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
    New York

   Carlos Perez
    New York

   Ana Romero-

  Ivonne Santiago

    Gail Small
                          November 24,2015

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-fifth meeting
on October 23, 2015 via a teleconference call. NAC members wish to express our
appreciation for the excellent organizational work of the Office of Diversity, Advisory
Committee Management and Outreach (ODACMO) to support the NAC in advancing the
mission of the CEC and the opportunity to provide our advice on important tri-national
environmental issues.

The NAC extends our appreciation to the EPA team for their support of our work.
Director Denise Benjamin-Sirmons, ODACMO, welcomed our members and provided an
orientation to the charge questions. The NAC welcomes the news that we have been
designated as a Presidential Advisory Committee and are proud  to serve in that voluntary
capacity. We also wish to express our thanks that the EPA is committed to organizing a
face-to-face meeting in April 2016.

The NAC also wishes to express our appreciation to Ms. Jane Nishida, Acting Assistant
Administrator, Office of International and Tribal Affairs (01TA) for her support and
guidance. We are particularly happy to learn of the appointment of our GAC colleague
Octaviana Trujillo to the Joint Public Advisory Committee (JPAC), and of NAC colleague
Gail Small to the Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) Roster of Experts. We
commend the efforts of our EPA colleagues who have worked to incorporate TEK into the
CEC Council considerations and its current status. We will look forward to advancing this
important new component in the CEC's mission. We also commend O1TA for its
leadership role in implementing the EPA Clean Power Plan and baseline water quality
standards in Indian Country, as well as its efforts in the recent National Congress of
American Indians.

Ms. Nishida provided the NAC and GAC members with an update on the Trans-Pacific
Partnership (TPP) and the upcoming 2015 UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties
in Paris. While the NAC understands that the TPP will not lessen that environmental
safeguards envisioned by the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation
(NAAEC), we will continue to advocate for the full implementation of the Agreement and
provide our best advice to the EPA regarding North American environmental matters. We
also applaud President Obama’s Climate Action Plan and the positive role of the EPA in
advancing its goals across North America and at the Paris negotiations. The NAC and
GAC members suggested that a briefing on the TPP and Paris conference might be
appropriate at our April 2016 meeting.
Ms. Nishida also briefed the NAC and GAC on the leadership transition within the CEC.
We wish to express our sincere appreciation for the outstanding positive efforts of the out-
going CEC Executive Director Irasema Coronado. Ms. Coronado’s guidance of the CEC
team and other stakeholders in the production of the 2015-2020 CEC Strategic Plan with
its priorities of climate change, green growth, and sustainable communities and
ecosystems, is one of the most significant actions taken by the CEC in the past two
decades. We commend and thank Irasema for all she has accomplished and wish her well
in her next endeavors.
We also wish to thank Ms. Coronado and Karen Richardson, CEC Director of Programs,
for their update on the CEC North American Projects for Environmental Community
Assistance (NAPECA) and the 2015-20 16 Operational Plan. In particular, we commend
Ms. Richardson’s management of the 16 projects and their contextual relationship to the
CEC Strategic Plan.
The NAC also thanks JPAC Member Bob Varney for his comments on the 2015 Council
meeting in Boston, especially the town meeting on “Water and Climate Change:
Adaptation Through Green Infrastructure.” Mr. Varney expressed enthusiasm about the
new TEK Roster of Experts and the JPAC support for their initial work. The NAC
appreciates all the volunteer efforts of the JPAC members and their thoughtful
Ms. Nishida provided important guidance to the NAC and GAC regarding the need to
maintain the momentum of the CEC during the various leadership transitions in our three
countries. The NAC members understand these challenges and will work diligently to
continue the priorities described in the CEC Strategic Plan and Operational Plan.
The NAC welcomes Mr. Mark Kasman, Director, Office of Regional and Bilateral Affairs,
OITA, and will look forward to working with him in the coming year.
The NAC greatly appreciates the work of Sylvia Correa, Senior Advisor for North

American Affairs in OITA, Associate Director Mark Joyce, Designated Federal Officer
Oscar Carrillo, Stephanie McCoy, and the entire ODACMO team for their outstanding
Thank you for your consideration of the attached responses by the NAC to the Charge
Question of how to maintain positive momentum during this time of political transition,
particularly as it relates to the projects in the 2O 5-2O16 Operational Plan — Climate
Change Mitigation and Adaptation, Green Growth, and Sustainable Communities and
Ecosystems. 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
National Advisory Committee
Jane Nishida, Deputy Assistant Administrator, Office of International and Tribal Affairs
Denise Sirmons, Office of Diversity Advisory Committee Management & Outreach
Oscar Carrillo, Designated Federal Officer
Sylvia Correa, Senior Advisor for North American Affairs, OITA
Gustavo Alanis Ortega, Chair, Joint Public Advisory Committee
Irasema Coronado, Ph.D., Executive Director, Commission on Environmental Cooperation
Members of the U.S. National and Governmental Advisory Committees
Administrative support for the NAC is provided by the U S Environmental Protection Agency,
Office of Diversity, Advisory Committee Management & Outreach
Mail Code 160 1-M, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave NW Washington, DC 204 0
(t) 202-564-2294(0 202-564-8129

National Advisory Committee (NAC)
To the U.S. Representative to the
Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC)
Charge Question: How can the CEC maintain positive momentum during this time ofpolitical
transition, particularly as it relates to the projects in the 2015-2016 Operational Plan• Climate
Change Mitigation & Adaptation, Green Growth, & Sustainable Communities & Ecosystems?
Advice 2015-4 (November 24, 2015):
There are a series of challenges -- and opportunities -- that the CEC will face during the
implementation of the Council-approved 201 5-2016 Operational Plan. Several political
transitions are underway, including: the end of the current CEC Executive Director Irasema
Coronado’s term and selection of a new director by Mexico to begin in January 2016; the recent
appointment of Rafael Pacchiano Alaman as Mexico’s new Minister for the Environment;
Canada’s recent national election of a new Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and gains by the
Liberal Party as the majority in Parliament; and, the last year of U.S. President Obama’s second
Two additional issues also serve as a back-drop for the work of the CEC: the recent passage of
the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact which includes Mexico, Canada and the United States;
and, the 21 st Conference of the Parties on Climate Change in Paris which will make an urgent
call to action by all countries to confront accelerating global environmental changes due to a
warming planet. These are both trade-and-environment related issues that will have an impact
on North America in coming years. Our three countries that have been dealing productively with
trans-boundary matters through the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation
(NAAEC) for over twenty years and as a result of this growing collaboration, have many lessons
learned and knowledge of best practices which can be communicated by the CEC beyond our
continent’s borders.
New opportunities have also arisen within the NAAEC framework. For example, the newly-
elected government in Canada offers the potential to extend the impact of the US President’s
Climate Change Action Plan. The Canadian Liberal Government recently released a policy
platform which includes the following statement: “ Work with the US and Mexico to develop a
North American clean energy and environment agreement... to provide continental coordination
of climate mitigation and resilience policies.” When combined with Mexico’s approved
National Climate Change Strategy, the political climate for an integrated North American energy
and environment action plan has never been better, or more needed, given the increasing threats
of climate-induced environmental changes.
A challenge the NAC recognizes during this transitional period is the potential for disruption in
the continuity of existing inter-agency relationships at many levels of the CEC’s work, with a
resulting loss of institutional memory and effectiveness. One of the most important duties of the
CEC is to continually communicate its mission, purpose, programs and accomplishments to
maintain a high awareness of North American environmental issues and avenues that the CEC
offers to address them. We recommend that the CEC Secretariat and Council members undertake
a series of briefings to ensure that all government agencies and other parties involved in the
NAAEC understand the work of the CEC. As appropriate, the NAC is willing to assist both the
EPA and JPAC to increase communications about the CEC. One suggestion is to celebrate the

accomplishments of the out-going CEC Executive Director with press releases and other media
coverage that will also permit public awareness of the organization’s mission and work.
With respect to the 2015-2016 CEC Operational Plan, the NAC has several comments about how
to maintain positive momentum during the next two years. Foremost among them is to
respectfully request that the current budget levels be maintained andlor restored to their original
levels of $3.0 million per year as each member country’s contribution. At a time when the
CEC’s mission is more important than ever, it is difficult to contemplate how it can continue to
effectively operate with the current funding levels.
The NAC commends the CEC for its progress with communications, especially with the virtual
library, North American map atlas, website and social media content. These are excellent and
comprehensive resources readily available to the public and should be continued and expanded
as new information is acquired.
The NAC applauds the CEC Council’s approval of the 15-member tn-national Roster of Experts
on Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) and provision of funding through the JPAC to
initiate their activities. We recognize that the TEK Roster was approved at the same July 2015
session in which the Council approved the CEC 2015-20 16 Operational Plan, but would like to
offer a suggestion toward the integration of TEK for the various projects described in the
document. We recommend that the TEK experts be given the opportunity to review the sixteen
projects and provide their perspectives and recommendations on how TEK could be incorporated
into the implementation phases, if appropriate and applicable. in particular, the six projects in
the “Sustainable Communities and Ecosystems” category include the recognition of indigenous
communities as stakeholders in some cases, but seem to overlook their potential roles as TEK
partners in the design and implementation of the projects. For example, Project #11. “Arctic
Migratory Birds initiative — the America’s Flyway Action Plan” states that the scientific
information will be shared with native communities, but does not indicate that TEK will be
solicited as part of the process. An informal and experimental approach to integrating the TEK
experts’ opinions for the current CEC Operational Plan can explore options for future strategic
plans and operational plans.
Water is a climate-related topic which the NAC believes should receive more consideration by
the CEC. While we understand there are many bi-lateral agreements between our countries
related to water and watershed management, we respectfully recommend reconsideration by the
EPA and CEC to include water as an important component of all aspects of the 20 15-2020
Strategic Plan Priorities. For example: climate change will induce extreme heat and catastrophic
weather events such as droughts and flooding; green growth should consider watershed sources
of clean water and recycling of water resources for transportation, clean energy and sustainable
production processes; and, sustainable communities and ecosystems will be dependent on the
quantity and quality of the water they can access.
Finally, the NAC supported the inclusion of the proposed Article 13 report on hydro-fracking in
the initial draft of the CEC Operational Plan but notes the absence of a specific reference to it in
the final approved document. The NAC is acutely aware of the public’s concern about the
impacts of hydro-fracking on water resources, particularly in arid regions and on tribal lands, as
well as soil and water contamination from waste fluids, increase in greenhouse gas emissions,
natural habitat destruction, safety of transport systems, etc. This study has the potential to
increase public knowledge about the scope and impacts of hydro-fracking and to identif i best
practices to protect the environment. We are aware that Article 13 reports may be undertaken at

the discretion of the CEC Secretariat and continue to express support for the further study of this
particular energy and environmental issue.
(1) Initiate a dialogue with U.S. counterparts in Canada and Mexico to explore new
possibilities for a North American ‘clean energy and environment agreement’ to provide
continental coordination of climate mitigation and resilience policies, establishment of
consistent emissions reductions standards, and scienljfic monitoring protocols.
(2) Restore the CEC’s budget to $9.0 million per year, $3.0 million from each member
(3) During the transitional period, the CEC Secretariat, Council members and JPAC
should brief all government agencies and other key parties involved in the NAAEC
about the mission and work of the CEC
(4) Engage in press and media briefings, re: the executive director transition, highlighting
Dr. Coronado’s accomplishments, and what to look forward to in terms of the CEC’s
Strategic Priorities and Cross-cutting Themes 2015-2020.
(5) Ensure adequate resources for the new Traditional Ecological Knowledge Rosier of
Experts to support its operations, and provide an opportunity to review the CEC 2015-
2016 Operational Plan’s 16 projects and provide their recommendations on how TEK
could be incorporated into the implementation phases, if appropriate and applicable.
(6) Reconsider water as an important component of all aspects of the 2015-2020 Strategic
Plan Priorities: Climate Change, Green Growth, and Sustainable Communities and
(7) Support, and restore budgetary resources for, the Secretariat’s proposed Article 13
report on the effects and concerns surrounding hydraulic fracturing within North