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About the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) at EPA

FACA committees are created to obtain advice on a wide range of environmental issues. Every committee meeting, no matter what the subject matter or where it is held, is dedicated to open government and citizen participation.

The committees are part of the Executive Branch decision-making process. Committee members include scientists, public health officials, businesses, citizens, communities, and representatives of all levels of government. Committee members are dedicated to a greater knowledge about the environment and what can be done to protect it. Over 700 members sit on EPA's federal advisory committees bringing a variety of perspectives and expertise to the environmental consensus-building process.

FACA committees can be created by the president, Congress or federal departments or agencies and must meet these basic requirements:

  • Meetings must be open to the public and the public must be permitted to present their views
  • All meeting minutes and reports must be available for public access.
  • The public must be notified of meetings by advertisement in The Federal Register.
  • Committee membership must be balanced by points of view.

The Role of Designated Federal Officers

The term Designated Federal Officer (DFO) is a requirement of FACA. A DFO or employee of the federal government chairs or sits in attendance of each advisory committee meeting and is so designated and authorized, whenever she/he determines it to be in the public interest, to adjourn any such meeting. The law further requires that no advisory committee shall conduct any meeting in the absence of that officer or employee.
FACA committees are located throughout EPA's headquarters and regional offices and provide advice and recommendations to the EPA Administrator and other senior leaders.  Committees range from those with a science focus (i.e., Board of Scientific Counselors, Science Advisory Board), to a geographic focus (i.e., Good Neighbor Environmental Board), to a functional focus (i.e., Environmental Financial Advisory Board, Children’s Health Protection Advisory Committee), among others.
In OMS, the Federal Advisory Committee Management Division provides FACA policy oversight and program management for all of EPA’s advisory committees.               
Federal Advisory Committee Act (Summary and Online Version)