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About CAC

Powers and Duties:

The Citizens Advisory Council (CAC) to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection was legislatively created in 1971. This legislation, which created the original Department of Environmental Resources, gave the CAC the following charges:

  • The council shall review all environmental laws of the commonwealth and make appropriate suggestions for the revision, modification and codification thereof.
  • The council shall consider, study, and review the work of the Department of Environmental Protection and for this purpose, the council shall have access to all books, papers, documents, and records pertaining or belonging to the department.
  • The council shall advise the department, on request, and shall make recommendations upon its initiative, for the improvement of the work of the department.
  • The council shall report annually to the governor and to the general assembly and may make such interim reports as are deemed advisable.
  • The 1992 amendments to Pennsylvania's Air Pollution Control Act added to these charges by requiring DEP to consult with the council in developing state implementation plans and regulations to implement the federal Clean Air Act.

Five council members are elected to serve as the only citizen representatives to the 20-member Environmental Quality Board, the only non-governmental representatives on DEP's rulemaking body. In addition, four are elected to serve on the Mining and Reclamation Advisory Board. The council also sits on the Low-Level Radioactive Waste Advisory Committee and the Solid Waste Advisory Committee.

Council Composition:

19 Members - 18 appointed volunteers who are citizens of the commonwealth, who during their respective terms shall hold no other state office to which any salary is attached except that of membership on the Environmental Quality Board. Six each are appointed by the governor, the president pro tempore of the senate, and the speaker of the house of representatives; no more than three from each appointing authority may be of the same political party. Because the appointments originate from different authorities, the council's membership is diverse, not only geographically, but politically and professionally as well. The secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection also serves as a member.

Legislative Mandate

Act 275 of 1970

Section 448. Advisory Boards and Commissions

The Citizens Advisory Council shall consist of the Secretary of Environmental Protection, six members who shall be appointed by the Governor, no more than three of whom shall be of the same political party, and six members who shall be appointed by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, no more than three of whom shall be of the same political party, and six members who shall be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, no more than three of whom shall be of the same political party. The appointed members of the Council shall be citizens of the State who, during their respective terms, shall hold no other state office to which any salary is attached except that of membership of the Environmental Quality Board.

The term of office of each appointed member shall be three years, measured from the third Tuesday of January of the year in which he takes office or until his successor has been appointed.

The Citizens Advisory Council shall include persons knowledgeable in fields related to the work of the Department of Environmental Protection such as, but not limited to, ecology, limnology, toxicology, pharmacology, organiculture, and industrial technology.

The Council shall annually elect one of its appointed members as Chairman and shall elect a Secretary who need not be a member of the Council. Meetings of the Council shall be held at least quarterly or at the call of the Chairman.

The Council shall have the power to employ and fix the compensation of such experts, stenographers, and assistants as may be deemed necessary to carry out the work of the Council, but due diligence shall be exercised by the Council to enlist such voluntary assistance as may be available from citizens, research organizations, and other agencies in Pennsylvania or elsewhere, generally recognized as qualified to aid the Council.

Section 1922-A. Citizens Advisory Council

(a) The Citizens Advisory Council shall review all environmental laws of the Commonwealth and make appropriate suggestions for the revision, modification and codification thereof.

(b) The Council shall consider, study and review the work of the Department of Environmental Protection and for this purpose, the Council shall have access to all books, papers, documents and records pertaining or belonging to the Department.

(c) The Council shall advise the Department on request, and shall make recommendations upon its initiative, for the improvement of the work of the Department.

(d) The Council shall report annually to the Governor and to the General Assembly and may make such interim reports as are deemed advisable.

Act 95 of 1992, The Air Pollution Control Act

Section 7.6. Advice to Department

(a) The Department shall consult with the Citizens Advisory Council established under Section 448 of the Act of April 9, 1929 (P.L. 177, No. 175), known as "The Administrative Code of 1929," as appropriate, in the consideration of State implementation plans and regulations developed by the Department and needed for the implementation of the Clean Air Act. Nothing in this section shall limit the Council's ability to consider, study and review Department policies and other activities related to the Clean Air Act implementation as provided under Section 1922-A of "The Administrative Code of 1929." This section shall not apply to state implementation plans or portions thereof comprised of permit emission offset or reasonably available control technology requirements for individual sources; consent orders and agreements; or regulations. The requirements of this section shall not apply to State implementation plans submitted by a local air pollution control agency.

Section 4.3. Evaluation

Beginning five (5) years after the effective date of this section and every five (5) years thereafter, the Department shall conduct and submit to the General Assembly an evaluation of the effectiveness of the programs adopted to implement the Clean Air Act. The evaluation shall include:

(6) A summary of the activities undertaken by the Citizens Advisory Council and the air technical advisory committee under Section 7.6.

Council Staff:

The Department of Environmental Protection provides an Executive Director to serve as a liaison between the Council and the Department. The Executive Director also assists the Council with its administrative functions. The Council has the statutory authority to hire experts, stenographers, and assistants as may be deemed necessary to carry its work.  For more information write to the Council at PO Box 8459, Harrisburg, PA 17105-8459, e-mail at  leemurray@pa.gov, call 717-787-8171 or fax 717-705-4980.

Meetings:

The council meets monthly, except for August and December, or at the call of the chair. Meetings of the council are open to the public.

Bylaws Of The Citizens Advisory Council (PDF)