October 26, 2016
On October 25, NSPE submitted a formal public comment to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration calling for greater involvement by professional engineers in NHTSA’s guidelines for the development and deployment of autonomous vehicles. NHTSA’s recently released Federal Automated Vehicles Policy, while not binding, is a clear indication of the agency’s views on the regulation of this quickly developing technology.
October 12, 2016
In another significant victory for professional engineers, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement increased the role of professional engineers in an updated oil and natural gas production safety final rulemaking. The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement issued a final rule updating the regulations regarding oil and natural gas production safety on the Outer Continental Shelf by addressing issues such as safety and pollution prevention equipment design and maintenance, production safety systems, subsurface safety devices, and safety device testing. The changes in this rule are necessary to improve human safety, environmental protection, and regulatory oversight of critical equipment involving production safety systems. Of particular importance were changes to the approval of safety systems design and installation features.
September 29, 2016
Recognizing the promise of autonomous vehicles, the National Society of Professional Engineers has been a leading advocate on the need to place the public health, safety, and welfare first, and require a licensed professional engineer to play a key role in the development, testing, and safety certification of autonomous vehicles. NSPE is disappointed that several major safety implications are still not addressed in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s recently released Federal Automated Vehicles Policy. These guidelines, while not binding, will play a key role in the development and deployment of autonomous vehicles. NSPE and the professional engineers it represents have a foremost responsibility to protect the public health, safety, and welfare—and to make others aware of ways that safety may be jeopardized.
September 22, 2016
NSPE alerted the Kentucky Society of Professional Engineers to a proposed rule that would have rescinded regulations directing the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to carry out qualifications-based selection. NSPE and KSPE then worked together and contacted transportation cabinet officials to explain the value of QBS and the necessity of the regulations. As a result, the cabinet rescinded its proposed rule to eliminate the regulations. The effort was another critical example of the value of NSPE’s advocacy efforts and national-state collaboration.
September 21, 2016
Safety on engineering projects is of paramount importance to protect the public safety, health, and welfare. For over 100 years, states have licensed professional engineers to ensure that the men and women in charge of engineering projects are qualified to carry out the work and keep the public safe. Many people, however, do not know that numerous states have enacted exemptions from the very engineering licensing laws they created to protect the public. A new report from NSPE details the extent of these exemptions and argues that they stand in the way of stronger public protection. Learn more about Exemptions to Engineering Licensure Laws.
September 2, 2016
At the 95th Annual NCEES Meeting last week in Indianapolis, the NCEES Council (consisting of the state and territorial licensing boards) defeated a proposed motion to change the NCEES Model Law which, NSPE argued, could have encouraged the creation of a separate license for structural engineers in additional states beyond those where such a credential already exists and a requirement that structural engineers be included as members of jurisdictional licensing boards. The vote was 12.5 in favor, 51.5 opposed and 2 abstentions.
On July 26th, NSPE President Kodi Jean Verhalen communicated NSPE’s concerns with the proposals in a letter. A big thank you is owed to our many state societies, who backed up national with individual, state-level contacts to their licensing boards prior to the NCEES meeting.
September 1, 2016
In another victory for licensed professional engineers and the public health, safety, and welfare, the Environmental Protection Agency included strong requirements for a PE in its final rule on emissions and compliance related to municipal solid waste landfills. In September 2015, NSPE submitted a public comment to the EPA, commending the agency for proposing new safety measures requiring a professional engineer to prepare site-specific gas collection and control system plans as part of the proposed rule. In the final rule, EPA requires that design plans continue to be prepared and approved by a PE.
August 30, 2016
Each year, NSPE and the American Council of Engineering Companies partner to administer the Qualifications-Based Selection Awards, which recognize individuals and entities in the public and private sectors for exemplary use of the QBS procurement process. Winners serve as examples of how well the process works at the federal, state, and local levels.
The Society and ACEC are pleased to announce that the Mississippi Department of Transportation is the winner of the 2016 Qualifications-Based Selection Grand Award.
Also earning merit awards were the City of Champaign, Illinois; City of Rapid City, South Dakota; and the Maine Bureau of General Services.
ACEC will recognize the Mississippi DOT for its distinguished achievement at the council’s fall conference. All merit award recipients will be recognized in their respective states by their NSPE state chapter and ACEC member organization.
August 17, 2016
NSPE President Kodi Verhalen, P.E., Esq., F.NSPE, submitted a public comment to the Securities and Exchange Commission on August 16 in response to its proposed rulemaking for Modernization of Property Disclosures for Mining Registrants. The proposed rule requires mining companies to disclose resources and reserves to investors. The SEC proposes to require a “qualified person” to classify a deposit as a reserve. The draft version defines a “qualified person” as “an eligible member or licensee in good standing of a recognized professional organization at the time the technical report is prepared.” The proposed rule then goes on to define a “recognized professional organization.”
August 12, 2016
In another major victory for professional engineers, NSPE was able to successfully incorporate a provision requiring PEs to prepare and seal engineering reports as part of all permit applications for abandoned mine lands cleanups. Abandoned mine lands have been an issue for decades. Unaddressed liability issues have prevented proper cleanup until this point. The Locatable Minerals Claim Location and Maintenance Fees Act of 2015 (H.R. 3843), finally addresses Good Samaritan remediation of abandoned mine lands and sets up a system for resolving this long-term public health, safety, and welfare issue. Although the initial version of this legislation did not require a PE, NSPE worked with the House Natural Resources Committee to include a requirement for PEs. The committee passed the bill with unanimous consent.