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Peter Jutro

Environmental Awareness


Dr. Peter Jutro is an Environmental Science, Policy and National Security professional with over three decades of public service to his name. Over the course of his career, Dr. Jutro cultivated a wide range of interests in areas including science, public health, biodiversity, climate change, environmental policy, risk assessment, and national security.

Following the 2001 terrorist attacks, Peter Jutro transitioned from his primary work in environmental biology and policy into homeland security. While EPA had not been associated with national security concerns in the past, these attacks brought to light many domestic issues that our military and intelligence communities were not properly equipped to handle.

These immediate concerns following the attacks ranged from the potential chemical threat from air conditioning coolant in the buildings’ ruins to the toxic dust that had been distributed into the air. Subsequently, preparedness for the potential consequences of intentional chemical, biological, and radiological attacks became a major concern. It was clear that major effort would be needed to ensure that our nation would be ready to decontaminate critical areas and ensure the safety of its citizens.

Peter helped develop a program of research and risk assessment to address these needs. Along with the Homeland Security Center, he played an instrumental role in the broad sweep of our national security, helping to ensure that our country would be prepared and able to quickly clean up and recover following a terrorist incident or natural disaster.

Professional Background & Experience

Most recently, Dr. Jutro served as Acting Associate EPA Administrator for Homeland Security. Before that, he was Deputy Director for Science and Policy and Director of the Washington office of EPA’s National Homeland Security Research Center. This group was responsible for the research needed to provide the science and technology for EPA’s disaster mandates, which fall primarily in the areas of decontamination, water protection, risk assessment, and resilience. From 1995 to 2005, while an active research scientist, he also served as Counselor for Environment and Security to several EPA Administrators and Acting Administrators.

Peter Jutro served as a voting member or ex-officio member on several science advisory committees including the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB), BioChem 2020, and the National Biodefense Science Board (NBSB). He served on several White House intergovernmental groups including the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Committee on Homeland and National Security and the OSTP Subcommittee on Disaster Reduction. He Co-Chaired the White House Subcommittee on Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive Standards (SoS-CBRNE). For more than a dozen years, Peter served as Co-Chair of the intergovernmental Civil Applications Committee, which oversees federal policy for the civilian scientific and technical use of classified data.

His involvement in international environmental issues began decades ago, beginning with helping to provide low-cost remote sensing technology to developing countries, international water quality and quantity issues in the 1970’s, moving on to research regarding the application of risk assessment to environmental issues in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Peter continued to work on a number of international environmental issues, and most recently, focused on those having to do with biosecurity. From 1988 -1992, Dr. Jutro was a U.S. negotiator for the United Nations Convention on the Conservation of Biological Diversity, which included dealing with potential problems associated with genetic engineering. He led the environmental committee of the US-India S&T agreement and has worked on bilateral scientific issues with Russia, China, Canada, Australia, Post-Fukushima Japan, and the United Kingdom, among others, as well as with UNEP and UNESCO. He served for several years as a member of the UN U.S. Man and the Biosphere Program (US MAB).

In the 1970’s, he was a U.S. Congressional Science and Environment Fellow and subsequently served on the professional staff of what was then called the House Committee on Public Works (now the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure). While there, he specialized in disaster, health, and environmental issues. He was most closely involved in the writing of the 1972 Federal Water Pollution Control Act (Clean Water Act).

Together with scientists from NSF, NASA, NOAA, and DOE, he was a founding member of the US Global Change Research Program in the mid 1980’s, and was founding Director of the EPA Global Change Research Program, which studied the relationships between climate change, stratospheric ozone depletion, human health, water resources, and biological diversity.

Dr. Peter Jutro received his Ph.D. from Cornell University researching Natural Resources Conservation, the geography of infectious disease and natural pharmaceuticals, and chemical ecology. He then taught courses at Cornell on public policy, biology, risk, and environmental issues. In 1996, he was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Outside federal service, he served from 1996 to 2002 as a member (and for two years as Chairman of the Board of Directors) of the Center for Native Lands, a non-governmental 501(c)(3) organization which helped indigenous peoples in various parts of the world protect their cultural and biological heritage. He continues to write and consult.