2015 ORS 352.808¹
Institute for Natural Resources

(1) The Institute for Natural Resources is established at Oregon State University. In administering the institute, Oregon State University may seek the cooperation of other public universities listed in ORS 352.002 (Public universities).

(2) The Institute for Natural Resources shall serve the following purposes:

(a) Serve as a clearinghouse for scientifically based natural resources information.

(b) Provide scientifically based natural resources information to the public in integrated and accessible formats.

(c) Coordinate efforts with other state agencies and bodies to provide natural resources information to the public in a comprehensive manner.

(d) Facilitate and conduct research.

(e) Provide information and technical tools to assist decision-making on natural resources issues.

(f) Assist the State Parks and Recreation Commission in carrying out the Natural Areas Program by maintaining a data bank that contains a classification of natural heritage resources and an inventory of the locations of the resources. At a minimum, the institute shall record in the data bank the location of state natural areas, the natural heritage resources in those areas, sites that are inhabited by rare species, and lists that rank by rarity species, plant communities and ecosystem types. The institute shall make the information included in the data bank available to private landowners, researchers and local, state and federal agencies.

(g) Assist the State Parks and Recreation Department in carrying out the Natural Areas Program by reviewing and providing recommendations on proposals for registration and dedication of natural areas.

(3) When making observations on private land, an employee of Oregon State University, or another public university listed in ORS 352.002 (Public universities) that is providing administrative support, who is compiling information for the Natural Areas Program pursuant to subsection (2)(f) of this section must obtain permission from the landowner before entering private land, collecting information or entering the information into the data bank.

(4) Using existing resources, state agencies designated by the Governor shall enter into a memorandum of understanding, or other agreement deemed appropriate by the Governor, with the institute that defines and clarifies the roles and responsibilities of the agencies in order to prevent duplication of effort and to ensure that agency resources are used efficiently.

(5) State agencies may contract with the institute to fulfill agency needs regarding the collection, storage, integration, analysis, dissemination and monitoring of natural resources information and natural resources research and training. [Formerly 352.239]

Note: Sections 1 to 3, chapter 771, Oregon Laws 2015, provide:

Sec. 1. The Legislative Assembly finds and declares that:

(1) 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.

(2) Oregon is home to many highly qualified scientists with recognized expertise in a variety of disciplines who are willing to contribute their time and knowledge to scientific reviews to inform the decisions made regarding state and local natural resources policies and programs. [2015 c.771 §1]

Sec. 2. (1) The Task Force on Independent Scientific Review for Natural Resources is established, consisting of up to 15 members.

(2) Members of the task force shall be 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.

(3)(a) The task force shall consist of members from the forestry, agriculture, manufacturing, conservation, academic and research sectors, and representatives of Oregon State University, the University of Oregon and Portland State University.

(b) At least one member of the task force shall have previously served on the Independent Multidisciplinary Science Team created under ORS 541.914 (Independent Multidisciplinary Science Team), as in effect prior to the operative date specified in section 9 of this 2015 Act [January 1, 2017], or on another state or federal scientific review body, such as the National Academy of Sciences.

(c) Representatives from state natural resources agencies may participate as nonvoting members.

(4) The task force shall evaluate and assess the need for independent scientific review in Oregon and make appropriate recommendations. In developing its recommendations, the task force shall:

(a) Proceed with the understanding that:

(A) Independent scientific reviews are not intended to replace internal agency reviews of natural resources policy and program decisions; and

(B) Agencies are not required to use an independent scientific review panel as recommended by the task force;

(b) Evaluate whether natural resources agencies, legislators and the public would benefit from the incorporation of independent scientific review in the making of policy decisions;

(c) Evaluate whether existing state, federal and academic resources for conducting independent scientific review are meeting the needs of natural resources agencies and other policymakers; and

(d) Evaluate the mechanisms and structures that are in place in other states and at the federal level for independent scientific review related to natural resources policy.

(5)(a) If the task force determines there is a need for independent scientific review in Oregon, the task force shall make recommendations on one or more entities, which may include existing scientific entities in Oregon or a new independent scientific review entity, that are best situated to conduct or coordinate independent scientific review and whether the entities identified would need legislative authority to act as independent scientific review bodies for Oregon.

(b) If the task force recommends use of a particular existing scientific entity, the task force shall make any recommendations regarding necessary changes to the entity based on the evaluation and assessment undertaken pursuant to subsection (4) of this section. If the task force recommends the development of a new independent scientific review entity, the task force shall make recommendations regarding how to structure a new independent scientific entity.

(6) In making recommendations under subsection (5) of this section, to ensure that an entity will provide scientific review that is independent, the task force shall consider:

(a) Whether the entity should provide reports to the Legislative Assembly or otherwise be subject to special legislative oversight;

(b) Whether organizational safeguards must be established or changed within the entity to ensure that the entity is free from bias and that a wide variety of natural resources disciplines and interests are represented;

(c) How to develop or change the structure or processes of the entity’s advisory board or other governing body in order to support the independence of scientific review panels convened by the entity, which shall include consideration of the entity’s advisory board or other governing body directing or participating in the scientific analysis and review conducted or coordinated by the entity;

(d) How the entity’s funding structure should be created, altered or supplemented to ensure that there is no perception of bias in the funding of independent scientific review panels and to ensure that adequate funds are available to convene such panels;

(e) How to develop processes for conducting or coordinating independent scientific review in order to encourage balanced, broad and diverse participation among the scientific disciplines that may be called upon in the course of independent scientific review; and

(f) How to develop procedures for the selection and deliberation of scientific experts to participate in independent scientific reviews, taking into consideration lessons learned from the processes used by the former Independent Multidisciplinary Science Team and other processes for independent scientific reviews.

(7) The task force also shall make recommendations regarding the structure and function of the process to be used by the recommended entities in the course of independent scientific reviews. In making recommendations under this subsection, the task force shall consider:

(a) Whether the entity should respond to inquiries from the Governor’s office or the Legislative Assembly, the citizen boards of natural resources agencies or from other appropriate parties;

(b) Whether the entity should independently select science issues to review;

(c) Whether a state agency should be required to respond in writing to a report issued by an independent scientific review panel, explaining how the agency intends to implement the panel’s suggestions or why the agency does not plan to implement the suggestions;

(d) How to enhance involvement of the University of Oregon, Oregon State University, Portland State University and other universities in the independent scientific review process; and

(e) How to provide a scientific review process that is open to the public and that inspires public confidence in, and understanding of, the review process without compromising the independence of the review.

(8) A majority of the voting members of the task force constitutes a quorum for the transaction of business.

(9) Official action by the task force requires the approval of a majority of the voting members of the task force.

(10) The task force shall elect one of the voting members to serve as chairperson.

(11) If there is a vacancy for any cause, the Governor shall, in consultation with the Vice Presidents of Research, or their designees, at Oregon State University, the University of Oregon and Portland State University, make an appointment to become immediately effective.

(12) The task force shall meet at times and places specified by a majority of the voting members of the task force.

(13) The task force may adopt rules necessary for the operation of the task force.

(14) The task force shall have its first meeting on or before January 1, 2016.

(15) The task force shall submit a report of its findings and recommendations to the Governor and to an appropriate committee of the Legislative Assembly in the manner provided in ORS 192.245 (Form of report to legislature) no later than September 15, 2016.

(16) The Institute for Natural Resources shall provide staff support to the task force.

(17) Members of the task force are not entitled to compensation, but may be reimbursed for actual and necessary travel and other expenses incurred by them in the performance of their official duties in the manner and amounts provided for in ORS 292.495 (Compensation and expenses of members of state boards and commissions). Claims for expenses shall be paid out of funds appropriated to the Institute for Natural Resources for purposes of the task force.

(18) All agencies of state government, as defined in ORS 174.111 ("State government" defined), are directed to assist the task force in the performance of its duties and, to the extent permitted by laws relating to confidentiality, to furnish such information and advice as the members of the task force consider necessary to perform their duties. [2015 c.771 §2]

Sec. 3. Sections 1 and 2 of this 2015 Act are repealed on January 2, 2019. [2015 c.771 §3]


1 Legislative Counsel Committee, CHAPTER 352—Public Universities, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ors352.­html (2015) (last ac­cessed Jul. 16, 2016).
 
2 OregonLaws.org contains the con­tents of Volume 21 of the ORS, inserted along­side the per­tin­ent statutes. See the preface to the ORS An­no­ta­tions for more information.
 
3 OregonLaws.org assembles these lists by analyzing references between Sections. Each listed item refers back to the current Section in its own text. The result reveals relationships in the code that may not have otherwise been apparent.