August 5, 2014
Facing imminent insolvency as Congress prepared to adjourn for a five-week recess, the Senate and House finally reached a short-term agreement to provide $10.8 billion to fund and reauthorize the Highway Trust Fund through next May. With the Department of Transportation set to begin cutting payments to states the next day, the Senate approved H.R. 5021 on July 31st by a vote of 81-13 bringing to an end a showdown between the two chambers. The Senate had initially passed a different version of the bill that would have extended funding only through December 19th, forcing serious debate about a long-term authorization. This effort ultimately failed as the House would not accept the alternate version. NSPE members played an important role as hundreds of members reached out to their elected officials to underscore the tremendous threat insolvency would pose to the public health, safety and welfare and the hundreds of thousands of jobs that would be put at risk.
July 14, 2014
On July 11, NSPE President Harve Hnatiuk, P.E., F.NSPE, sent a letter urging FEMA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to revise FEMA’s levee certification program requirement to shift the responsibility and liability to the parties in the best position to assume that responsibility and liability: the levee boards, owners, and operators. Learn more.
June 12, 2014
On June 12, Manager of Government Relations Arielle Eiser participated in a political action committee event with Representative Paul Tonko (D-NY). NSPE’s top legislative issues were discussed, including the importance of the “E” in STEM. As an engineer in Congress, Representative Tonko has worked diligently to strengthen the American engineering workforce. The Congressman is the primary House sponsor of the Educating Tomorrow’s Engineers Act (H.R.2426) . Congressman Tonko is a champion of STEM education and, throughout his tenure in Congress, has proven himself to be a champion of engineers.
June 10, 2014
On June 10 President Obama signed the Water Resources Reform Development Act (WRRDA) into law. The conference report was approved overwhelmingly in the Senate by a vote of 91-7 and by an even more remarkable margin of 412-4 in the House of Representatives. WRRDA is the first Army Corps of Engineers authorization since 2007. NSPE endorsed this vital legislation and sent a letter of support to the bill’s primary sponsor, Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) in September 2013. In the letter to Chairman Shuster, NSPE President Robert Green, P.E., F. NSPE praised WRRDA for “overhauling and dramatically improving the process for federal water resources development. The legislation sets hard deadlines on the time and cost of studies, consolidates or eliminates duplicative studies and concurrent reviews that can hold up projects for years, and streamlines environmental reviews.
June 2, 2014
On June 2, NSPE debuted its new Legislative Action Center, now powered by VoterVoice, LLC. This enhanced legislative platform will enable all NSPE members to quickly and easily respond to Action Alerts, look up legislators, learn about legislation NSPE is tracking and see how legislators voted on important issues. Visit the Legislative Action Center today and take action!
On June 2, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued its long-anticipated proposed rule targeting carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants. EPA estimates that the new rule would help to reduce power-sector carbon dioxide emissions to approximately 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. The EPA’s proposal assigns a specific emissions reduction goal to each state. The rule’s requirements vary significantly among states. Certain states will have to dramatically reduce their annual emissions, while nine states and the District of Columbia already meet or exceed the proposed requirements for 2030.
NSPE strongly supports a diverse, comprehensive energy portfolio to ensure long-term, reliable, secure, and environmentally responsible energy supplies at predictable and affordable costs. NSPE recognizes the value of energy sources ranging from coal, oil, and natural gas to wind, solar, and biomass.
On June 2, NSPE’s members utilized the debut of NSPE’s new Legislative Action Center, now powered by VoterVoice, to send a clear and powerful message to Congress to immediately stabilize the Highway Trust Fund and ensure a long-term solution to prevent insolvency. In less than the first 12 hours, 100 NSPE members answered the call to action and sent an action alert to their Senators and Representatives. Grassroots advocacy campaigns usually lose substantial momentum after the first day or two. However, a week into this advocacy campaign, nearly 200 NSPE members have sent 539 messages to 214 Members of Congress. NSPE’s member-advocates have reached 84% of the Senate and 30% of the House of Representatives and continue to increase their reach.
May 8, 2014
On May 8, NSPE’s Government Relations Manager Arielle Eiser participated in a political action committee event with Representative Daniel Lipinski (D-IL). NSPE’s top legislative issues were discussed, including STEM education and infrastructure. As an engineer in Congress, Representative Lipinski has worked diligently to strengthen the American engineering workforce. The Congressman has been the primary sponsor of the annual National Engineers Week resolution for a decade. Congressman Lipinski is a champion of STEM education and a foremost advocate for the National Science Foundation. Throughout his tenure in Congress, he has proven himself to be a champion of engineers. Learn more about the NSPE-PAC and contribute.
Also on May 8, NSPE’s Government Relations Manager Arielle Eiser participated in a political action committee event with Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA). NSPE’s top legislative issues were discussed, including final passage of the Water Resources Reform Development, which would authorize projects for the Army Corps of Engineers, as well as the pending reauthorization of the nation’s comprehensive surface transportation law. Chairman Shuster is the lead legislator in the House of Representatives on both of these initiatives and has shown a strong commitment to a collaborative bipartisan approach on transportation and infrastructure that has yielded results unmatched by the rest of Congress. Chairman Shuster is also playing a key role in the Highway Trust Fund, which may run out of funding as early as July.
March 19, 2014
The National Society of Professional Engineers has urged Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR) to reconsider his bill S. 496, the Farmers Undertake Environmental Land Stewardship (FUELS) Act. The FUELS Act would substantially weaken the current EPA Spill, Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule, placing the public and the farmers it seeks to protect at increased risk of devastating oil spills. NSPE understands that some members of the agricultural community have concerns with the current SPCC rule. NSPE would like to underscore two important points, though: first, the protection of the public health, safety, and welfare must be of paramount importance; and second, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that most farms would be exempt from the rule. Read the press release.