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“Many of the colleagues we meet in our industry don't fully appreciate the impact that governments could have on their products or operations, their bottom line… the very viability of their organization.”
WWEMA NEWS AND UPDATES
WWEMA, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Team Up to Oppose 'Buy American' Provision
WWEMA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on May 10 sent a letter to each member of the U.S. Senate opposing a potential "Buy American" provision to the Water Resources Development Act of 2013 (S. 601). Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) is expected to offer an amendment next week imposing "Buy American" restrictions on the water projects authorized by the act.
The letter argues that, "Under the guise of creating U.S. jobs and promoting U.S. industry, this protectionist measure could have the opposite effect by reducing competition, increasing project costs, and cutting U.S. exports of goods and services to countries that emulate U.S. policy."
Read the full text of the letter.
40th Washington Forum Examines Question: 'Is This the New Norm?'
With a mix of presentations on legislative, regulatory, and policy issues as well as market intelligence and opportunities, WWEMA's 40th Washington Forum offered attendees valuable insights to guide their businesses and provide a competitive advantage in today's tough market place.
Just a few of the highlights:
* Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ, pictured at right) offered an impassioned plea for increased national attention to water and wastewater infrastructure. Pascrell announced plans to reintroduce legislation to fund water infrastructure projects through private activity bonds.
* A panel of utility directors shared their experiences, "pain points," and advice for manufacturers. Among their pet peeves when evaluating proposals: Manufacturers who waste their time talking about what their competitors can't do rather than explaining what their own products can do.
* David Asiello of the Department of Defense helped attendees better understand the department's labyrinthine procurement practices. Asiello said the DoD understands acutely the value of water as numerous servicemen and women have lost their lives during water deliveries to troops in arid regions.
Attending the Washington Forum were 81 WWEMA members, five non-member manufacturers, 21 speakers and several guests. Coverage of several of the sessions can be found at the Water Online website here, here and here.
WWEMA, Water & Wastes Digest Offer 2013 Scholarship
Applications are now available for the scholarship program sponsored by Water & Wastes Digest, awarding $1,000 to a student seeking a career in a water- or wastewater-related field. Applicants must have a parent employed by a WWEMA-member company. The deadline for 2013 applications is October 18. Details are available through WWD.
WWEMA/USWA Innovation Roundtable Draws Industry Leaders
More than 60 policy makers, regulators, manufacturers and others gathered in Washington, D.C., on March 4 for a first-of-its-kind roundtable discussion on "Innovating for Water's Future," co-sponsored by WWEMA and the U.S. Water Alliance.
Download a summary of the discussion here.
"As budget numbers go from bad to ugly, there's real beauty in the water innovations that spring from public-private partnerships," said USWA President Ben Grumbles. "We have common ground on the urgent need to innovate and collaborate now to sustain water and invest in America's future."
"It is imperative that our industry join together to address the barriers to innovation," added WWEMA President Dawn Kristof Champney. "Factors such as the 'low bid' mentality, inadequate reward systems for risk taking, and long payback periods prevent us from embracing technologies that can better protect and preserve our water environment."
The event began with a discussion on "Framing the Needs and Challenges," with panelists WWEMA Chairman Deb Lavelle; Rich Anderson, senior advisor for the U.S. Conference of Mayors; and Robert Steidel, director of Public Utilities for the City of Richmond (Virginia).
The next panel spoke on "Leveraging Existing and Exploring New Opportunities" and included Nancy Stoner, acting assistant administrator for the EPA Office of Water; Suzanne van Drunick and Sally Gutierrez, both from the EPA Office of Research and Development; Alex Dunn, executive director and general counsel for the Association of Clean Water Administrators; and Jim Taft, executive director of the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators.
It concluded with a facilitated discussion among all participants, led by Brent Fewell, vice president, environmental compliance, United Water, and chairman of the U.S. Water Alliance's Business Advisory Council.
FWQA Luncheon Offers Insights into Sandy Relief Efforts
The Federal Water Quality Association's February 28 luncheon offered an insider's look at the federal government's response to Hurricane Sandy and the recovery efforts of the local utilities in restoring their water and wastewater facilities.
Speakers Rich Weisman and David Goldbloom-Helzner of the EPA Office of Water shared some of the successes and challenges posed during and after the storm, including:
- The success of WARN (the Water/Wastewater Agency Response Network), a voluntary support network of utilities in which utilities that were not affected by the storm came to the assistance of those that were, providing generators and other types of assistance.
- The use of the recently developed Fed FUND (Federal Funding for Utilities in National Disasters), a web-based tool providing information, tips and example applications for utilities to apply for federal disaster funding.
- The difficulties faced in determining how to allocate the $600 million in State Revolving Funds allocated to the storm relief. The funds are intended to target projects that will build resiliency and/or reduce flood risk, but it has been a challenge to define "resiliency."
- The challenge of balancing the desire of some communities to return to normal operations as quickly as possible vs. the desire to take the time and planning needed to create effective, long-term solutions.
WWEMA Partners with 'Water for Jobs' Campaign
WWEMA has partnered with leading water associations, organizations and companies in support of a Water For Jobs campaign to raise awareness that investing in the nation's water infrastructure creates jobs, drives innovation and safeguards public health.
Each dollar invested in water infrastructure increases GNP by $6.35. For every $1 million invested, 26,000 jobs are created. At a partners meeting on January 7, it was agreed that a water infrastructure summit be held within in the next several months to enlighten federal, state and local governments that investing in water infrastructure is a national priority.
WWEMA Secures Five Seats on Federal Advisory Committee
Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank has sent notifications to five WWEMA representatives who have been selected to serve on the Environmental Technologies Trade Advisory Committee (ETTAC) for the 2013-2014 term: Bill Decker (Aqua-Aerobic Systems), Hermes Gonzales (Hach Company), Roddy Tempest (Tempest Environmental), George Vorsheim (Environment One Corporation) and WWEMA President Dawn Kristof Champney.
ETTAC provides private-sector advice to 19 federal departments and agencies, with a primary focus on promoting the export of U.S. environmental goods and services. Most recently, the committee played an instrumental role in a groundbreaking Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) agreement that will significantly reduce tarriffs on a list of 54 environmental goods, including many products produced by WWEMA members.
FWQA Luncheon: A Look Ahead at the 113th Congress
WWEMA staff attended a Federal Water Quality Association luncheon on November 29, featuring a presentation by Claudia Copeland, a specialist in resources and environmental policy at Congressional Research Services. Copeland offered her outlook on the 113th Congress and its potential effects on the water and wastewater industry.
Copeland reviewed expected changes in leadership to committees of interest to the industry, including the potential implications of the installation of Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA) as the new chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. She also discussed possible developments regarding the Water Resources Development Act and the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA).
WWEMA President Dawn Kristof Champney is a past president of FWQA, and WWEMA "Washington Analysis" Editor Sharon Nye is the current secretary of the association.
Water and Wastewater Equipment Manufacturers Association, Inc.
P.O. Box 17402
Washington, D.C. 20041
Tel: 703.444.1777 Fax: 703.444.1779