VOTE: NO – Died In Committee
Status (overview) of bill: https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2017R1/Measures/Overview/SB198
This bill establishes scientific review of natural resources by an Oregon Independent Science Review Board, Independent Scientific Review Secretariat, scientific review panels and Independent Scientific Review Fund within Oregon State University appointed and serves at the pleasure of the Governor.
Increased major budgetary commitments in natural resources creating a paid board and secretariat, which goes against the agency's work and programs that have had budget cuts the last couple of biennium's. Continuously appropriates moneys in fund to Higher Education Coordinating Commission for distribution to Oregon State University for purposes of board and secretariat. The natural resources agencies already has voluntary boards and commissions appointed by the Governor that should already be assuring that scientific reviews are done and unbiased without another layer of government.
Creates a board, panels, secretariat and supporting staff for all, growing government personnel and costs, and does not provide checks and balances to ensure that scientific review is done independently in an unbiased way. Science has become political and the definition of true science has eroded. Appointing a science board by one person is just furtherance of a political agenda. The board serves at the pleasure of the Governor, whom appointed them – meaning it will be impossible to ignore the possible influence the governor's office may have on the outcome. The review board will effectively ban all subject matter experts who have ever received funding or been employed by agencies, industry or NGOs and may come at the expense of relevant expert analysis. Even with proper funding, eliminating bias and achieving consensus will be extraordinarily difficult and will not produce any answers to politically charged high impact questions.
Association of Oregon Counties opposes the bill suggesting that the process will not produce any better outcome than procedures already in place, but will be an additional expensive layer of review that produces little in the way of consensus.