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Charter of the Consortium

I. GOALS

The Texas Environmental Research Consortium (Consortium) has been established to help policymakers and regulatory agencies improve their understanding of ozone science and air modeling along the East Texas Gulf Coast Region through directed research and applied science projects. The goals of the Consortium are to:

  • Coordinate with the Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission (TCEQ) to develop and implement an air quality research agenda that augments the TCEQ's research efforts and leads to improved understanding of ozone science and air modeling in the East Texas Gulf Coast region; and
  • Support and facilitate the development of sound air quality policies in the State of Texas and within the Houston-Galveston-Brazoria non-attainment region during the mid-course review in 2004 and beyond.
II. GOVERNANCE

The Consortium will be established in the Houston-Galveston-Brazoria ozone non- attainment area at a facility capable of administering and managing research capabilities in the areas of ozone science and air modeling.

The Consortium recognizes the TCEQ's authority and responsibility to perform the necessary technical analysis for development of State Implementation Plans and that the TCEQ must have complete confidence in any scientific results produced through the Consortium. Therefore,the Consortium will work collaboratively with the TCEQ in the development and execution of research and applied science projects.

The Consortium will be governed by a Board of Directors. The Board of Directors will consist of a minimum of nine (9) members,with initial representatives from the following areas: State Government, Harris County Government,the City of Houston, Academia, Business, Environment, and Health.

Three committees will be established by the Board of Directors to support and facilitate the work of the Consortium. These committees are the:

  • Science Advisory Committee (SAC);
  • Science Synthesis Committee (SSC);and
  • Consortium Advisory Council

The specific roles and responsibilities of the Board of Directors and these Committees are delineated in Section IV of this document.

III. ADMINISTRATION AND MANAGEMENT OF THE CONSORTIUM

The Board of Directors will select a Research Management Organization (RMO)to manage the activities of the Consortium. The RMO will be selected from qualified facilities in the Houston-Galveston-Brazoria non-attainment area that are capable of administering and managing research capabilities in the areas of ozone science and air modeling along the East Texas Gulf Coast region. The RMO will employ an Executive Director of the Consortium to manage the day-to-day activities of the Consortium. The RMO will execute Board policies and guidelines, coordinate the activities of the Consortium with the Consortium's three standing committees, as well as with appropriate officials of the TCEQ, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and various other organizations that are engaged in air quality research and modeling. The RMO also will regularly advise the Board of Directors on the operations of the Consortium. The specific responsibilities of the RMO are delineated in Section IV of this document.

IV. ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

A. Board of Directors

The Consortium's Board of Directors has the following duties:

  • Establish the Consortium's policies so that they are consistent with the overall objectives of the Consortium;
  • Ensure the maintenance and growth of the Consortium through support of the Consortium's Committees and Advisory Council, the RMO and the Consortium's Executive Director in achieving the Consortium's mission and goals;
  • Ensure the financial well-being of the Consortium, and oversee its assets and financial performance to assure that public and private contributions are utilized effectively and efficiently in achieving the Consortium's scientific objectives;
  • Advocate use of the Consortium's scientific and policy-relevant findings in the TCEQ and the EPA's clean air programs and policies; and
  • Lead the Consortium in fundraising activities with the federal government, state government, philanthropic groups and private sector organizations in order to provide for air quality research on a long-term basis.

The Board of Directors will select a Chairman and Vice Chairman from among its members.

B. Research Management Organization

The activities of the Consortium will be managed by the RMO, who reports to the Board of Directors. The RMO will support the Board through the following actions:

  • Implement the policies of the Board and facilitate the Board's policy-making activities. Recommend policy changes to the Board as the need arises;
  • Develop and manage the Consortium's annual budget to ensure completion of the Consortium's Strategic Research Plan;
  • Develop and facilitate the implementation of the Consortium's Strategic Research Plan in consultation with the SAC, SSC, the Advisory Council as well as with the TCEQ's Interim Science Coordinating Council and the EPA;
  • Convene periodic meetings of the SAC and the SSC so they may assist the RMO in developing and guiding the research and policy agenda of the Consortium;
  • Establish and maintain a process to select and manage contracted research on behalf of the Consortium;
  • Maintaining ongoing participation in the TCEQ's Interim Science Coordinating Council to ensure that the research activities undertaken by the Consortium are, to the extent possible, consistent with and complimentary to the scientific needs identified by the TRNCC;
  • Organize and facilitate advisory councils and workgroups that may be necessary for the Consortium to pursue its research agenda;
  • Ensure that the results of the Consortium's research agenda are made available to the Board, the TCEQ, the EPA and regional stakeholders in a timely manner;
  • Establish and maintain a project management system to track implementation of the Consortium's Strategic Research Plan and the specific research projects contained in that Plan;
  • Develop and maintain the Consortium's operating budget to support implementation of the Strategic Research Plan. Track expenditures on a research project basis. Prepare monthly and quarterly expense reports regarding the activities and operations of the Consortium;
  • Develop and direct the annual workplan of the Consortium, including specific and clear schedules for the initiation and completion of each research project;
  • Work with the Consortium's Committees (described below) to ensure timely completion of each research project;
  • Allocate funds for each project. Track the expenditures of the Consortium in the aggregate as well as overall and by particular research projects. Reallocate funds as the need arises among various projects to ensure that the research agenda is achieved;
  • Update the Consortium's research agenda each quarter,in consultation with the SAC, the SSC, the Advisory Council, the TCEQ and the EPA; and
  • Perform various other duties that are necessary to assure attainment of the Consortium's goals and objectives.

The RMO will appoint an Executive Director of the Consortium to manage the activities of the Consortium on a daily basis.

C. Science Advisory Committee

The Science Advisory Committee (SAC) will be composed of individuals from the scientific, public health, and/or public policy communities who are knowledgeable with regard to ozone science and air modeling research. The Consortium Board of Directors will appoint the Committee. The SAC will review and prioritize research projects to be funded through the Consortium,based on the roadmap provided by the Strategic Research Plan. The primary goal of the SAC is to ensure that the selection and implementation of research projects is fair, efficient, independent and scientifically valid.

The SAC activities will be supported by the RMO. With this support and under the guidance of the Executive Director, the SAC has the following duties:

  • Advise the Consortium on its research program and assist in the development of a Strategic Research Plan;
  • Select research issues and/or types of projects to be implemented in accordance with the Strategic Research Plan;
  • Establish a process for peer reviews of proposals and the selection of research projects;
  • Establish a process for seeking and receiving project proposals; and
  • Review and prioritize research proposals and/or entities. Develop and submit recommendations to the RMO.
D. Science Synthesis Committee

The TCEQ has already established a Science Synthesis Committee (SSC) under its Interim Science Coordinating Council. The activities of the Consortium will be advanced if the TCEQ would enlarge its SSC to include at least two representatives from the Consortium. Because of this fact,the RMO and the Consortium's Executive Director will seek to establish a joint SSC between the Consortium and the TCEQ. An SSC of the Consortium will be created if a joint TCEQ-Consortium SSC is not established. In lieu of a satisfactory joint TCEQ-Consortium SSC,the Consortium's SSC will be composed of 5-7 members from the scientific, public health, and/or public policy communities who are knowledgeable with regard to ozone science and air modeling research. The Consortium Board of Directors will appoint the SSC. The SSC's activities will be supported by the RMO. With this support and under the guidance of the Executive Director,the SSC has the following duties:

  • Evaluate pertinent research findings that are completed under the auspices of TCEQ, EPA, Southern Oxidant Study, the Texas Air Research Center,the Consortium and/or other organizations doing research in the field of air quality research and modeling;
  • Write reports that summarize and synthesize the most important new air quality research findings. The synthesis reports should be technically oriented but accessible to a broader audience than the air quality research community, and should outline both the scientific and policy implications of the new research findings; and
  • Publish the findings of this research evaluation every six months and make recommendations to the TCEQ and the Consortium for updating the Strategic Research Plan.
E. Consortium Advisory Council

A Consortium Advisory Council (CAC), under the leadership of the Consortium Executive Director, will work in coordination with the RMO to advise and support the Board of Directors in achieving the goals of the Consortium. The Advisory Council will be composed of members who are knowledgeable in the areas of public policy and ozone science. The Board of Directors will appoint the Advisory Council. The Advisory Council's activities will be supported by the Consortium's Executive Director and the RMO. The Advisory Council has the following duties:

  • Work with the Executive Director and RMO in making Consortium policy recommendations to the Board of Directors;
  • Provide on-going input to the Consortium on the implementation of the Consortium's Strategic Research Plan;
  • Advise the Executive Director and the RMO on the management of the Consortium's affairs to ensure that its goals and objectives are achieved;
  • Work with the Executive Director and Board to establish fundraising opportunities and priorities; and
  • Work with the Board to further develop the Consortium,including its legal structure, bylaws and operating procedures.
V. EXTERNAL COMMUNICATIONS

The external communications of the Consortium will be organized and coordinated by the RMO and the Consortium Executive Director. Policy recommendations by the Consortium to the TCEQ,the EPA and the public will be approved by the Board of Directors. The RMO and Consortium Executive Director will consult with the Consortium's Committees in organizing and coordinating the external communications of the Consortium.

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