responsibilities. It also recommended that ORD place greater emphasison anticipatory studies and monitoring, understanding human exposureto pollutants, and epidemiological research. The 1988 report urgedEPA to increase its efforts in public education, technology transfer,and education of environmental scientists. Reducing Risk: Setting Priorities and Strategies for EnvironmentalProtection (EPASAB, 1990), stressed the need for EPA and its research program to become more proactive. It argued that EPA and its researchprogram, which have finite resources, must move beyond the agency's longstanding practice of fragmented regulatory program responsesto individual statutory mandates, and move toward more cost-effectivelyaddressing the greatest health and environmental risks and pursuingthe greatest opportunities for reducing those risks. Among its recommendations,the 1990 report also urged that ORD place greater emphasis on ecologicalrisks and the development of better risk assessment methods and data.
In 1992, a panel of four scientists (including two members of thepresent committee) was asked by Administrator William Reilly to recommendways to improve the quality and credibility of science in EPA, includingthe research program and the use of scientific information in decisionmaking.The panel's report, Safeguarding the Future: Credible Science, Credible Decisions (EPA, 1992), emphasized the crucial need for science to help reduceuncertainty in EPA's decisionmaking, target the environmental problemsthat pose the greatest risks, anticipate future environmental problems,and bolster the agency's credibility. The panel found that EPA sciencewas uneven in quality and often perceived to be weak, although itacknowledged that the perceptions were unfair in some cases. It concludedthat the research program and scientific quality assurance in theagency lacked a coherent plan or sufficient priority. It expressedconcerns about EPA's ability to attract and retain first-rate researchscientists in its laboratories and research grants program. The panel's recommendations included calls for improvement in EPA's research-planning and budget process, the appointment of a scienceadviser to the administrator, greater use of scientific peer reviewin regulatory decisionmaking, improvement and expansion of the researchgrants program, less use of laboratory contractors, greater emphasison outreach and scientific collaboration with other organizations,and strong efforts to attract, retain, and develop top laboratoryscientists.
Stronger coordination and planning of environmental research amongU.S. agencies and greater outreach and research collaboration withother organizations in this country and abroad were also among theprincipal recommendations of Environmental Research and Development - Strengthening the FederalGovernment, 1992) and Research to Protect, Restore, and Manage the Environment (NRC, 1993). Although the scope of both reports was governmentwide,and therefore much broader than EPA, these reports also presentedrecommendations for organizational changes in EPA's research program.
The National Research Council's Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology, which oversees thepresent committee, has issued several reports urging improvementsin specific parts of EPA's R&D program. Recent examples of such reportsare Rethinking