Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has ordered the creation of a new group of scientific advisors who will help the department to plan for and address environmental emergencies. The Strategic Science Group will help Interior plan for environmental crises by providing science-based assessments of probable environmental crises, such as severe drought, wildfires, or an oil spill. When an emergency does occur, the group will rapidly assemble teams of scientists from government, academia, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector to assist with Interior’s response.
The group will be co-lead by Gary Machlis, a science adviser for the National Park Service, and David Applegate, associate director for natural hazards at the U.S. Geological Survey.
“Using the important lessons we’ve learned in preparing for and responding to past disasters, this group of expert, interdisciplinary scientists will play a major role in advising department-wide preparedness activities and grounding them in the best available science,” Salazar said in a statement.
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