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7 U.S. Code § 5402 - Office of Agricultural Environmental Quality

(a) Establishment

The Secretary shall establish an Office of Agricultural Environmental Quality in the Department of Agriculture (hereafter in this chapter referred to as the “Office”).

(b) Director

The Office shall be administered by a director who shall be appointed by the Secretary. The Director shall be an individual who has demonstrated technical expertise and experience in agricultural and environmental matters.

(c) Staff
(1) Appointments

The Director may appoint such employees as may be necessary to assist the Director in carrying out this section. Such employees shall include individuals who have professional expertise in matters related to environmental quality, including (but not limited to) agricultural production, water quality, wetland, wildlife conservation, soil conservation, and agricultural chemical usage.

(2) Liaisons

The Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Secretary of the Interior shall detail to the Office upon request of the Secretary, on a reimbursable basis, at least one employee, respectively, with expertise in matters related to agriculture and environmental quality. Such detailed employees shall serve as a liaison for their respective agencies with the Department of Agriculture to assist the Director in carrying out the provisions of this section. The term of the detail shall not exceed 3 years.

(3) Additional staff

Upon request of the Secretary, the head of any Federal agency is authorized to detail, on a reimbursable basis, employees of such agency to the Office to assist the Director.

(d) Duties of Director
(1) In general

The Director shall assist the Council in developing a departmental and agency-specific environmental quality policy statement and implementation plan and an annual agricultural environmental quality report, as specified in section 5403 of this title. The Director shall coordinate and monitor the activities of the Department regarding initiatives and programs related to environmental quality and the interpretation of departmental policies affecting environmental quality. The Director shall serve as a member of the Council and as its Executive Director.

(2) Additional dutiesThe Director shall also be responsible for—
recommending to the Council environmental protection goals and specific programs, initiatives, and policies that will balance the needs of production agriculture with environmental concerns;
providing advice to the Council on the development, implementation, and review of activities of agencies of the Department to ensure consistency with the Department’s environmental protection goals;
coordinating environmental policy within the Department through the program managers, and between the Department and other Federal agencies, regional authorities, State and local governments, land-grant and other colleges and universities, and nonprofit and commercial organizations, regarding programs and actions relating to environmental quality;
serving as a coordinator for the Department’s data, information, programs, and initiatives dealing with environmental quality;
developing the plans and reports required as specified by this chapter; and
providing such staff as may be necessary to support the activities of the Council.