Jan Beyea, Ph.D.

Consulting in the Public Interest

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Background of Jan Beyea, Ph.D.

Energy Efficiency Formal Resume
Overview Watershed Protection
Epidemiology and Pollution Modeling Partnerships and Joint Problem Solving
Urban and Community Design Other Environmental Experience
Green Architecture Management Experience
Articles and Presentations:
Nuclear Issues and Radiation Exposure
Toxics, Human Health, and Epidemiology
Forests and Wildlife
Other Environmental Issues
Green Architecture and Sustainable Development


^ Overview

As a college professor, Dr. Beyea taught earth science and environmental studies. He did research at Princeton's Center for Energy and Environmental Studies in two areas: nuclear reactor accidents and energy efficiency. He spent 15 years at the National Audubon Society, first as Senior Scientist, and then as Chief Scientist and Vice President, with major management responsibilities. He has worked, written, or testified on virtually every environmental issue. He has developed productive relationships with industry, while maintaining friendships with environmental colleagues. One of his major interests is negotiated conflict resolution.

Although he continued for many years as a consultant to Audubon NY and Audubon Pennsylvania on sustainable forestry and forest policy, Beyea left regular employment at Audubon in 1996 to expand Consulting in the Public Interest (CiPI), which he formed in the 1980s to provide technical support for not-for profits, plaintiffs' law firms and "green" companies. CiPI is now a web-based, "virtual" organization that puts together public-interest scientists with people and institutions that need them. One of Beyea's technical role at CiPI is in the nuclear arena, where he has served as the chief scientist for major law firms seeking damages for historical releases from various nuclear weapons facilities. He has prepared reports for State Attorney Generals in litigation involving safety of nuclear facilities, and he regularly advises citizen groups on nuclear safety. Beyea specializes in historical reconstructions of individual and group level exposure to toxic substances, both chemical and nuclear, which are used in epidemiologic studies. In this area, he works with academic colleagues. He has spent considerable time as a member of panels of the National Research Council of the National Academies of Sciences, and he is a listed reviewer for many other reports of the National Academy of Sciences. He also peer reviews articles for a wide range of academic journals. He is a member of the World Trade Center Health Registry Scientific Advisory Committee. Dr. Beyea is serving as a guest editor for a special issue of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which will appear in mid-2012. The subject is the health effects of low-level radiation exposure. Dr. Beyea received a Ph.D. in nuclear physics from Columbia University, after majoring in physics at Amherst College.

^ Epidemiology and Pollution Modeling

Beyea worked with the Columbia School of Public Health on epidemiological studies at TMI. He was a team member in their study of breast cancer on Long Island and modeled the historical exposure of women to polcyclic aromatic hydrocarbons emitted from polluting vehicles. This work is nearing completion. A list of publications on this topic is accessible here. His models of traffic pollution have also been used in an epidemiologic study of breast cancer carried out at SUNY-Buffalo.

Dr. Beyea has extensively studied the consequences of nuclear reactor accidents, including the TMI accident. His analysis of the radiation dose distribution resulting from the TMI release was used in an epidemiologic study of the accident. He provided the analysis of the public's exposures to radioactivity and chemicals that induced a federal judge to grant certification for a medical monitoring class at the Rocky Flats weapons laboratory, one of the few times such a class has ever been granted. Please see the relevant Excerpt from Judge Kane's Order. The scientific strategy developed by Beyea, and the expert witnesses he identified, played a key role in property damage litigation at Rocky Flats, the first stage of which resulted in a verdict for plantiffs, which was overturned, however, on appeal. A list of Beyea's nuclear articles and reports is also available.

He advised attorneys on science/legal strategy regarding childhood lead cases. He then recruited a number of prominent experts to serve as witnesses in medical monitoring litigation aimed at helping the forgotten victims of a toxic problem that society refuses to correct.

He was the chief scientist coordinating more than a dozen experts in litigation involving the Hanford nuclear weapons facility.

As part of his assessment of composting's role in waste prevention, he investigated the potential health risks from contaminants in compost. A key part of this project involved measuring and understanding the pathways to humans for PCBs, dioxins/furans, pesticides and other toxics. As background for future compost standards, he has modeled the hypothetical, 1000-year future history of contaminants in soils.

^ Urban and Community Design and "Green" Architecture

He developed the environmental criteria for the components of Audubon House, a model of environmental, cost-effective design.

He developed a vision for community composting that has been supported by industry, government and environmentalists.

^ Energy Efficiency

For the development of Audubon House, a model of energy-efficient and cost-effective design, he prepared an analysis of the pollution reduction that would accompany the adopted energy efficient measures.

In the 1980's, he was a major analyst of, and spokesperson for, the virtues of energy efficiency. He developed the Audubon Energy Plan and Computer Model, which showed, early on, how energy efficiency could pay its way nationally. Years later, the Department of Energy admitted that Beyea had done a much better job of predicting energy consumption than the Department had done, and asked him to serve as an advisor to Secretary of Energy, Admiral James Watkins. When Beyea was crawling around attics at Princeton University in the seventies studying energy usage in buildings, he and a colleague discovered that a huge percentage of residential energy loss was taking place through air passages in and around insulation. Their analysis showed that 2% of US energy usage alone was going out these easily correctable leaks.

^ Watershed Protection

He was the first environmental scientist in the U.S. to raise an alarm about the threat posed by proposed hydropower development of a wilderness watershed in Quebec's James Bay region the size of France. He played a key leadership role in the cancellation of contracts for James Bay power.

He led a science team to protect the degrading Platte River in Nebraska, particularly along the 60-mile stretch where 500,000 sandhill cranes funnel in each year to rest and feed before continuing their long migration.

He supervised scientist/advocates working to restore the Florida Everglades.

^ Partnerships and Joint Problem Solving

He led a forestry research partnership with a major company to find ways to harvest pulpwood in ways to improve habitat for priority species.

He initiated a partnership with the grocery industry that to promote composting (nature's way of handling organic wastes). He developed a win-win strategy that most constituencies were able to support. He managed four pilot projects that explored the infrastructure, economic, and siting issues surrounding community composting.

He negotiated a model law to regulate heavy metals in inks and coloring agents used in packaging. The law has been enacted in 18 states and has become the de facto standard for the nation. He also negotiated a definition of "recyclable" products that forms the basis for regulations in New York and New Hampshire.

He initiated, and served as co-chair of, a committee of the Coalition of Northeastern Governors to improve markets for compost by developing consensus specifications for use on highway projects.

He served on a committee established by a major international corporation to develop an energy-efficient model restaurant.

^ Other Environmental Experience

He led the nation in trying to ensure that the environmental promise of both windpower and biofuels will not be compromised by bad design and lack of consideration of wildlife.

He provided the analysis and leadership to shift environmental thinking away from a one-sided criticism of plastic cups and grocery bags towards reducing the use of both paper and plastic materials, e.g., by reusing shopping bags.

He worked with the EPA and a major ad agency to produce top-quality public service announcements for TV on the theme of, "Reuse Stuff Today: Reduce Garbage Tomorrow." These PSAs have been widely played (1 billion audience "impressions").

Despite criticism, he testified that some research on "inherently safe" nuclear reactors was needed as an insurance policy to deal with global warming, in case solar power failed.

During the acid rain debate, Beyea developed a simple acid rain monitoring kit and procedure used by hundreds of volunteers around the country to reliably measure the acidity of rain. The local publicity gained from this connection to a national problem helped to pressure Congress to pass the acid rain bill. Because of the validation procedures used, industry was not able to impeach the accuracy of the results.

During the early days of the acid rain debate, he published an analysis of the mortality implications of weakening the Clean Air Act. It helped to derail efforts to weaken the Act.

^ Management Experience

He led a three-person management team that ran Audubon's Science and Sanctuary Departments, with a 91-person staff, 150,000 acres of land, and a $6 million budget.

He led a national project ("Compost... For Earth's Sake") that included Audubon, a major international corporation, two U.S. trade associations, a dozen other sponsors, EPA and local governments.

He consulted on a forestry research partnership involving Audubon and a major corporation which required close supervision of scientific protocol.

References on request from jbeyea@cipi.com


Consulting in the Public Interest
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This page was last updated on 03/06/12.