Sequestration and the Public Health, Safety, and Welfare

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Contact Name: 
Stacey A. Ober
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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The National Society of Professional Engineers has written to national leaders about perhaps an overlooked, but potentially grave, result of the current budget impasse and sequestration: the severely diminished ability of professional engineers in the public and private sectors to fulfill their ethical obligation to protect the public health and safety. In short, the continuing failure to reach agreement on federal budget matters has the very real potential to place U.S. citizens at risk.

In letters to President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and Speaker of the House John Boehner, NSPE President Dan Wittliff, P.E., F.NSPE, writes, "The efforts of tens of thousands of America's professional engineers working to improve our nation's infrastructure, to identify new energy sources, to protect our environment, and to support our national security are being jeopardized because of the federal government's inability to resolve the current budget impasse." 

While the critical work of professional engineers in the public and private sector continues, declining funds present a major impediment to their efforts. Dedicated to practicing engineering in an ethical manner, professional engineers hold paramount the health, safety, and welfare of the American public. Reducing funding for vital engineering projects has the potential to create project authorization barriers at the state and local levels, force engineers to postpone critical projects, and even worse, to complete projects in a manner opposed to their ethical standards and that jeopardizes the safety of the public. 

"To minimize the possibility that these and other important engineering efforts are put at risk," writes Wittliff, "NSPE urges all parties in these budget discussions to vigorously pursue expeditious resolution of their differences for the benefit of the health, safety, and welfare of the American people."

Read the letter to President Obama.

Additional Notes: 

The National Society of Professional Engineers is the national society of licensed professional engineers from all disciplines that promotes the ethical and competent practice of engineering, advocates licensure, and enhances the image and well-being of its members. Founded in 1934, NSPE serves more than 35,000 members and the public through 53 state and territorial societies and more than 400 chapters. For more information, please visit