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Charles F. Kennel
CCST Board Chair Charles F. Kennel

Annual Report 2015: Letter from CCST Board Chair

By CHARLES F. KENNEL | February 19, 2016

As Board Chair, I've been proud to work with fellow Board members to shape a proactive agenda for CCST that addresses critical issues for the State of California. I'm enormously grateful to the many donors who've chosen to support our work. Their support sustains our growth enabling CCST to fulfill our core mission such as placing Science Fellows directly with decision makers.

At CCST, our mandate is to leverage California's scientific expertise in an efficient, nonpartisan manner in order to provide rigorous, analytical assessments of science- and technology-related issues for the State. Doing this well means we have to look ahead - working to understand not just what's important now, but what will be important in the future. It means taking the long view, as well as responding effectively to current issues.

Most importantly, it means building a foundation of trust that ensures our message will be heard by the right people at the right times. For example, one of the more pressing issues in California this year has been well stimulation technologies (WST), including hydraulic fracturing. For decades, well stimulation techniques have been used in California to extract oil and gas, but recent increases in the amount of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling elsewhere in the nation have drawn public scrutiny-thus raising the call for new data and analyses on risk and opportunities for the practices here in California. It is a subject where impartial, scientific advice is critical.

I'm proud to say we've been able to serve the State well. CCST worked closely with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and other partner organizations to convene dozens of experts from many institutions to bring a new level of clarity and detail on the potential environmental repercussions of WST applications in California.

None of this would be possible if CCST hadn't already cultivated an atmosphere of trust and collaboration with State policymakers through a variety of efforts - most significantly through our Science & Technology Policy Fellows program.

Many legislative members can attest to how our "Science Fellows" have underscored the importance of hosting scientific expertise within the Legislature. The cumulative legacy of our Fellowship program has been extraordinary: most former Fellows remain employed in some area of policymaking - nearly half staying within the Capitol community.

Now nearly 70 members strong, our Science Fellows and alumni form a growing network of valuable and experienced professionals at the juncture of science and policy, furthering CCST's transition into an organization that gives California's policymakers access to the scientific talent and expertise that they need to lead the Golden State.

CCST was designed to serve as an impartial resource to address complex issues facing California, and as we conclude our 28th year of service to the State, I feel confident in saying that we are stronger in our mission than ever before. Our Board, Council, Senior Fellows, Science Fellows and Alumni, partners and staff, supported by our generous donors, make a fantastic team who continue to make California stronger with science.

Charles F. Kennel is Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science, Scripps Institution of Oceanography; Founding Director and Chairman, International Advisory Board, Environment and Sustainability Initiative, University of California, San Diego. He was elected Chairman of the CCST Board in 2014.

To read or download the complete 2015 CCST Annual Report, click here.

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