February 8, 2008 EE Legislation Update

Higher Education Sustainability Act (HESA) – ANOTHER BIG STEP FORWARD!

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the College Opportunity and Affordability Act (HR 4137) this evening, and it includes all the provisions of the Higher Education Sustainability Act (HESA) with a few minor amendments! To all of you who endorsed HESA and reached out to your Representatives in the House, we sincerely thank you for your help. It definitely would not have passed the House without you.

Our attention now turns to building support for HESA in the conference between the House and Senate to create the final higher education act. This may begin as early as next week. Perhaps half of the 40 or so new programs that are created between the two versions of the act will be cut in the final version, so we need to insure that HESA is not one of those cut.

To date, Senators Kennedy, Dodd, Bingaman and Kerry have co-sponsored Senator Murray’s Senate version of HESA (S. 2444). We are working hard with many of you to expand this list of Senate co-sponsors over the next week as the best way to keep HESA in the final bill, and we are focused on the following Senators:

  • Judd Gregg (R-NH)
  • Lamar Alexander (R-TN)
  • Orrin G. Hatch (R-UT)
  • Johnny Isakson (R-GA)
  • Wayne Allard (R-CO)
  • Jack Reed (D-RI)
  • Richard Durbin (D-IL)
  • Susan Collins (R-ME)
  • Olympia Snowe (R-ME)
  • Blanche Lincoln (D-AR)
  • Daniel Inouye (D-HI)
  • Herbert Kohl (D-WI)
  • Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)
  • Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
  • Arlen Specter (REP-PA) 

These Senators want to hear from colleges and universities in their states about the importance of HESA, so we need your help in getting schools in these states to contact them. For more detailed information on how to do this, click here.

And of course, if your school, association, or NGO has yet to join the impressive list of prominent HESA endorsers, please do so ASAP.

FY09 NOAA and EPA Appropriations – Bad If Not Surprising News

The President’s recently released FY2009 budget as usual zeroed out EPA’s $9 million Environmental Education Program, NOAA’s $9.7 million BWET (Bay Watershed Education and Training) programs, and NASA’s new $8.5 million global climate change education program.  The one small step forward is that the President’s budget did not completely eliminate NOAA’s $5 million Environmental Literacy Grants program; it funded it at $1 million. Efforts will begin soon to again restore these funds.

Jim Elder