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With Cantwell Support, Energy Committee Green-Lights Investment in Alternative Fuels, Math and Science Education

Location: Washington, DC

With Cantwell Support, Energy Committee Green-Lights Investment in Alternative Fuels, Math and Science Education

Legislation part of comprehensive package to create jobs, keep America competitive, maintain edge in science and technology

Wednesday, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and other members of the Senate Energy Committee approved comprehensive legislation to invest in math and science education and boost alternative fuel development.

"This aggressive package is going to bolster our economy and keep America on the cutting-edge of innovation for years to come," said Cantwell. "By promoting math and science in schools, we can give students the foundation they need to excel and build a strong, capable workforce and for our businesses. Businesses also need relief from today's high and often unstable fuel prices. Real investments in affordable new alternative fuels are an important step in the right direction."

In January, Cantwell joined a bipartisan coalition of senators in introducing a comprehensive package of legislation to increase investments in research, development, and education. The Protecting America's Competitive Edge (PACE) Acts, co-sponsored by Cantwell, consist of three bills—one focusing on education, another on energy, and a third on tax incentives. Together, the bills would strengthen America's commitment to research, improve math and science education, and increase our country's talent pool through affordable broadband access, education investments, and aggressive incentives for innovation. The PACE-Energy Act, representing the energy portion of the larger package, was approved by the Senate Energy Committee Wednesday.

The PACE-Energy Act:

+ Creates an office within the Department of Energy's Office of Science to coordinate math, science, and engineering education programs. The office will: (1) provide financial incentives to help states establish and expand math and science specialty high schools; (2) establish internships at the National Laboratories—including the Pacific Northwest lab in Tri Cities—to promote experiential, hands-on learning in math and science for middle and high school students; (3) establish a program at each of the National Laboratories to support a Center of Excellence in Mathematics and Science at one public secondary school near the lab; (4) award merit-based scholarships and fellowships to assist undergraduate, masters, and doctoral students cover expenses leading to a degree in math, science, or engineering; and (5) establish a program at each of the National Laboratories to strengthen the math and science teaching skills of K-12 teachers;

+ Authorizes an independent research grant program for scientists and engineers who have recently completed their degrees;

+ Creates an Advanced Research Projects Authority office within the Department of Energy to support groundbreaking energy research. The office will be modeled on the Defense Advanced Research Projects Authority (DARPA), which was largely responsible for the innovation behind the internet and other important advances. + Doubles authorized funding for basic physical sciences research within the Department of Energy's Office of Science.

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