Legislative Update from Capitol Hill
Our friend Jim Elder, Director of the Campaign for Environmental Literacy, has started a new blog on legislation relevant to environmental education. His first post includes some valuable updates on legislation relevant to campus sustainability. Here are a few excerpts:
Hill Update for Environmental Education - July 24, 2008
Congress has paid unprecedented attention to environmental education over the past 8-12 months. While none of the proposed federal bills has yet to be enacted into law, the chances are high that 2008-09 will see passage of at least one of the bills below - making it the first new environmental education bill passed by the federal government in 18 years.
Higher Education Sustainability Act (HESA)
The President signed S.3180 on June 30, which extended the existing Higher Education Act through July 31, 2008 to give the House and Senate conference committee more time to finish its work on the new Higher Education Act. All indications are that the HESA provisions included in the House version of the Higher Education Act will be included in the final conference bill. However, some think the current act may be extended yet again, perhaps even pushing off passage until 2009.
Lieberman-Warner-Boxer Bill (S. 3036)
Unfortunately a Republican filibuster effectively killed this bill. However, Congressmen Doggett and Blumenauer have introduced a climate change “cap and trade” bill (HR 6316, the Climate MATTERS Act) in the House which directs .4% of the proceeds to climate change education.
It appears that Congress is likely to punt on many FY09 appropriations by issuing a six month "Continuing Resolution". This means that most if not all agencies and programs will receive the same funding as they did in FY08, for at least the first half of FY09.
NASA's new $8.5 million global climate change education program, while not funded by the Senate CJS Subcommittee for FY09, may nonetheless still continue into FY09 under the Continuing Resolution.
Department of Energy
Due to the likelihood of a Continuing Resolution, the new “Energy Sustainability and Efficiency Grants and Loans for Institutions” program created by Section 471 of the Energy Independence and Security Act enacted earlier this year will probably not be funded for FY09. This new law authorizes up to $500 million in loans and up to $250 million in grants annually for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects to higher education institutions, public schools and local governments.
For more information and to receive future updates from Jim, visit www.FundEE.org
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