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SFS Statement on Policy and Procedures for Science & Education Advocacy

The North American Benthological Society (NABS) is an international, scientific organization whose purpose is to promote better understanding of freshwater biota and advocate their critical role in the natural functioning of aquatic ecosystems, which supports so many public needs and activities. Our 1600 members are employed by private firms, universities, and government agencies throughout the world and represent a wealth of independent scientific knowledge and experience. It is incumbent upon NABS to make available its collective expertise and knowledge to educate and advocate for the use of science-based insights as a basis for decision-making. Providing and advocating for science-based insights is beneficial to NABS and its members, as well as agencies having to make critical decisions regarding aquatic resources. The NABS Bylaws indicate that the NABS President is responsible for the business of the Society and is thereby entrusted to write letters on behalf of the society in support of scientific institutions or issues that promote NABS' purpose of understanding the benthic biological community and aquatic ecosystems.

POLICY

  1. NABS shall be operated exclusively for scientific and educational purposes within the mandates of Section 501(c)(3) of the USA Internal Revenue Code.
  2. The policy of NABS is to advocate for the use of the best available science for decision-making relating to freshwater ecosystems and to communicate this science as necessary to inform the public, managers, and decision-makers.
  3. No substantial part of the activities of the NABS shall consist of carrying on propaganda, lobbying[1], or otherwise attempting to influence legislation except as permitted by Section 501(c)(3) of the Code.
  4. NABS shall not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements concerning) political campaigns on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.

PROCEDURES

  1. Requests for letters or statements should be submitted to the NABS President, with sufficient background information concerning the requested action, along with contact information. Requests should indicate relevance to the NABS Purpose (Article 2 of Constitution), and, where appropriate, suggest solutions and desired actions. Notwithstanding the information presented in the request, the NABS President reserves the right to form an independent opinion, based on the best available science, and provide a response that reflects this independent, science-based insight. Letter requests may originate from members or nonmembers.
  2. To support the President in producing position statements aligned with the Policy stated above, the Science and Policy Committee plus the full Executive Committee will evaluate the respective statement and advise the President for his/her signature.
  3. A two-thirds majority vote among the Executive Committee is required before a letter or position statement can be produced by the President on behalf of NABS.
  4. The final letter shall be published in the NABS Bulletin in either electronic or paper form along with a 1-2 paragraph history of the issue if deemed necessary by the NABS Officers.

[1] FOOTNOTE: For definition of "lobbying", the society follows that of the Center for Lobbying in the Public Interest website http://clpi.org/gov_funding.html, which explains that with few exceptions, nonprofit organizations may not use governmental funds for lobbying. Nonprofits under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code that receive federal grants must follow accounting procedures administered by the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB). OMB Circular A-122, Cost Principles for Nonprofit Organizations includes rules that govern whether and under what circumstances the government will pay for costs incurred by contractors and grantees. As a condition of obtaining federal grants, grantees are required to make certain that none of the funds from those grants are used for lobbying or political activity as defined by OMB. This is consistent with the Certification Regarding Lobbying that was required by the EPA as a condition of their grant to NABS.] In this regard, NABS will not use grant funds to prepare advocacy statements.

Passed by ExCom at the 2006 annual meeting on June 6, 2006

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