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ACS Engages with Congress to Expand Green Chemistry Across Federal Enterprise

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By Carl Maxwell, Manager, Government Affairs, Office of External Affairs and Communication

Following on the heels of last year’s House Science Committee hearing on sustainable chemistry, the ACS Office of External Affairs worked closely with Congressional champions to pass broad sustainable chemistry legislation. The bill also ensured green chemistry was incorporated into energy research and emissions reduction legislation.  

On October 17, the House Science, Space, and Technology (SST) Committee passed H.R. 2051, the Sustainable Chemistry Research and Development Act. This legislation, drafted at the behest of the American Chemical Society, would create an interagency task force to coordinate green and sustainable chemistry research across the federal enterprise, as well as authorize research programs and public-private partnerships.  Congressional champions such as Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL) and Rep. John Moolenaar (R-MI) worked directly with ACS staff to include a provision on improving STEM education, identifying roadblocks to improving the sustainability of the chemistry enterprise, and strengthening provisions on federal research.  The legislation subsequently passed the House of Representatives in December of 2019. Companion legislation, S.999, passed the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee also in December, after ACS worked directly with the staff to modify and eliminate problematic provisions limiting the scope of the bill.

Additionally, ACS worked with Rep. Ben McAdams (D-UT), and the House SST Committee to modify H.R. 3597, the Solar Energy Research and Development Act, to include sustainable chemistry as a research focus for future solar energy investigation.   The ACS sponsored language was added by amendment by Rep. Lipinski during mark up.  Companion legislation introduced by Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ) and Sen. Krysten Sinema (D-AZ) also included the language in the original text. 

Finally, as a party of broad industrial emissions reduction legislation, S. 2300, the Clean Industrial Technology Act, ACS and the American Chemistry Council worked together to ensure the legislation would incorporate green chemistry techniques, practices, and methodologies.  Language was added at the behest of Senate Chemistry Caucus leader Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) and included in similar House- passed legislation.  It was subsequently included at ACS’ request as part of the American Energy Innovation Act, a major energy authorization bill currently under negotiations.