updated; a coordinated approach to managing and strengthening EPA’s scientific workforce that will serve as a resource for the entire agency; and a strategy that promotes science integration by making it a more consistent priority, by strengthening management oversight, and by strengthening participation and support of EPA scientists. Most recently, the EPA Science Advisory Board (SAB) noted that
Narrow interpretations of legislative mandates and the organizational structure of the EPA’s regulatory programs have posed barriers, in many cases, to innovation and cross-program problem solving. EPA managers and staff in many interviews, especially in program offices, defined the success of their programs in terms of meeting statutory requirements and court-ordered deadlines. Although meeting legal mandates is essential, the EPA needs a broader perspective that extends beyond specific program objectives to achieve multiple environmental protection goals, including