EPA solicits comments on Agricultural Science Committee nominees

By Erin Voegele | August 21, 2015

The U.S. EPA is inviting public comments on the list of candidates being considered for appointment to its Science Advisory Board Agricultural Science Committee, which provides advice to the board on matters that will have a significant direct impact on farming and agriculture-related industries. Comments are due Sept. 9.

According to the EPA, the chartered SAB was established in 1978 to provide independent advice to the agency’s administrator on general scientific and technical matters underlying the EPA’s policies and actions. Members of the board and its subcommittees are non-EPA scientists, engineers, economists and social scientists that are experts in their fields. Members are appointed by the administrator of the EPA and generally serve three-year terms.

In December, the EPA announced plans to establish a new agriculture-related standing committee of the SAB, which will provide advice on matters expected to have a significant direct impact on farming and agriculture-related industries. Nominations for committee members were accepted through March 30. The board sought nominations of individuals with demonstrated expertise in agricultural economics, agricultural chemistry, agricultural engineering, agronomy, aquaculture science, biofuels engineering, biotechnology, crop and animal science, environmental chemistry, forestry and hydrology.

The SAB staff office has identified 88 candidates for the committee. Several candidates are specifically identified as having experience and expertise in the field of biorefining. For example, two of the 88 candidates are employed by Abengoa. Quang Nguyen, scientist general manager at Abengoa, is a candidate. He has more than 35 years of experience in research and development in biomass conversion to biofuels, chemicals and feed. Nguyen has also designed and commissioned four pilot plants, one commercial demonstration plant and one commercial plant for the conversion of cellulosic biomass to ethanol. Thomas Robb, manager of institutional relations for Abengoa Bioenergy Corp., is also a candidate. His current research interests are focused on biomass logistics, including the interface with producers and alternative biomass storage methodologies. The list of candidates also includes Oscar Schlenker, who currently serves on the board of South-Dakota-based Glacial Lakes Energy, a company with 200 million gallons of annual ethanol production capacity.

Additional information on how to submit comments, along with a link to a full list of candidates being considered for the SAB Agricultural Science Committee, can be found on the Federal Register website