People who work in the environmental field are often asked to review reports, regulatory proposals, and other documents. In some situations, the documents being reviewed have little potential impact on the person or organization doing the review. But in other situations, the documents may pose a threat or have a significant impact on the reviewer. It is very important to conduct an orderly and careful review to ensure that the author of the document did a reasonable job.
In this workshop, instructor John Veil draws on more than 28 years of experience reviewing EPA and state proposed regulations and reviewing dozens of reports and other documents to share some guidelines on a sound approach to conducting reviews. The workshop discusses the four main elements for conducting a careful review. Those elements include: a) choosing appropriate data sources, b) making proper assumptions, c) conducting suitable analyses, and d) presenting results and conclusions that are justifiable and fair based on the evidence contained within the document. The workshop provides examples of how these play an important role in doing good research and setting good environmental policy.
One of the more talked-about EPA documents in recent years (the December 2016 Hydraulic Fracturing Impacts on Drinking Water report) is used as the primary example to show weaknesses in data, assumptions, analyses, and interpretation/communication of results. Other examples come from serving as an expert witness, following good practices when writing your own documents (Veil’s 2015 report on produced water volumes and management practices is the example used here), misleading media reporting, and doing peer review of scientific manuscripts.
An ‘Open Discussion on Water Issues’ will take place at the end of this session.

Primary Author / Conference Presenter:
John Veil
Veil Environmental
Annapolis, Maryland, USA