• On March 5, Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) and seven other senators introduced S. 463, the Forest Products Fairness Act. The bipartisan legislation opens new market opportunities for American forestry producers by allowing forest products to qualify for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Bio-based Markets Program, also known as the Bio-Preferred Program. The next day, Reps. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA) and Kurt Schrader (D-OR) and 43 other Members introduced a companion bill in the House.
  • The same day, Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY) introduced H.R. 959, the Accountability in Grants Act. The bill would prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from providing Clean Air Act grants to foreign countries. Rep. Whitfield introduced similar legislation in the last Congress that had 26 cosponsors but never advanced out of committee.
  • On March 6, Reps. Hank Johnson (D-GA) and Ed Markey (D-MA) introduced H.R. 981, a bill directing the Department of Interior to conduct a global rare earth element assessment.
  • The same day, Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ) and three of his Republican colleagues in the New Jersey House congressional delegation introduced H.R. 1011, a bill that would prohibit the Department of Interior from issuing oil and gas leases on portions of the Outer Continental Shelf located off the coast of New Jersey.
  • Also on that day, Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) introduced H.R. 1022, Securing Energy Critical Elements and American Jobs Act. The bill directs the Office of Science and Technology to coordinate the actions of federal agencies in order to develop the technical expertise and production capabilities to assure a long-term, secure, and sustainable supply of energy critical elements. Similar legislation passed the House last Congress but was never considered in the Senate.
  • On March 7, Sens. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), James Inhofe (R-OK), Tom Udall (D-NJ), and Mike Crapo (R-ID) introduced S. 491, the Brownfields Utilization, Investment, and Local Development (BUILD) Act. The bill, sponsored by four Members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, would expand the federal brownfields cleanup program and authorize $250 million annually through 2016.
  • The same day, Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) introduced S. 488, the Advanced Vehicles Technology Act. The bill, also introduced that day in the House by Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI), passed the House last Congress by a bipartisan vote of 312-114, and was reported out of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. However, the full Senate failed to act upon it.