On January 1, the U.S. Senate passed the omnibus National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Within the NDAA Bill, Section E was the culmination of over 15 years of advocacy effort to deliver legislation that seeks to further the development of sustainable chemistry. Many thanks to the Bill’s sponsors Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del.; Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine; Rep. John Moolenaar, R-Mich.; and Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Ill., whose support is critical to the future of sustainable chemical sciences. Many thanks also to our ACS Advocacy colleagues who have patiently worked on multiple iterations of the Act with multiple politicians over the years, as well as to the broader green chemistry community for supporting this effort in recent years.
The main parts of the bill may be summed up as follows:
Create an interagency entity to coordinate efforts
Create a sustainable chemistry strategic plan
Collaborate, partner and advance government agency efforts to promote sustainable chemistry
Create partnerships to promote sustainable chemistry activities in the U.S.
Prioritize the highest impact activities
The devil is, of course, in the details. While this all sounds reasonably straightforward, it’s a good idea to remember that politics and economics will dictate how far and how quickly the Bill’s mandates progress. Fortunately, some of the deliverables are time bound, which will help maintain momentum.
The ACS Green Chemistry Institute looks forward to working with the federal government as conversations around implementation of the Act get started. While there is clearly a long way to go, we are hopeful that this collaboration will provide opportunities to focus more research funding on sustainable chemistry, and for agencies to talk to each other, share best practices, and agree on funding priorities. You can find a copy of the Bill below. Please take the time to read it and enjoy the moment, it’s been a long time coming.