Overview and Purpose

The Oregon legislature found in Senate Bill 202 that policy and program decisions made by natural resources agencies, boards and commissions can benefit from independent scientific review that: (a) reflects a balance of representation from various research sectors, academic and nonacademic, public and private; (b) is performed by distinguished scientists from a range of disciplines; and (c) is clearly communicated to the public and state and local officials.
Senate Bill 202 establishes the Task Force on Independent Scientific Review for Natural Resources to “evaluate and assess the need for independent scientific reviews in Oregon and make appropriate recommendations” to the Governor and appropriate Legislative committees no later than September 15, 2016.

Task Force

Members of the task force were appointed by the Governor in consultation with the Vice Presidents of Research, or their designees, at Oregon State University, the University of Oregon, and Portland State University.

Task force members included members from the forestry, agriculture, manufacturing, conservation, academic and research sectors, and representatives of the three universities. In addition, at least one member was to have previously served on the Independent Multidisciplinary Science, Team, or on another state or federal scientific review body such as the National Academy of Sciences. The task force was directed to hold its first meeting on or before January 1, 2016.
Task Force Staffing

Senate Bill 202 directed the Institute for Natural Resources at Oregon State University to provide staff support to the task force.


Phases and Goals

The task force’s work was conducted in two consecutive phases. Phase I (goal 1) and Phase II (goals 2-4). The scope of Phase II depended on the results of the first phase.

Phase I

Goal 1: Assess the need (and capacity) for independent scientific review for natural resources in Oregon.

Phase II

Goal 2: If the task force determines there is a need for independent scientific review in Oregon, make recommendations on one or more entities that are best situated to conduct or coordinate independent scientific review.
Goal 3: Make recommendations on whether the entity or entities identified would need legislative authority to act as independent scientific review bodies for Oregon.
Goal 4: Make recommendations regarding the structure, function and processes of the scientific review entity or entities and the process for conducting reviews. Senate Bill 202 requires the task force to consider a number of questions in forming its recommendations.


Spring 2016

Phase I: Evaluate and determine:

  • if natural resources agencies, legislators and the public would benefit from independent scientific review
  • if existing resources for conducting reviews are meeting the needs of natural resource agencies and other policymakers
  • the mechanisms and structures being used in other states and at the federal level for independent science reviews in natural resources

If yes, then move to the next phase milestones. 

Summer 2016

Phase II: Recommend:

  • the entity or entities best situated to coordinate or conduct independent science reviews
  • the need for legislative authority
  • the structure and function of the review process

15 September 2016

At the latest, final report delivered to the Legislature.


For further information about the SB 202 Task Force, please contact:

Governor’s Office
Lauri Aunan, Natural Resources Policy Advisor
Institute for Natural Resources
Lisa Gaines, Ph.D., Director