Update on Federal Legislation Affecting Campus Sustainability
The pre-keynote remarks included an update by Jim Elder, Director of the Campaign for Environmental Literacy. on federal legislation. The good news is that money is starting to become available for higher education and sustainability concerns, thanks to the good work of Jim and others.
Jim gave an overview of FY10 results which included:
1) The University Sustainability Program (Department of Education) was funded as an “invitational priority” of the $28m FIPSE (Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education) Comprehensive Program. At least one project has received funding so far – “Mobilizing STEM Education for a Sustainable Future,” but there may be others. Note: STEM = Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.
2) $10m is available from NSF (National Science Foundation) for Climate Change Education
3) $10m is available from NASA (National Atmospheric Sciences Administration) for Global Climate Change Education.
For 2011, Jim said that a “continuing resolution” is very likely for the University Sustainability Program, and noted that November 2 results will drive the FY11 budget outcome as well as our FY12 strategy.
Finally, Jim listed a number of actions for a FY12 campaign agenda. These included:
1) Department of Education – request $50m for a stand-alone University Sustainability Program (authorized by Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008)
2) Department of Energy – request a $250m loan fund for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects at higher education institutions (authorized by Energy Independence and Security Act Sec. 471)
3) Education for A Green Economic Recovery (EAGER) Act – if funded would provide1% (or about $1 billion/year) of the proceeds from a climate change bill for authorized sustainability education funding programs
4) Request $10m each to continue the NSF and NASA climate change education programs
So what can you do to help support these efforts? Here are a few easy actions Jim would love you to take:
-- Sign on to CEL letters this spring
-- Ask your Congressional delegation to support these appropriations
-- Ask your peers at other schools to reach out to their Congressional delegation
-- Get the higher education associations in which you participate to put these requests on their legislative agenda
-- Get these requests on the agenda of your school’s federal affairs or government relations staff
Please call or write Jim for any help you need - elder@FundEE.org. He would appreciate all of our support!
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