Senator Murray Introduces Legislation to Fund Green Energy Programs on College Campuses in Washington State and Nationwide

Higher Education Sustainability Act of 2007 will provide $50 million for colleges to develop environmentally-friendly programs.

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced the Higher Education Sustainability Act of 2007 (HESA) to develop and stimulate energy programs that are sustainable and environmentally-friendly. HESA authorizes $50 million to be administered through a competitive grant program to colleges and organizations partnering with colleges. The grant program is expected to support between 25 and 100 sustainability projects annually. Examples of activities that would be funded with the grants authorized in the bill include renewable energy research, green energy business school classes, professor training, and campus-wide green energy projects.

"Colleges are a natural breeding ground for the kind of innovation we need to move to new, environmentally-friendly energy sources," said Senator Murray. "Our young people know the stakes. They know that developing sustainable energy programs will affect their lives, their economic well-being, and the planet they are inheriting. These grants will help college students take the reins of the movement to make energy last longer and have less of an impact on our environment. If we are to truly embrace the energy sources of tomorrow, then investment in them must begin today."

HESA also directs the Secretary of Education to convene a national summit on sustainability in higher education to provide focus on the topic and to create a set of recommendations for addressing sustainability through colleges and universities.

To view more details of the Higher Education Sustainability Act visit HERE.

Many Washington state colleges and universities have partnered with Senator Murray to support her bill. They include Washington State University, Central Washington University, Edmonds Community College, Evergreen State College, University of Puget Sound, University of Washington, Western Washington University, Grays Harbor College, Tacoma Community College and Cascadia Community College.

"Washington State University is honored to support the Higher Education Sustainability Act of 2007," said Elson S. Floyd, President of Washington State University "The HESA will provide new opportunities of funding of multidisciplinary basic and applied researchers in the areas of energy, water, agriculture, and architecture. WSU supports educating students in sustainable principles and practices will provide our graduates with the skills and knowledge they will need to succeed in the world economy and community that is increasingly striving to deal with issues of Climate Change. I thank Senator Murray’s for her leadership in the area of education, economic development and environment."  

"CWU is a signatory to the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment.  As a result of that commitment, we are well on our way to developing an environmental sustainability plan that describes how and when we intend to achieve carbon neutrality and how we will prepare sustainability-literate graduates," said Central Washington University President Jerilyn S. McIntyre. "One thing we are learning very quickly is that achieving this important goal will require additional resources, at least in the short term.   The grant program proposed in Senator Murray's legislation is a much-needed additional source of support for colleges and universities to draw on to defray the costs of this important work."

The Higher Education Sustainability Act of 2007 is co-sponsored by Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Christopher Dodd (D-CT), Edward Kennedy (D-MA), and John Kerry (D-MA).

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Matt McAlvanah
Press Secretary
U.S. Senator Patty Murray
202-224-0228
matt_mcalvanah@murray.senate.gov

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                    CONTACT: Alex Glass
Tuesday, December 11, 2007                                             (202) 224-2834