The Secretary of the Interior shall establish a long-term initiative to be known as the “North Slope Science Initiative” (referred to in this section as the “Initiative”).
The purpose of the Initiative shall be to implement efforts to coordinate collection of scientific data that will provide a better understanding of the terrestrial, aquatic, and marine ecosystems of the North Slope of Alaska.
To ensure that the Initiative is conducted through a comprehensive science strategy and implementation plan, the Initiative shall, at a minimum—
(1)identify and prioritize information needs for inventory, monitoring, and research activities to address the individual and cumulative effects of past, ongoing, and anticipated development activities and environmental change on the North Slope;
(2)develop an understanding of information needs for regulatory and land management agencies, local governments, and the public;
(3)focus on prioritization of pressing natural resource management and ecosystem information needs, coordination, and cooperation among agencies and organizations;
(4)coordinate ongoing and future inventory, monitoring, and research activities to minimize duplication of effort, share financial resources and expertise, and assure the collection of quality information;
(5)identify priority needs not addressed by agency science programs in effect on August 8, 2005, and develop a funding strategy to meet those needs;
(6)provide a consistent approach to high caliber science, including inventory, monitoring, and research;
(7)maintain and improve public and agency access to—
(A)accumulated and ongoing research; and
(B)contemporary and traditional local knowledge; and
(8)ensure through appropriate peer review that the science conducted by participating agencies and organizations is of the highest technical quality.
(1) In general
To ensure comprehensive collection of scientific data, in carrying out the Initiative, the Secretary shall consult and coordinate with Federal, State, and local agencies that have responsibilities for land and resource management across the North Slope.
(2) Cooperative agreements
The Secretary shall enter into cooperative agreements with the State of Alaska, the North Slope Borough, the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, and other Federal agencies as appropriate to coordinate efforts, share resources, and fund projects under this section.
(d) Science technical advisory panel
(1) In general
The Initiative shall include a panel to provide advice on proposed inventory, monitoring, and research functions.
The panel described in paragraph (1) shall consist of a representative group of not more than 15 scientists and technical experts from diverse professions and interests, including the oil and gas industry, subsistence users, Native Alaskan entities, conservation organizations, wildlife management organizations, and academia, as determined by the Secretary.
Not later than 3 years after August 8, 2005, and each year thereafter, the Secretary shall publish a report that describes the studies and findings of the Initiative.
(f) Authorization of appropriations
There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as are necessary to carry out this section.
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