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HTAC Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Can foreign nationals serve on Federal advisory committees?

A. Foreign nationals are, in certain instances, permitted to serve on Federal advisory committees. Among others, individuals from NATO countries or countries allied with the United States in current defense efforts will be permitted to serve.

Q. What's the time commitment for participation on the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technical Advisory Committee?

A. HTAC typically holds two meetings per year (approximate duration of 1.5 days). In addition, HTAC members are expected to volunteer periodically for subcommittees or otherwise contribute to HTAC deliverables. The total estimated time commitment is approximately nine days per year (intermittent).

Q. Will travel costs for HTAC meeting attendance be covered by the Department of Energy (DOE)?

A. Yes, DOE reimburses HTAC members for travel costs incurred while attending meetings.

Q. Can DOE contractors or financial assistance recipients be members of the committee?

A. Yes. However, members must recuse themselves in any specific matter discussed by the committee in which they have a conflict of interest. DOE ethics counselors are available to advise members on such matters.

Q. Who needs to complete financial disclosure forms?

A. Committee members appointed as special government employees (SGEs) are required to submit the Confidential Financial Disclosure Form for SGEs Serving on Federal Advisory Committees at the U.S. Department of Energy every year. This confidential form allows government officials (DOE General Counsel) to determine whether there is a conflict between the SGE's public responsibilities and private interests and activities, or the appearance of a lack of impartiality, as defined by statute and regulation. Committee members appointed as representatives are not required to submit financial disclosures.

Q. What constitutes a special government employee?

A. Members are appointed as "representatives" when the goal is for them to represent the viewpoints of a particular organization or industry. Members are appointed as special government employees when the goal is for them to provide independent expertise in a specific area; they are expected to provide advice to the government on the basis of their best judgment, in a manner that is free of conflict of interest. Prior to their appointment by the Secretary, SGEs are required to submit the Confidential Financial Disclosure Form for SGEs Serving on Federal Advisory Committees at the U. S. Department of Energy. This confidential financial disclosure form allows government officials (DOE General Counsel) to determine whether there is a conflict between the SGE's public responsibilities and private interests and activities, or the appearance of a lack of impartiality, as defined by statute and regulation.

Q. Will meetings be held in Washington, D.C.?

A. Meetings are typically held at a local hotel in the Washington, D.C., area, though there is no particular requirement regarding meeting location. Meetings have been held in other locations around the United States from time to time.

Q. What is the size of the budget and/or staff to support the administrative duties of the committee?

A. The estimated annual operating cost of direct support to the committee and its subcommittees is $350,000, inclusive of 0.2 person-years for support.

For more information, email the HTAC administrator.