Heard in Washington


Jan/Feb 2013

Heard in Washington

Engineering news from around the nation's capital.

Fair Pay for Federal Engineers
NSPE recently submitted its views on fair pay for federal engineers to the Office of Personnel Management. Each year, OPM submits a report to the president that compares pay rates for federal workers with the rates of nonfederal workers at the same level of work. NSPE believes compensation for federal engineers must be comparable with that of private sector engineers in order for the federal government to recruit and retain the best talent.

NSPE also believes that engineers who become PEs should receive additional compensation, comparable to doctors and attorneys in federal service.

Energy Security
Texas A&M petroleum engineering professor Daniel Hill, P.E., recently told House legislators that a revolutionary change in U.S. energy supply is taking place solely due to oil and gas production from unconventional reservoirs.

In testimony to the Energy and Environment Subcommittee of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee on November 30, Hill explained that research led by Sandia National Laboratory has allowed engineers to greatly improve hydraulic fracturing and well-completion practices.

"The goal of energy security, and possibly energy independence for the United States is no longer just political rhetoric, but is technically attainable. We know where the resources can be found, but we still need technical improvements to be able to produce much of the resource at prices that are beneficial to the public," Hill said. "However, it will not be easy, and it will require two things: further developments in technology, and the trained engineers and geoscientists needed for continued growth. The proposed Department of Energy research funding will be a great help with both of these needs."

Grand Challenges
The National Academy of Engineering will hold an international summit March 12?13 in London to explore new approaches for solving some of the world's most pressing challenges. The inaugural Global Grand Challenges Summit is a collaboration of the NAE and the national academies of engineering in the United Kingdom and China. It will bring together many of today's leading thinkers and innovators with the next generation of engineering talent from around the world.

Among the summit's topics: sustainability, global health threats, education, enriching life through engineering, technology and growth, and infrastructure resilience.

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