March 21, 2011
Congressmen Dave Reichert (R-WA-8) and Jim Matheson (D-UT-2) introduced the Good Samaritan Protection for Construction, Architectural, and Engineering Volunteers Act (H.R. 1145), which would provide qualified immunity to engineering, architectural, and construction entities volunteering in a declared emergency. The bill was proposed in response to lawsuits against architectural, engineering, and construction firms that volunteered after 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. It would protect both individuals and companies. The legislation was first introduced in 2007.
March 14, 2011
NSPE member L. Daniel Tanksley, P.E., F.NSPE, presented remarks on behalf of NSPE at a Department of Transportation regulatory review meeting. NSPE President-Elect Christopher M. Stone, P.E., F.NSPE, LEED AP, Executive Director Larry Jacobson, and Senior Manager of Government Relations Sarah Ogden also attended the meeting. NSPE's remarks focused on two issues: the Federal Highway Administration's and Federal Transit Administration's limiting qualifications-based selection procurement procedures to construction-related projects and the convoluted environmental clearance process.
March 11, 2011
NSPE sends its profound sympathies to those affected by the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan. NSPE has offered its services to the Center for International Disaster Information and the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the wake of the disaster. NSPE would like to remind engineers not to self-deploy to the region. While professional engineers will be needed, their expertise and skills must be part of coordinated relief efforts to be of the greatest help. Professional engineers interested in assisting with relief efforts should register with the Center for International Disaster Information, or send their name and specialty area to NSPE Executive Director Larry Jacobson.
NSPE sent a letter to Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) expressing concern about his introduction of the Criminal Justice and Forensic Science Reform Act (S. 132). The intent of the bill is to strengthen and reform forensic science in the criminal justice system and ensure that forensic evidence and testimony is accurate, credible, and scientifically grounded. The bill's certification requirement for personnel performing forensic work for federally funded facilities, however, is problematic because it does not exclude professionals who are licensed by the state.
March 5, 2011
NSPE Past President Samuel W. Grossman, P.E., F.NSPE, and Executive Director Larry Jacobson attended the annual Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Seabee, and Civil Engineer Corps Anniversary Ball in Arlington, VA. The ball honors the inception of NAVFAC, the Seabees, and CEC and is attended by Navy and Marine Corps officers and civilian employees. This year, NAVFAC is celebrating its 169th anniversary; the Seabees are celebrating their 69th anniversary; and CEC is celebrating its 144th anniversary.
March 3, 2011
NSPE commented on regulations that impede the engineering profession as part of the Department of Transportation's periodic regulatory review. Under Executive Order 13563, all agencies must periodically review their existing regulations to determine whether regulations should be modified, streamlined, expanded, or repealed to make regulatory programs more effective and less burdensome in achieving regulatory objectives. NSPE's comments focused on the lengthy environmental clearance process, inconsistent application of qualifications-based selection, the Federal Highway Administration's conflict of interest policy, inconsistent models of quality assurance, and outdated pipeline safety standards. NSPE will present these comments before DOT on March 14.
March 1, 2011
NSPE sent a joint letter with the Task Force on American Innovation to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) urging the Senate to reject cuts in the House-passed continuing resolution (H.R. 1) that would drastically reduce funding for the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy's Office of Science, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and critical STEM education programs funded through NSF and the Department of Education.
February 24, 2011
NSPE sponsored the Federal Engineer of the Year Award, which recognizes the achievements of engineers employed in the federal government. Attendees included Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez, Army Corps of Engineers Commanding General Robert Van Antwerp, Coast Guard Assistant Commandant for Engineering and Logistics Thomas Ostebo, Air Force Civil Engineer Timothy Byers, Public Health Service Chief Engineer Sven Rodenbeck, and Natural Resources Conservation Service Deputy Chief for Science and Technology C. Wayne Honeycutt. Naval Facilities Engineering Command Chief of Civil Engineers Christopher Mossey, P.E., served as keynote speaker.
February 22, 2011
A Securities and Exchange Commission proposed rulemaking in response to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (PL 111-203) would require municipal advisors to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board. The proposed rulemaking exempts "engineers providing engineering advice" from the registration requirement. Following discussion with NSPE members, NSPE decided not to comment on the issue.
February 17, 2011
NSPE sent a letter to Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Congressman Paul Tonko (D-NY-21) in support of the Engineering Education for Innovation Act, which will be introduced in the coming weeks. The E2 for Innovation Act would provide grants to integrate engineering curricula and content into classrooms across the country. The bill's goals of increasing student achievement and interest in engineering, broadening the diversity of students participating in engineering, and developing a workforce prepared to teach engineering are critical to cultivating the next generation of engineers.