(a) There is created within the Department of Environmental Protection the Environmental Protection Advisory Council. The Environmental Protection Advisory Council consists of eight members. The secretary serves as an ex officio member of the council and as its chair. The remaining seven members are appointed by the Governor. Each member serves for a term of four years and may be reappointed. Vacancies on the council shall be filled within sixty days after the vacancy occurs.
(b) Two members of the council shall represent industries regulated by the department or their trade associations. Two members shall represent organizations advocating environmental protection. One member shall represent organizations representing local governments. One member shall represent public service districts. One member shall represent the largest coal miner's labor organization in the state. In making subsequent appointments this balance of membership shall be maintained.
(c) Appointed members shall be paid the same compensation and expense reimbursement as is paid to members of the Legislature for their interim duties as recommended by the Citizens Legislative Compensation Commission and authorized by law for each day or portion thereof engaged in the discharge of official duties.
(d) The council shall meet at least once every quarter, at the call of the chair or upon the unanimous request of its members.
(e) The council shall:
(1) Consult with and advise the director on program and policy development, problem solving and other appropriate subjects;
(2) Identify and define problems associated with the implementation of the policy set forth in section one of this article;
(3) Provide and disseminate to industry and the public early identification of major federal program and regulatory changes;
(4) Provide a forum for the resolution of conflicts between constituency groups;
(5) To the extent possible, strive for consensus on the development of overall environmental policy; and
(6) Provide an annual report to the Joint Committee on Government and Finance on or before January 1 of each year relating to its findings with regard to the department's performance during the previous year. The report will specifically address the department's performance in accomplishing the nine purposes set forth in subsection (b), section one of this article.
(f) Notwithstanding any other provision of this code to the contrary, upon approval by majority vote of the Environmental Protection Advisory Council's members, the council may submit recommendations for rulemaking to the Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection. The secretary shall consider the council's recommendations for rulemaking when developing agency rules to be submitted for legislative approval.