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ACS Policy and Advocacy Activities

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Policy and advocacy update

The Act4Chemistry Legislative Action Network is the American Chemical Society’s program that supports its members, local sections, and other groups interested in engaging with Congress, the White House, and federal agencies. Here is an update on recent activities and opportunities for ACS members to get involved. 

Take Action

Prepare for NCW Chemistry Advocacy Day!

As part of National Chemistry Week 2021, ACS is encouraging chemists and chemistry enthusiasts to catalyze positive change by participating in NCW Chemistry Advocacy Day taking place October 20, 2021. Participants will engage in advocacy by contacting their members of Congress via email or phone with the help of ACS resources. We encourage you to save the date and encourage others to join in the activity by signing up for the Act4Chemistry Legislative Network where further information will be sent on October 20th. More information about NCW Chemistry Advocacy Day can be found here.

Ask Congress to Support ACS Priorities in U.S. Innovation Legislation

The House of Representatives and Senate are working on legislation that will shape federal research for the next several years. The House of Representatives has passed the National Science Foundation (NSF) for the Future Act, H.R. 2225, and the Department of Energy (DOE) Science for the Future Act, H.R. 3593. Meanwhile, the Senate has passed the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (USICA), S. 1260. We ask you to raise ACS' priorities with your Representatives and Senators as they forge a compromise legislative vehicle. Click here to email your legislators.

Congressional Recap

ACS Joins Coalition in Urging Congressional Leaders to Support Afghan Scientists and Scholars (09/21)

ACS and over 40 scientific organizations wrote to Congressional leaders asking for support and legislation to assist students and scholars displaced by the current crisis in Afghanistan. The group applauds the passing of legislation to provide funding for Afghan refugees in the House and encourages additional support for students and scholars seeking to study and continue their academic careers in the United States.

ACS Co-signs Community Letter Urging Additional Employee-Based (EB) Visas for STEM grads (9/8)

ACS joined over two dozen scientific societies in requesting that Congressional leaders create additional EB visas for international students who have earned advanced STEM degrees in the United States in budget and reconciliation legislation. 

ACS Joins Critical Materials Coalition (09/21)

ACS has joined the Coalition for Responsible Mineral Competitiveness, which aims to raise awareness and provide information to Congress and the Administration about critical minerals and their role in an economy reliant on battery storage.

ACS Joins Climate Science Working Group for Statement on Climate Change (06/21)

The Society joined other major scientific organizations in urging Congress to act swiftly and with the use of evidence-based science in legislation addressing climate change. The organizations note the increasing risk of severe economic, environmental, and health impacts from climate change. The group advocates for investment in adaptation and mitigation strategies; support for climate research and forecast; and the need for bold action.  

Federal Agency Update

Biden Administration Announces Members of PCAST (09/21)

In September, President Biden announced the members of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). It is a body made up of 30 advisors from outside the federal government charged with making science, technology, and innovation policy recommendations to the President and the White House. Members are distinguished individuals from industry, academia, and non-profit organizations. In addition to Co-Chair Dr. Frances Arnold (whose role was announced in January), three additional ACS members will serve in this important body – Drs. John Banovetz, Laura Greene, and Paula Hammond. 

EPA to Limit Production of Potent Gases in Refrigerators and Air Conditioners (09/21) 

The new rule follows through on a law passed by Congress last year and intends to decrease U.S. production and use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) commonly used in refrigerators and air conditioners. HFCs – greenhouse gases - are known to be more powerful than carbon dioxide and often leak through pipes or appliances. The new rule meets President Biden’s pledge to embrace a 2016 global agreement to greatly reduce HFCs by 2036 and is seen as a positive step in U.S. efforts to combat climate change. 

Chemist Nominated to Lead NIST (07/21)

President Biden announced on July 16th that he is nominating Laurie Locascio, Vice President for Research at the University of Maryland, to lead the Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). In this capacity, Locascio will promote U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology. An ACS member, Locascio was a longtime NIST employee, holding various senior leadership roles before departing in 2017.

Dr. Eric Lander is Confirmed as Director of White House OSTP (07/21)

ACS joined a coalition of organizations in congratulating Dr. Eric Lander on his confirmation to the position of Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology (OSTP). Dr. Lander has served as a key scientific advisor as the Biden Administration aims to tackle climate change, recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, and increase access to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). ACS looks forward to continuing its work with Dr. Lander and OSTP. 

ACS Advocates in Action

Online Chemistry Advocacy Workshop 

Passionate about science? Curious about how to advocate for chemistry at the federal level? Check out the ACS online, self-paced course, The ACS Chemistry Advocacy Program. This on-demand workshop is designed to help ACS members passionate about science and chemistry advocacy. The workshop includes four modules including skills, resources, logistics, and communication to train ACS members to become science advocates. To date, more than 700 individuals have enrolled in the workshop. Join them by visiting this webpage

New ChemLuminary Award Focuses on Sustainability Advocacy

A new ChemLuminary Award focuses on ACS member advocacy on sustainability issues. The ACS Committees on Environmental Improvement (CEI) and Chemistry & Public Affairs (CCPA) created a jointly-administered ChemLuminary Award to encourage ACS members to engage in projects that leverage ACS policy statements connected to sustainability. ACS units have the remainder of 2021 to organize and execute activities that will be eligible for consideration for the 2022 prize. 

The new CCPA-CEI ChemLuminary Award for Outstanding Promotion of the Society’s Sustainability Position Statements will recognize a local section, technical division, international chapter, student chapter or regional meeting for an outstanding activity to advocate for, to promote, or to develop awareness of the Society’s Sustainability Position Statements and the role or influence of chemistry on their implementation. 

The inaugural award will recognize an ACS unit for advocacy activities occurring in 2021 that promote one of the ACS sustainability policy statements. Click here for more information.

What’s Going on in D.C.?

ACS Public Policy Fellows Lean into Science Policy (09/21)

Three ACS members recently arrived in Washington to start immersion experiences in the world of science policy and DC politics.  Dr. Joshua Melko, an Associate Professor of Chemistry at the University of North Florida, and Dr. Leila Duman, an organometallic chemist from Phoenix, AZ who earned her PhD in chemistry from the University of Maryland, will work on Capitol Hill for a year as the 2021-2022 ACS Congressional Fellows. Melko will work in the office of Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) where he hopes to work on climate change policy. Duman chose to work in the office of Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD), where she will work on a portfolio of mostly energy and environment issues. Dr. Mary Sabuda, a geochemist who earned her PhD in Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, is the 2021-2022 ACS Science Policy Fellow. Sabuda will join the ACS government affairs office, contributing to ACS policy work and learning through a broad exposure to policy topics and federal agencies.

Would you love to be an ACS Public Policy Fellow? Applications for the 2022-2023 Public Policy Fellowships open November 15, 2021. More information can be found here.

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