Environment and Trade Working Together
U S. National Advisory Committee
Independent Federal Advisors on the
North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation
                                                           Brian L Houseal
                                                           Tel 518-477-0741
                                                           blhouseall2@gmail com

                                                           Designated Federal Officer
                                                           Oscar Camllo
                                                           Tel 202-564-2294
                                                           camllo oscar@epa gov

   Brian Houseal
     New York

   Timothy Bent

  Michael Dorsey

  Abbas Ghassemi
    New Mexico

   Carolyn Green

    Tracy Hester

     Jodi Hilty

     Mary Klein

  Raymond Lozano

  Cecilia Martinez

    Teresa Pardo
     N&v York

    Carlos Perez
     New York

    Ana Romero-

   Ivonne Santiago

     Gail Small
                            Decembers, 2014
The Honorable Gina McCarthy
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20460

Dear Administrator McCarthy:

   The National Advisory Committee (NAC) to the U.S. Representative to the North
American Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) held its forty-third meeting
by teleconference on October 23,2014.  NAC members wish to communicate our
appreciation for your commitment to advancing the mission and strategies of the CEC and
the opportunity to provide our advice on these important issues.

   The NAC wishes to express our thanks to the EPA team for their organization and
support of our work.  Jane Nishida, Acting Assistant Administrator, Office of International
and Tribal Affairs (01TA), provided an orientation on the charge questions, especially our
recommendations on the upcoming CEC Annual Operating Plan and 2015-2020 Strategic
Plan. Ms. JoAnn Chase, Director, American Indian Environmental Office, OITA
described the EPA's participation on U.S. priorities, including Traditional Ecological
Knowledge (TEK). We also thank Sylvia Correa, Senior Advisor for North American
Affairs in OITA for providing an orientation on the CEC process and setting a context for
our work.

   The NAC wishes to thank Director Denise Benjamin-Sirmons, Office  of Diversity,
Advisory Committee Management and Outreach (ODACMO), Associate Director Mark
Joyce, NAC/GAC Designated Federal Officer Oscar Carrillo, Stephanie McCoy, and the
entire ODACMO team for their outstanding support.

   We appreciated the presentation by CEC Executive Director Irasema Coronado on
progress made toward implementing the Council's strategic priorities approved at the
Yellowknife meeting in July 2014, status report on the CEC, and proposed performance

   We  also thank JPAC Chair Bob Varney for his comments on the 2014 Council
meeting, especially TEK  issues, and the upcoming JPAC session in November that will
focus on blue carbon and the impacts of climate change on North American coastal

Thank you for your consideration of the attached responses by the NAC to the Charge
Questions regarding the CEC Operational Plan, Traditional Ecological Knowledge, and
the CEC Performance Indicators. We hope our advice is useful to you in your capacity as
a Party to the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation and look
forward to your response.

Brian L. Houseal, Chair
U.S. National Advisory Committee
Attachment: National EPA - Tribal Science Council on TEK Integration
cc: Jane Nishida
Acting Assistant Administrator, Office of International and Tribal Affairs, EPA
Denise Benjamin-Sirmons
Director, Office of Diversity, Advisory Committee Management & Outreach, EPA
Oscar Carrillo
Designated Federal Officer for the NAC and GAC, ODACMO, EPA
Sylvia Correa
Senior Advisor for North American Affairs, OITA, EPA
Bob Varney
Chair, Joint Public Advisory Committee
Irasema Coronado, Ph.D.
Executive Director, CEC
Members of the U.S. National and Governmental Advisory Committees
Administrative support for the NAC is provided by the U 5 Environmental Protection Agency,
Office of Diversity, Advisory Committee Management & Outreach
Mail Code 1601 .M. 1200 Pennsylvania Ave NW Washington, DC 20460
(t) 202-564-2294 (f) 202-564-8129

National Advisory Committee
To the U.S. Representative to the
Commission for Environmental Cooperation
Advice 2014-4 (December 3, 2014): CEC Operational Plan
The members of the NAC applaud the Environmental Ministers’ announcement during the 2014
Annual CEC Council Session in Canada that they will focus on three priority areas for the CEC
20 15-2020 Strategic Plan:
• Climate Change — Mitigation & Adaptation, Short-lived Climate Pollutants, Blue Carbon;
• Green Growth — Transportation, Clean Energy, Sustainable Production & Consumption;
• Sustainable Communities and Ecosystems — Priority Species and Ecosystems,
Landscapes and Seascapes, Sustainable Communities and Urban Initiatives.
We also commend the inclusion of cooperative initiatives that will be guided by three cross
cutting themes:
• Learning from and assisting vulnerable groups and indigenous communities;
• Enhancing the alignment of environmental regulatory standards, enforcement, and
compliance; and,
• Enhancing information, transparency, capacity building and communication
In particular, the NAC appreciates that the Ministers highlighted the valuable contribution that
local and indigenous communities can provide to the environmental management activities of the
CEC. The NAC strongly supports efforts that focus on preserving traditional ecological
knowledge (TEK) and practices of communities that contribute to addressing the effects of
climate change, conservation and sustainable use of natural resources and biological diversity.
The NAC’s responses to the Charge Questions below takes into consideration the Council’s
2015-2020 Strategic Priorities and Cross-cutting Themes for the CEC. We appreciate the
opportunity to comment.
The NAC members commend the CEC for its efforts to integrate the Council’s Strategic
Priorities and Cross-cutting Themes into the new projects of the CEC Operational Plan. We
recognize that the CEC 2014-20 15 Operational Plan is being drafted at this time and we
appreciate the EPA’s leadership of the interagency process to develop project ideas for the new
Operational Plan. Our advice is directed to the ‘Summary of USG Proposals for CEC 2015-2016
Operational Plan.’
Although the 28 projects described by the USG Proposals may all be meritorious and
demonstrate some degree of alignment with the CEC’s strategic priorities and cross-cutting
themes, we doubt that the CEC has the financial or human resources to adequately implement
very many of them. We suggest several criteria be used to prioritize the list including, first and
foremost, trilateral interest as well as the CEC mission, direct impact on the strategic priorities
and ability to attract other governmental or private sector funds to implement the project.
Several of the projects appear to have a strong and direct strategic linkage with climate change.
For example, Project #1. “North America’s Blue Carbon: Assessing the Role of Coastal
Habitats in the Continent’s Carbon Budget” (Ariana Sutton-Grier and Lauren Wenzel,
NOAA; Phil Colarusso and Clay Miller, EPA) builds on the initial CEC work accomplished

under the 2013-2014 Operational Plan. This is an opportunity to ensure that methodologies and
protocols for measuring and monitoring are international, which will be essential in the long-
term and so it seems appropriate for CEC to be a leading entity on this effort.
in a similar manner, several projects propose to continue and/or expand pollutant emissions
inventories for GHG reduction, mitigation, trading etc. and it may be appropriate to either
combine the projects or select the most relevant for current tn-lateral implementation and highest
level of potential impact. These include the following proposed Projects:
#2. Pollutant Emissions Inventories for Climate Mitigation (Terry Keating, US EPA);
#8 Opportunities for North American Greenhouse Gas Trading (Marc Lemmond,
#9 Reducing North American Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Power Generation
(Marc Lemmond, EPA);
#12 Reducing Emissions from shipping in North America (Angela Bandemehr, EPA);
#15 Enhancing North American enforcement of the IMO’s maritime fuel sulfur
limits (Brian Muehling, US EPA).
Project #7.Using Ecosystem Function and Tribal Ecological Knowledge together to Build
Resilience and Adapt to Climate Change over North America (Daniel Heggem, Michael
McDonald, John Lin, Robert Hall) offers what appears to be a strong example project of how to
integrate TEK. It is focused on a novel approach to climate change resilience and will serve to
collect TEK on an important topic. The NAC hopes it would also develop a model process
available for other TEK efforts.
The NAC noted with interest Project #21.,Engaging Farmers and Other Landowners to
Support Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Conservation (Donita Cotter, US Fish and
Wildlife Service). This project addresses conservation of the single species on the CEC logo, a
truly tn-national butterfly. While we applaud the recognition the endangered status of the
Monarch and need to enhance its habitat, we are concerned that the major threat contributing to
its decline is the use of new herbicides which eliminate the milkweed it depends on, and
pesticides which affect many other pollinators in little understood ways. As the project suggests,
it seems useful to initiate studies on how to plant compensatory milkweed, but that action alone
cannot be effective fast enough. We commend the EPA for its recent regulatory efforts regarding
pesticides and pollinators, and suggest that this project be revised to consider options for limiting
current and/or more expansive use of the herbicide that led to the collapse of the milkweed so
that the countries can assess and implement how to replace the lost milkweed in the same
quantity in other landscapes. To be effective this would ultimately need to include a tn-national
effort to enhance the conservation of this species.
The NAC recognizes that several of the USG proposed projects might be more appropriately
incorporated into the CEC Performance Framework and used to monitor North American
environmental quality as a result of implementing CEC’s the Strategic Priorities. In particular,
the following proposed Projects may provide useful mapping and monitoring tools to assess
long-term conditions if they can be integrated with the CEC’s on-going efforts:
#3.Interoperability & Maintenance of Information Systems (Bill Sonntag, US EPA);
#4.Air Quality Monitoring and Public Information (Phil Dickerson, US EPA);
#6.Local Environmental Observer Network (LEO) (Santina Gay, Region 10);
#1O.Integrated Assessment Tools for Evaluating Climate Change Mitigation and
Adaptation Options for North America (Dan Loughlin, Raj Bhander, Rebecca Dodder,
Carol Lenox, US EPA);

#22.Using the North American Invasive Species Network (NAISN) to maximize
invasive species management (Peg Brady, NOAA); and,
#27.Enhancing Environmental Law Enforcement in North America (Debbie Kopsick
and Susan Bromm, EPA)
The NAC notes the relative absence of USG proposed projects regarding ‘Urban initiatives’,
identified under the CEC Strategic Priority of Sustainable Communities and Ecosystems. Given
the projected growth and impact of cities and their related demands for energy, water, water
reuse, and other natural resources, we suggest that the EPA and CEC consider more so-called
‘green growth’ and ‘smart growth’ projects across the tn-national urban areas, especially where
vulnerable populations are located.
The NAC has noted in previous Advice Letters that water and water reuse is an environment and
trade issue that transcends individual watershed boundaries due to the increasing impacts of
climate change. While we recognize the many bi-lateral watershed agreements among our three
nations, we believe additional consideration should be placed on our precious water resources.
(1) The NAC respectfully recommends that the EPA further prioritize and reduce the list of
proposed USG projects based on criteria which reflect trilatera! interest, the CEC mission,
direct impact on the strategic priorities, and ability to attract other governmental or private
sector funds to implement the project.
(2) Noting that the NA C’s response to this Charge Question, re: the CEC Operational Plan is
incomplete due to the timing of the document’s preparation, we respectfully offer to provide
comments on the final draft 2015 CEC Operational Plan at such lime that the document be
made available to us.

National Advisory Committee
To the U.S. Representative to the
Commission for Environmental Cooperation
Advice 2014-5 (December 3, 2014): Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK)
The NAC applauds the CEC Council, JPAC and the Secretariat for the outstanding focus on
Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) during the July 2014 Council meeting in Yellowknife,
NWT, Canada. While the NAC understands the intent of the Charge Question, we do not believe
it is possible, or in many cases, appropriate to “. . .comprehensively integrate TEK into all CEC
projects...” either because the TEK won’t exist in all cases or because the native holders of it
may not be willing partners. As such we recommend that the CEC assess the availability of TEK
for all projects.
We support the use of TEK in all CEC work that impacts North American indigenous
communities and their natural resource base, as well as increased consultation with indigenous
leaders and organizations to incorporate their rich and diverse place-based knowledge into
environmental decision making. The NAC members noted several examples where so-called
‘scientific methods’ were augmented by indigenous knowledge that often spans millennia of
tribal relationships with wildlife, water, air and other natural resources and is often passed to the
next generations by oral tradition.
The NAC recognizes that not all indigenous groups would be willing to share their ancestral
knowledge with others, and have sensitivities regarding government policies and regulation over
their lands and resources. At the same time, there may be opportunities to incorporate TEK
through local environmental observer networks, and to assist indigenous communities to
document their knowledge within their own cultures so it will not be lost to the next generations.
The NAC suggests that the EPA and OITA recommend to the Council and CEC that a tn-
national working group be assembled to develop a scope and framework for incorporating
relevant TEK more effectively into the CEC Strategic Priorities and Annual Operational Plans. A
significant body of international experts and literature already exist. In particular, the United
Nations and International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) recognize that much of
the remaining biological diversity on the planet is located on indigenous peoples’ territory due to
their long-term stewardship of the local ecosystems and native species. In addition, the EPA’s
Tribal Science Council’s white paper (appended) “Integration of Traditional Ecological
Knowledge (TEK) in Environmental Science, Policy and Decision-Making” (June 2011) offers
an excellent proposed implementation strategy and potential measures of success that can be
used to as input and guidance for the working group. As appropriate, many NAC members are
willing and available to offer their own expertise to this important topic. The CEC may also
consider the use of NAPECA grants to expand the use of TEK as part of the 2015-2020 Strategic
Plan and Annual Operational Plans.
(1) The NAC respectfully recommends to the EPA that a Tn-national Working Group on
Traditional Ecological Knowledge be formed to explore appropriate protocols and
procedures to incorporate TEK into the CEC’s 2015-2020 Strategic Plan and Annual
Operational Plans.

(2) The NAC respectfully recommends that the CEC make available NAFECA grant funds to
encourage and strengthen the incorporation of TEK into North American programs and

National Advisory Committee
To the U.S. Representative to the
Commission for Environmental Cooperation
Advice 2014-6 (December 3, 2014): CEC Performance Indicators
The NAC commends the CEC’s integration of its mission and goals with the Strategic Priorities
and Cross-cutting Themes for 20 15-2020. In the past, the broadness of the CEC’s Strategic
Plan made it difficult to assess the CEC’s accomplishments. We applaud the Council’s efforts to
refocus the CEC’s strategy on the impacts of climate change across our shared terrestrial and
marine ecosystems of North America.
In the past, both the NAC and GAC have underscored the need for metrics to assess the CEC’s
success in improving the implementation of the NAAEC, and to make the CEC as transparent
and accountable as possible so that citizens can understand what the CEC is doing, why it is
doing it, and the extent to which the CEC is achieving the hoped-for results. The ‘CEC
Framework for a Performance Measurement System’ (Secretariat Draft, 19 June 2014) is a good
start for evaluating the effectiveness of CEC activities, strengthening the relevance and
transparency of the organization, and measuring organizational capacity. We commend the
development of the ten organizational-level performance measurements. However, we do not
believe the CEC Framework goes far enough.
The NAC has the following comments regarding the Framework for a Performance Management
in general the NAC applauds the CEC’s efforts to more clearly define the outputs and outcomes
of the organization and align them with CEC’s strategic objectives. The framework of defining
metrics as outputs and outcomes is very helpful in understanding the scope of CEC activities and
the range of their goals. However the selected outcomes, while reflecting the CEC’s purposes,
can in many cases be only marginally connected to the CEC’s actual impacts, as per the CEC
2015-2020 Strategic Plan and Cross-cutting Themes. Furthermore, the NAC views the listed
metrics (or at least #1- #8) as all “outcome” - based, with no “output” metrics included.
Of course it is difficult to measure the CEC’s impact on outcomes; that is why it is important to
focus more on “what” CEC does and “how” they do it, to help enable an assessment of their
effectiveness by their stakeholders, including those internal to their structure (e.g., Council,
JPAC, National Advisory Committees, etc.) The organizational performance metrics, numbers 9
and 10, measure “being on time” and “saving money”, and while important, are not directly tied
to the broad objectives of”. ..supporting cooperation among the NAFTA partners to address
environmental issues of continental concern, including the environmental challenges and
opportunities presented by continent-wide free trade.”
The NAC suggests that the CEC better define and communicate “what” they do, and “how” they
do it, so that they can more effectively measure and communicate performance. Environmental
management programs of all sorts face this same challenge; even though an organization fully
understands the broader goals (e.g., a healthy environment and more sustainable society while
optimizing and conserving resources), measuring program effectiveness in accomplishing those
goals can be a complex challenge, and even more so for the CEC on a tn-national scale.

The CEC has selected a strategy for implementing their objectives but how will it have a real and
lasting impact? In the NAC’s view, the CEC serves to influence governments’ policies and
actions: through informing the public on issues and trends from their unique perspective and
resource base; supporting and engaging in research and shared learning to enhance overall
capacity to manage selected objectives; and convening continental-scale fora to collaborate and
develop solutions. The CEC might then break those broad objectives down into more detailed
“whats” and “hows”, with Key Performance Indicators for each objective. This effort may bring
significant clarity to the CEC’s work, especially when viewed by outside stakeholder groups and
government units.
The following questions offer some examples of the specificity that the NAC is seeking in a
performance framework:
• Informing : Is the information useful and actionable? Did it fulfill a need or help build
awareness of one? How many citizens or groups used / benefited from of it? How can the
quality of the information be evaluated? What can be determined about the effectiveness
of the methodology used to inform?
• Supporting and engaging in research : Did the research help fulfill enhanced strategic
capacity? Was it useful in supporting shared efforts? Did it broaden the public’s
awareness of strategic issues in a way that can be built on further? Was it effectively
prioritized, given limited budget and capacity?
• Convening : Were the fora truly tn-national? Were they effective in accomplishing their
purposes? Was participant collaboration well facilitated? Were solutions generated or
enhanced through them? What criteria can help determine future success in convening?
• Influence : Did CEC’s recommendations or other influential methods result in
government actions? Did the actions effectively support their goals?
Interestingly, the Spent Lead Acid Battery case study seems to demonstrate the limits of the
CEC’s influence: an environmental problem has clearly been defined but so far no government
actions have been taken on it, to our knowledge. Why is this? What can the CEC do to be more
effective on this issue? The CEC should have the ability to ask why government actions weren’t
taken. The CEC’s recommendations may be absolutely valid and appropriate, but the fault may
lie with a government for not implementing it. Part of the CEC’s function should be to shine a
light when the governmental response isn’t forthcoming.
Finally, the CEC is uniquely poised to assess the impacts of climate change, green growth and
sustainable communities and ecosystems across North America. It has access to the scientific
information, mapping and monitoring tools, governmental mandate under the NAAEC, and
collaborative relationships at many levels to present a periodic and uniform assessment of the
conditions and trends of our shared terrestrial and marine ecosystems, and the human
communities which depend upon them for cultural and economic sustenance. The CEC has
produced some excellent examples of this expertise, including: ‘The North American
Environmental Atlas’ ‘The North American Mosaic; An Overview of Key Environmental Issues’
(CEC, June 2008) and ‘Taking Stock, North American Pollutant Releases and Transfers’ (CEC,
2011.) The NAC believes that the CEC performance framework should also incorporate
environmental baseline conditions and measures trends over the coming years to assess whether
or not it has had an impact on the Strategic Priorities and Cross-cutting Themes from 2015-2020.
A number of excellent references exist on measures and monitoring. One such resource is the
Conservation Measures Partnership ( ) to which the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service is a member, along with others, and for which the latest version is explicitly

requesting ideas on how to incorporate climate change into measures and monitoring
1) The NAC respectfully recommends that the CEC continue to refine the Performance
Framework and identjfy Key Performance Indicators to measure the efftcliveness of its
outputs and outcomes, and which can be readily understood by the CEC’s infernal and
external stakeholders.
2) The NI4C respectfully recommends that the CEC also incorporates environmental baseline
conditions and measures trends over the coming years to assess whether or not it has had
an impact on the Strategic Priorities and Cross-culling Themes from 2015-2020.

National EPA — Tribal Science Council
June 2011
Integration of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) in Environmental
Science, Policy and Decision-Making
Issue Statement
The traditional values and cultures of American Indian and Native Alaskan Villages (AIINAV)
nations are what make them distinct. The accumulated knowledge and understanding of
AIINAV’s homelands, also called Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK), is their connection
to the environment. The success of ALINAV environmental programs evolves from their
communities, traditional knowledge, and their economic and social dynamics. TEK could and
should be an important force in shaping scientific research. TEK is currently not recognized as
an important component of mainstream environmental decision making, subsequently inadequate
resources are being allocated to inventory, protect and utilize this knowledge.
AIINAV scientists need access to TEK and scientific resources and a process to ensure that
procedures performed by their staff are culturally-appropriate, defensible and accurate.
Additionally, developing core science competency and TEK programs in AIINAV communities
promotes self-sufficiency/determination (e.g., understanding data needs and developing data
quality objectives).
Explanation of the Issue
Native people have been accumulating and valuing TEK for thousands of years. TEK can help
confirm, support, or further define scientific research for the benefit of the environment and
human health. Developing capacity and training for TEK is critical for tribal environmental
decision and policy-making. Non-tribal members may need training in TEK for environmental
decision making, but an important consideration in such training is the confidentiality and
sensitivity of such information.
Through use of TEK, Tribes will have a better understanding of current and upcoming
environmental impacts, such as global climate change. For example, native languages often
capture the timing of flora/fauna cycles, which can be used as an ecological reference. In the
Tuscarora language, the word for “dandelions” is the same for “sturgeon”, indicating that
dandelion blooms and sturgeon runs coincide with one another. Tribal cultural practices, (e.g.,
the use of medicinal herbs, sustenance gathering, and basket making), and threats to the
resources upon which they depend, are intrinsically linked to TEK. The combination of TEK
with mainstream scientific research will enable a comprehensive response to environmental
impacts on traditional life-ways.
What do Tribes and Alaska Villages Specifically Need from EPA to Address the Issue?
• EPA should provide resources for the development of unique tribal policies to inventory
protect and utilize TEK (e.g., AK Native Science Commission)
• EPA staff should be appropriately trained on TEK policies prior to initiating
activities/projects with affected A IINAV

• EPA should support opportunities for training collaboration between tribes and EPA (e.g.,
through IPAs/details)
• EPA should support the building of tribal capacity (both technically and financially) to
implement TEK policies
• Recognize and support tribal language fluency and its association with TEK
• EPA should recognize that land claims/land rights within aboriginal territories are necessary
to the protection of TEK
• Develop specific programs to protect traditional foods (through mapping and assessment)
EPA should support the development and use of culturally-based environmental
standards/regulations integrating TEK
• EPA should support tribes in publishing peer-reviewed TEK journal articles and reports
Proposed Implementation Strategy and Potential Measures of Success
Proposed implementation strategies are:
• Increase funding for tribal TEK (activities as stated above)
• Expand tribal eligibility to build and implement TEK activities under existing EPA
programs (such as language fluency)
• Increase tribal ability to use EPA resources for both TEK and western science
• Coordinate with tribes to develop TEK sensitivity training for EPA personnel
• Develop accountability for tribal interests in aboriginal territories
• Have Tribes host student internships in which Tribal youth can bring their science/TEK
training and education to bear on critical Tribal issues
• Develop an EPA web presence for TEK
• Develop science training and educational opportunities that incorporate TEK in
cooperation with Tribes and provide online instruction to all levels of education
• Actively promote the importance of TEK in peer-reviewed literature through EPA
representation on technical membership consortia
Potential measures of success are increased numbers of:
• TEK policies developed by AIINAV
• Appropriate EPA representatives trained in TEK
• TEK-related presentations, research studies, and success stories shared at community,
professional, academic, government, and inter-government meetings and conferences
Funding available for ALINAV TEK activities
• Tribes for which traditional foods are mapped, assessed and protected. TEK-related
articles published in peer-reviewed literature
• Tribes, students, and agencies participating in TEK programs and internships
• EPA consultations that consider TEK with affected AIINAV communities (as assessed
through surveys, outreach, and feedback)