Frequently Asked Questions about NEJAC Nominations
What positions are vacant?
For 2019, the Environmental Protection Agency is seeking nominations from four stakeholder workforce sectors, including academia; community-based organizations, non-governmental organizations and tribal governments and indigenous organizations. Nominees will be considered according to the mandates of Federal Advisory Committee Act which requires committees to maintain diversity across a broad range of constituencies, sectors, and groups. Please be aware that EPA’s policy is that, unless otherwise prescribed by statute, members generally are appointed to one-, two- or three-year terms.
Who CAN NOT serve on the NEJAC?
The following individuals are ineligible to serve on the NEJAC:
- Lobbyists registered with the U.S. Congress, including the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate
- Federal Government Employees – the NEJAC charter stipulates that members are non-federal
In addition, alternates or proxies CAN NOT participate on behalf of members because individual members are nominated by the Administrator. As such, if someone from your organization is also interested in serving, a separate nomination package must be submitted. All nominations are considered individually.
How often does the NEJAC meet? What is the time commitment for members? What activities are required of members?
The NEJAC conducts its business through a combination of face-to-face meetings, as well as teleconference calls. The NEJAC usually meets face-to-face twice annually, supplemented by 2 to 3 public teleconference calls. The average workload for the members is approximately 5 to 8 hours per month, which represents a rough estimate of the time members spend in teleconference calls, reviewing relevant documents, or meeting face-to-face. Between meetings, some members may participate on a work group that meets twice a month via teleconference call. Throughout the year, members circulate material for members to review. We are exploring the use of webinars as well. As a federal advisory committee whose primary mission is to provide independent consensus advice to the Administrator, the NEJAC is required by law to conduct its deliberations in a public forum. As such, NEJAC deliberations are not conducted via e-mail.
What issues will the NEJAC be working on for 2020?
The objectives for meetings during FY2020 include broad discussions about practical solutions for evolving environmental justice issues, including but not limited to: identifying barriers and opportunities related to cleanup and reuse of Superfund Sites. The cross-cutting nature of the mission of the NEJAC supports EPA’s FY2018 -2022 Strategic Plan. Other issues may be placed on the NEJAC agenda during the year.
Is travel involved? If so, how frequent, for how long, and to where? Who pays for travel?
Members serve on the Council in a voluntary capacity. When travel is required, EPA reimburses invitational travelers for all relevant travel expenses associated with official government business. Currently, EPA pays for lodging and transportation (air/rail) and reimburses travelers for other relevant and appropriate out-of-pocket incidental travel expenses, such as mileage reimbursement, taxis to and from the airport, etc. Members also receive a meal per diem reimbursement in accordance with the Federal Travel per diems established by the U.S. General Services Administration. Travel for a 2-day face-to-face meeting typically involves 3 days of travel, with members traveling the day before the meeting and returning the evening of the second day or the morning of the third day. Meetings are held throughout the continental United States, in locations such as Washington, DC; Albuquerque, NM; Denver, CO; Gulfport, MS, and Minneapolis, MN.
How many recommendations are typical for an applicant?
Nominees are required to have at least one letter of recommendation, although several nominees have submitted two recommendations. Some have submitted three or more.
Would you suggest more or fewer applicants from an EPA Region?
The NEJAC, as a federal advisory committee, is comprised of a wide range of stakeholders who represent diverse points of view; they do not represent EPA regions. However, every attempt is made to appoint individuals from each of the EPA regions. Geographic diversity is just one factor in the selection of the final slate of applicants proposed for membership; as such, there are no limits to the number of applicants from a region. Members are appointed by the EPA Administrator. Anyone can nominate a person for consideration. Self-nominations are encouraged.
Is it appropriate for EPA staff to provide a letter of recommendation?
Anyone, including federal employees, can nominate individuals for membership on federal advisory committees. In addition, federal employees can submit letters of recommendation supporting the nomination of an individual for membership on a federal advisory committee. Such letters can be drafted in their capacity as a private citizen or in their capacity as a federal employee if they have the authority to represent their agency in such matters.