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Senator Chris Coons: Pushing the U.S. Economy Toward Sustainability

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Chris Coons, United States Senator from Delaware, is making sustainability a priority.

Senator Coons’ Newsroom has announced that Coons and Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) introduced a bipartisan bill to encourage innovation in the field of sustainable chemistry. “The Sustainable Chemistry Research and Development Act (SCRDA) will encourage the design, development, and commercialization of high-performing chemicals, products, and processes that reduce or eliminate risk to human health and benefit the environment,” stated Coons.

IGCW 2015 Full Logo.jpgAlthough he has a wide range of priorities towards hard hitting issues, such as education, jobs, and the economy, his stance on energy is making people sit up and listen.  The Senator’s stance on energy, according to, includes financing clean energy projects, supporting innovative research and basic science,  investing in renewable energy solutions, developing next generation biofuels, supporting alternative vehicles, fuels and infrastructure, and encouraging the federal government to buy more clean energy, using our offshore resources wisely. He also makes conservation and upholding our sportsmen’s heritage a priority.

Christopher Avery, Ph.D. in analytical chemistry, as well as, a degree in public policy is a past congressional fellow for Senator Coons. Avery stated, “One of the things I appreciated the most about Senator Coons was that he already understood how scientific and technical understanding was folded into lots of issues.” Avery served under the Senator for a year in 2011, where he monitored and developed legislation, memos, letters, speeches, staff briefings and external studies. Avery was the staffer who ran the process and oversaw the execution of government agencies and monitored the use of science in regulatory decision-making, especially related to the chemical industry. “[Senator Coons] went out of his way to seek out my thoughts and opinions on issues that were outside of my direct technical knowledge because he thought scientists should have a seat at the table. I felt very privileged to be asked, and it made me even more motivated to do well”, stated Avery.

Regarding Coons’ activity with the SCRDA, Avery stated, “I’m confident that with Senator Coons leading that work, the chemistry community is in extremely good hands.” Avery believes that chemistry is a part of the Senator’s overall goal of pushing the US economy toward innovation, “It’s just one piece of that goal, but it’s an important one. And I think the Senator sees how it fits into the overall picture better than most.”

Senator Coons is a graduate of Amherst College with a B.A. in Chemistry and Political Science, has a Master's in Ethics from Yale Divinity School, and earned his law degree at Yale Law School.

Senator Coons will be a keynote speaker at the 19th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference on Tuesday, July 14, at 11:45 a.m. at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center, N. Bethesda, MD. Avery stated, “Senator Coons brings a great sense of context. Policy making, like science, is not ever done in a vacuum. Understanding the political, social, technical, and contextual issues surrounding policy issues are absolutely critical to doing something about them. The Senator spent a lot of time with me to make sure I understood both the context and why it was important. It made me better at my job, and I hope he will do that for your attendees.”

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