As a meteorology student at a Pennsylvania college, Matthew Stepp didn’t aspire to be a TV weatherman but he loved the research on the forces of nature. “I was always a science nerd,” he said.
He went on to earn a master’s degree in science, technology, and public policy at the Rochester Institute of Technology, and just five years after graduation, Stepp, 29, has become the leader of Washington’s newest think tank, the Center for Clean Energy Innovation.
Housed at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, the center is unique among research organizations in the capital. “We’re the only one directly focused on energy-innovation policy,” Stepp said.
The goal is to address climate change by advocating for government policies that encourage development of low-carbon technologies. In doing so, the center will be “technology-neutral,” Stepp said, meaning it will look for ways to generally promote innovation in the energy world.
“We want to see the same kind of technology development for clean energy as we saw with fracking,” he said, referring to the advancements in drilling techniques that led to the current U.S. oil and gas boom.
Among the subjects the center will address are American research and development programs, tax policy, trade issues, science and math education, and advanced manufacturing. It plans to put out its first report in late March or early April offering policymakers an agenda for action on clean-energy development, Stepp said.
Stepp, a Philadelphia native, finished his master’s in 2009 and landed a fellowship at the National Academy of Sciences assisting the Transportation Research Board. He later moved to the Breakthrough Institute, where he worked on green-energy issues, before moving to the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation in 2010 as an energy policy analyst.
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The House on Tuesday voted 403-12 "to pass an overhaul to the nation’s chemical safety standards for the first time in four decades. The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act aims to answer years of complaints that the Environmental Protection Agency lacks the necessary authority to oversee and control the thousands of chemicals being produced and sold in the United States. It also significantly clamps down on states’ authorities, in an effort to stop a nationwide patchwork of chemical laws that industry says is difficult to deal with."
"Leaders of the Republican Party have begun internal deliberations over making fundamental changes to the way its presidential nominees are chosen, a recognition that the chaotic process that played out this year is seriously flawed and helped exacerbate tensions within the party." Among the possible changes: forbidding independent voters to cast ballots in Republican primaries, and "doubling the number of early states to eight."
Citing the unpredictable nature of this primary season and the possible leverage they could bring at the convention, John Kasich is hanging onto his 161 delegates. "Kasich sent personal letters Monday to Republican officials in the 16 states and the District of Columbia where he won delegates, requesting that they stay bound to him in accordance with party rules."
"Speaker Paul Ryan is changing the rules of how the House will consider spending measures to try to prevent Democrats from offering surprise amendments that have recently put the GOP on defense. ... Ryan announced at a House GOP conference meeting Tuesday morning that members will now have to submit their amendments ahead of time so that they are pre-printed in the Congressional Record, according to leadership aides." The change will take effect after the Memorial Day recess.
Bernie Sanders "signed a letter Tuesday morning requesting a full and complete check and recanvass of the election results in Kentucky ... where he trails Hillary Clinton by less than one-half of 1 percent of the vote. The Sanders campaign said it has asked the Kentucky secretary of state to have election officials review electronic voting machines and absentee ballots from last week's primary in each of the state's 120 counties.