ACS Local Section Government Affairs Summit November 17 – 18, 2008
Andy Jorgensen, John Gavenonis, Khamis Siam, and Gary Freebury outside the United States Capitol on November 18, 2008.
John Gavenonis (Delaware Section Councilor and Secretary) was invited to participate in the third annual ACS Local Section Government Affairs Summit in Washington, D.C. on November 17-18, 2008. During the first day of the summit, staff from the ACS Office of Public Affairs (OPA) provided government affairs training to representatives from eleven local sections. John assisted with the training, delivering a presentation describing how Government Affairs Committees (GACs) can help contribute to the overall health and vitality of a local section. This is related to John’s membership on the Local Section Assistance and Development subcommittee of the Local Section Activities Committee. In addition, it’s a reflection of the excellent federal, state, and local government engagement of the Delaware Section, organized largely by Al Denio and Martha Hollomon.
The GAC chair training occurred in the context of specific legislative goal: Senate passage of S.2669 Green Chemistry Research and Development Act. This bill provides $55 million to NSF, NIST, DOE, and EPA to support basic research using the principles of green chemistry. Green chemistry improves process safety and resource efficiency, leading to reduced cost, waste, and environmental impact. More information about the guiding principles of green chemistry can be found in Nature 2007, 450, 810. Numerous examples that demonstrate the simultaneous economic and environmental benefits of green chemistry already exist in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. However, this legislation provides funding specifically for basic research and education.
In 2007, the House of Representatives version of this bill (HR.2850) passed by a voice vote. Similar bills had passed the House of Representatives in the 108th (2003-2004), 109th (2005-2006), and 110th (2007-2008) Congresses, but each time the legislation failed to pass the Senate. This bill received overwhelming support by the House. The last time it was put to a roll call vote (108th Congress) it passed 402-14-17. This legislation is expected to pass the House once again during the 111th Congress. In order to encourage passage by the Senate, summit participants visited Capitol Hill to advocate on behalf of S.2669. John was part of a team that included Gary Freebury (Montana Section), Andy Jorgensen (Toledo Section), Khamis Siam (Mo-Kan-Ok Section), and Carl Maxwell (ACS Office of Public Affairs). This team visited staff from the offices of Representative Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Senator Jon Tester (D-MT), Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE), and Senator Thomas Carper (D-DE). Senators were encouraged to co-sponsor this legislation.
Passing the Green Chemistry Research and Development Act is a key legislative priority for ACS. Consequently, Delaware Section members are encouraged to contact Senator Thomas Carper and Senator Ted Kaufman to ask for their co-sponsorship of this important legislation. For more information about the Green Chemistry Research and Development Act, a template letter that can be used to contact Delaware’s Senators, or Delaware Section government affairs activities, please contact John Gavenonis at email@example.com.