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Apr 4 -- The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) requests input from interested parties on sustainable chemistry to guide future Federal efforts. Interested persons and organizations are invited to submit comments on or before 5:00 p.m. ET on June 3, 2022.

OSTP has been tasked under Subtitle E—Sustainable Chemistry of the William M. (Mac) Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (Pub. L. 116-283) with creating a consensus definition for the term “sustainable chemistry” to coordinate Federal programs and activities in support of sustainable chemistry. The definition, for which we are seeking comment, will inform OSTP's development of a framework of attributes characterizing sustainable chemistry as well as quantitative assessment metrics. Additionally, it will allow OSTP to assess the state of sustainable chemistry in the United States; coordinate and support Federal research, development, demonstration, technology transfer, commercialization, education, and support for public-private partnerships; identify Federal barriers and opportunities; identify scientific challenges; avoid duplication; and position Federal funding for maximal impact including through synergistic partnerships.

Scope: OSTP invites input from any interested stakeholders, including industry and industry association groups; civil society and advocacy groups; local organizers and community groups; state, local, and tribal governments; academic researchers; technical practitioners specializing in chemistry and chemical processes; and members of the public, representing all backgrounds and perspectives. OSTP has great interest in receiving input from parties developing sustainable chemistry technologies, parties acquiring and using such technologies, and people from communities impacted by their use, including but not limited to environmental justice communities.

Information Requested: OSTP has considered definitions for sustainable chemistry to potentially include incorporating technology, policy, finance/economics, energetics, national security, critical industries, and critical natural resources. OSTP encourages input on these and other considerations for a definition of sustainable chemistry. Respondents may provide information for one or as many topics below as they choose. Through this RFI, OSTP seeks information to develop a consensus definition for the term “sustainable chemistry” and to consider the implications of such a definition, including the following topics:

1. Definition of sustainable chemistry: OSTP is mandated by the 2021 NDAA to develop a consensus definition of sustainable chemistry. Comments are requested on what that definition should include. The definition will inform OSTP and Federal agencies for prioritizing and implementing research and development programs to advance sustainable chemistry practice in the United States. Comments are also requested on how the definition of “sustainable chemistry” relates to the common usage of “green chemistry” and whether these terms should be synonymous, exclusive, complementary, or if one should be incorporated into the other.

2. Technologies that would benefit from Federal attention to move society toward more sustainable chemistry: What technologies/sectors stand to benefit most from progress in sustainable chemistry or require prioritized investment? Why? What mature technology areas, if any, should be lower priority?

3. Fundamental research areas: What fundamental and emerging research areas require increased attention, investment, and/or priority focus to support innovation toward sustainable chemistry (e.g.,catalysis, separations, toxicity, biodegradation, thermodynamics, kinetics, life-cycle analysis, market forces, public awareness, tax credits, etc.). What Federal research area might you regard as mature/robustly covered, or which Federal programs would benefit from increased prioritization?

Ancillary topics regarding the definition:

4. Potential outcome and output metrics based on the definition of sustainable chemistry: What outcomes and output metrics will provide OSTP the ability to prioritize initiatives and measure their success? How does one determine the effectiveness of the definition of sustainable chemistry? What are the quantitative features characteristic of sustainable chemistry?

5. Financial and economic considerations for advancing sustainable chemistry: How are financial and economic factors considered (e.g., competitiveness, externalized costs), assessed (e.g., economic models, full life cycle management tools) and implemented (e.g.,economic infrastructure).

6. Policy considerations for advancing sustainable chemistry: What changes in policy could the Federal government make to improve and/or promote sustainable chemistry?

7. Investment considerations when prioritizing Federal initiatives for study: What issues, consequences, and priorities are not necessarily covered under the definition of sustainable chemistry, but should be considered when investing in initiatives? Public Law 114-329, discussed in the background section above, includes the phrase: “support viable long-term solutions to a significant number of challenges.” OSTP expects the final definition of sustainable chemistry to strongly consider resource conservation and other environmentally focused issues. For example, national security, jobs, funding models, partnership models, critical industries, and environmental justice considerations may all incur consequences from implementation of sustainable chemistry initiatives such as dematerialization, or the reduction of quantities of materials needed to serve and economic function.

RFI: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2022-07043

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