September 17, 2015
At a joint hearing of the House Committee on Natural Resources and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held on September 17, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy testified about the role of the EPA in the August 5 Gold King Mine blowout that resulted in a three-million gallon toxic spill into the Animas and San Juan rivers. Rep. Bruce Westerman, P.E., (R-AR), an NSPE member, asked McCarthy why a licensed professional engineer was not in responsible charge of the EPA’s project at Gold King Mine, as required under Colorado statute. McCarthy declined to answer, but even she was surprised at how few qualified design professionals are employed by EPA in the affected Region 8. NSPE is working very closely on this issue with Westerman and his office, as well as several congressional committees. NSPE has urged EPA and all federal agencies to review their practices and requirements.
September 14, 2015
On September 14, NSPE submitted a public comment to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) commending the agency for proposing additional safety measures requiring a professional engineer to prepare site-specific gas collection and control system (GCCS) plans as part of the proposed rule Emission Guidelines and Compliance Times for Municipal Solid Waste Landfills. As part of the proposed rule, EPA requested comments regarding the appropriate professional and educational requirements for auditors. NSPE asserted that the auditing process is best performed by licensed professional engineers. EPA further inquired as to whether self-audits should be allowed in lieu of independent audits. NSPE strongly encouraged EPA to maintain the current system of independent third-party audits.
September 4, 2015
NSPE is saddened by the recent gold mine blowout of the Gold King Mine, which resulted in a three-million gallon toxic spill into the Animas and San Juan rivers affecting communities in multiple states. This spill has brought under scrutiny the EPA’s requirements and practices. Although specific details regarding the onsite team and its practices have still not yet been fully disclosed, NSPE strongly urges the EPA and all federal agencies to review their existing requirements and practices. Unfortunately, far too many engineering projects are undertaken without the expertise and supervision of a licensed professional engineer. The professional engineer’s foremost responsibility is to practice in a manner that protects the public health, safety and welfare.
August 20, 2015
On August 20, as the result of extensive advocacy efforts by the Indiana Society of Professional Engineers and NSPE, the Indiana Job Creation Commission (JCC) rescinded its troubling recommendation to eliminate licensure of the Professional Engineer. The JCC, which was created in 2014 to examine the licensing of all of the state’s professional boards, released its draft report on June 17 recommending elimination of the PE license in Indiana. The Indiana Society of Professional Engineers (ISPE) and National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) organized a swift, coordinated response to urge the JCC and Indiana Governor Mike Pence to reverse the recommendation. ISPE sent a letter to the JCC Chairman Nick Rhoad and Governor Pence’s office on June 19 urging them to remove the recommendation.
August 4, 2015
On July 29th Congress yet again failed to come to agreement on a long-term infrastructure bill and instead settled for a three month patch that will run out on October 29th. This is the 34th short-term extension in the past ten years. Long-term legislation is needed for PEs to properly plan, design, implement, construct, operate and maintain our nation's infrastructure systems. NSPE urges Congress in the strongest terms possible to stop lurching from one infrastructure funding crisis to another. NSPE members should contact their elected officials immediately to urge passage of a six-year bill. Take action today with NSPE’s latest advocacy campaign!
June 29, 2015
On June 29th, NSPE unveiled a great new advocacy resource for all NSPE members: the PE Legislators webpage. Professional engineers are impacting policy at all levels of government. Learn about PEs who became legislators and their experiences, and gain insights into how NSPE members can advocate for the profession. Included are helpful advocacy training tips.
May 28, 2015
Facing a May 31 deadline, Congress once again passed a short-term funding patch to avoid imminent insolvency of the Highway Trust Fund. Since September 30, 2014, when the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act expired, Congress has relied on short-term funding laws, commonly known as patches, to finance our nation’s surface transportation infrastructure. NSPE and transportation industry groups have been strongly urging Congress to stop relying on stopgap spending and come up with a long-term authorizing bill that will protect the public health, safety and welfare. While many members of Congress recognize the need to invest in infrastructure, the political will to come up with a bipartisan funding solution has been lacking. For infrastructure to thrive, a long-term commitment in the form of a six-year authorization needs to be enacted. NSPE hopes that Congress will take this time to develop a meaningful solution to our mounting infrastructure needs.
April 30, 2015
On April 30, NSPE submitted a public comment to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) commending the agency for recognizing the critical role of professional engineers in the recently released notice of proposed rulemaking in response to the Deepwater Horizon disaster of 2010. The proposed rule, which has been five years in the making, requires a professional engineer in cementing and casing situations to examine, review, approve and certify changes or remedial measures as part of Blowout Preventer Systems and Well Control, 1014-AA11 (30 CFR Part 250.428 parts (b) and (d)).
April 22, 2015
On April 21, NSPE submitted a public comment in fervent opposition to a proposed rule that would weaken certain requirements for a professional engineer as part of the licensing process of deepwater ports. The proposed regulation, issued on April 9 by the US Coast Guard of the Department of Homeland Security, includes two provisions that gravely concern NSPE given their tremendous impact on the public health, safety and welfare: a change to allow unlicensed engineers from within the US, as well as foreign engineers, to perform engineering services that only a licensed PE can perform and a change to allow these unlicensed engineers to submit design and construction plans on behalf of the licensee.
April 17, 2015
Representative Sam Graves (R-MO) recently introduced H.R. 1666, the Design-Build Efficiency and Jobs Act of 2015. This legislation reintroduces the Congressman’s bill from the 113th Congress, H.R. 2750, the Design-Build Efficiency and Jobs Act of 2013. NSPE endorsed H.R. 2750 and its public statement can be read here. As stated in NSPE Position Statement No. 1726: Design-Build in the Public Sector, NSPE recognizes that more than one project delivery system may meet an owner's project requirements. Factors such as safety, function, time from conception to completion, capital and life-cycle costs, environmental quality, and appearance will each play a role in the owner's decision.