November 12, 2015
On November 12, NSPE-PAC Chairman Jeff Elliott, P.E., F.NSPE sent an e-mail to all NSPE members emphasizing the value and importance of NSPE-PAC, the ONLY PAC dedicated solely to promoting the professional engineer. With the 2016 election season kicking into full gear, Chairman Elliott pointed out that despite challenges in Congress in recent years, due to NSPE's devoted membership, proactive advocacy efforts, and your continued support of NSPE-PAC, NSPE has been able to influence Congress on critically important issues such as drinking water infrastructure, a long-term transportation bill, and the need for licensed PEs to work on federal engineering projects, as demonstrated by the recent Gold King Mine blowout. Learn more about NSPE-PAC and contribute today.
The Gold King Mine disaster and an Ohio bill that requires engineers to make ethics part of their mandatory continuing education underscore the PE’s role in protecting the public health, safety, and welfare. Listen now.
November 11, 2015
On November 9, NSPE President Tim Austin, P.E., F.NSPE, sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy and the Department of the Interior’s Secretary Sally Jewell urging them to strengthen federal engineering standards by mandating the role of the licensed professional engineer in federal engineering projects. The letter was sent in response to the Department of the Interior’s technical assessment of the Gold King Mine blowout, which found that the EPA could have prevented the blowout that resulted in a three-million gallon toxic-spill.
November 9, 2015
On November 4, NSPE successfully secured full support from the American Association of Engineering Societies to endorse NSPE’s recommended changes to the World Federation of Engineering Organizations’ proposed Model Code of Practice. At its core, this is a thoughtful document on an important issue: how to address the increasing challenges posed by climate change to infrastructure resiliency. However, the standards and provisions within the draft document could establish a new standard of care for professional engineers that far exceeds their existing duties and responsibilities.
October 28, 2015
On October 22, the Department of the Interior released the findings of its independent investigation of the Gold King Mine blowout on August 5. The Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) led the technical evaluation and coordinated with the Army Corps of Engineers and US Geological Survey for peer review of the work performed by the bureau. The evaluation team included six engineers, four of them licensed professional engineers.
The findings revealed that the blowout could have been prevented with the proper engineering expertise. However, federal standards of practice for reopening and remediating flooded inactive and abandoned mines are inconsistent from one agency to another. Various guidelines exist for this type of work, but there is little in actual written requirements that government agencies must follow when reopening an abandoned mine.
October 27, 2015
On October 27, NSPE participated in an informal congressional roundtable hosted by Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY) to discuss how to best address our drinking water infrastructure. Professional engineers play a critical role in building, maintaining, and fixing the components of our nation’s drinking water infrastructure. Tonko, who serves as the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy, is working with stakeholders such as NSPE to develop an overarching plan to address the need for a massive overhaul and rehabilitation of our nation’s drinking water infrastructure.
October 23, 2015
On October 22, Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA) initially offered an amendment to the House Transportation and Infrastructure’s markup of the surface transportation bill to strip the legislation of its provisions on qualifications-based selection. The amendment was met by stiff opposition from NSPE, other engineering organizations and committee members. Rep. Garamendi subsequently withdrew his amendment. This event clearly demonstrates the widespread congressional support for QBS, while also emphasizing the need for continuous efforts to educate and advocate for QBS.
October 19, 2015
On October 15, NSPE President Tim Austin, P.E., F.NSPE, sent a letter to Ohio Rep. Ron Young, chairman of the Ohio House Commerce and Labor Committee, formally endorsing Ohio House Bill No. 236, requiring professional engineers to complete continuing professional development hours in professional ethics or rules relevant to engineering practices. The legislation was introduced by Rep. Louis Blessing III, P.E., an NSPE and OSPE member, and Rep. Al Landis. In his letter of support Austin wrote: “It is the policy of the National Society of Professional Engineers to support mandatory continuing professional competency for licensed professional engineers. It is further the policy of the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) that professional engineers have a moral obligation to engage in the ethical and competent practice of engineering.
September 29, 2015
The NSPE Committee on Policy and Advocacy (COPA) is working diligently on policy matters of great importance to the licensed PE. We are looking for subject matter experts in the following areas to provide immediate counsel to each issue working group of COPA’s three subcommittees (threat assessment, policy development and advocacy):
- Discipline-specific licensure
- Use of certified credentials by PEs
- Mobility of the PE license
- Attacks on licensure as a barrier to economic competitiveness.
If you have specific knowledge and expertise on these matters, please email Arielle Eiser, Senior Manager of Government Relations, at email@example.com with a brief summary of your background and relevant expertise. Ideally, we would like 2-3 experts for each issue working group for a total of 24-36 experts to work with the COPA, beginning in October.
September 25, 2015
On September 21, Rep. Bruce Westerman, P.E. (R-AR), an NSPE member, filed an official complaint with the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, Division of Professions and Occupations, regarding the August 5, 2015, Gold King Mine disaster. In a September 17 congressional joint oversight committee hearing, Westerman asked Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy why a licensed PE was not in responsible charge of the Gold King Mine project. Learn more.