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Delaware Section Government Affairs Committee Meets with Senator Tom Carper
John Gavenonis, Delaware Section Councilor
Members of the Delaware Section Government Affairs Committee meet with Senator Tom Carper in Wilmington on March 8, 2010. Participants are (from left to right) John Gavenonis, Al Denio, Martha Hollomon, Senator Tom Carper, and Andrew Eliot.
On Monday, March 8, as part of the ACS Contact Congress initiative, John Gavenonis, Al Denio, Martha Hollomon, and Andrew Eliot of the Delaware Section Government Affairs Committee (GAC) met with United States Senator Tom Carper in his Wilmington office. The meeting was also attended by Bonnie Wu (New Castle County Director), Stephanie Kotin (Legislative Aide), and interns Will Armstrong and Ben Kim. The group gathered to discuss STEM education, green chemistry, climate change, and solar energy, which are all priority areas for ACS policy advocacy. Position statements addressing these topics and others can be found at the ACS website (http://tinyurl.com/acspolicystatements) or by contacting John Gavenonis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ACS members thanked Senator Carper for his previous support of STEM education bills and encouraged Senator Carper to cosponsor S.1210 (STEM Education Coordination Act). This bill will require the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to establish a committee under the National Science and Technology Council, which will have responsibility to coordinate federal programs and activities from NSF, DoE, NASA, NOAA, Department of Education, and other federal agencies in support of STEM education. This bill was introduced by Senator Kaufman and the companion legislation passed the House of Representatives with overwhelming support. Senator Carper asked his staff to develop an opinion regarding S.1210. He is unaware of any additional pending STEM education legislation in the Senate. Senator Carper informed the ACS members of the opening of the Delaware Children’s Museum at the Wilmington waterfront on April 24. This museum will be another means to foster increased interest in STEM fields, particularly among young students.
Senator Carper was unsure why the Green Chemistry Research and Development Act, which had passed the House of Representatives in 108th, 109th, and 110th Congresses, had been unsuccessful in the Senate. This legislation has not yet been introduced in the House or Senate during the 111th Congress. The Green Chemistry R&D Act has a relatively modest scope, authorizing $55 million to NSF, NIST, DoE, and EPA to support basic green chemistry research and to develop educational curricula that teach green chemistry principles. The ACS members asked Senator Carper to contact Senator Olympia Snowe’s office to encourage the introduction of this bill in the Senate or the incorporation of its principles into a larger legislative package, such as chemical regulation legislation or the America COMPETES reauthorization.
The ACS members thanked Senator Carper for sponsoring S.575 (CLEAN-TEA) and S.849 (Study of Black Carbon Emissions). Senator Carper indicated that the Obama administration supports nuclear energy, off-shore oil and gas exploration, and development of clean coal technology. The FY2011 budget allocates significant funding for each of these areas. The Obama administration recently submitted three nominations to fill current vacancies on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC); they are expected to be confirmed by the Senate shortly. Senator Carper expects that comprehensive climate change legislation will pass during the 111th Congress. He is encouraged by recent bipartisan discussions on this topic, particularly for cap and trade proposals, which will likely be implemented for utilities, but not for manufacturing. Mobile sources will be addressed through strengthened CAFE standards. Petroleum refineries will likely be addressed through an upstream carbon tax.
The Delaware Section Government Affairs Committee thanks Senator Carper and his staff for taking the time to review policy items of interest to ACS.