Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

Plastics Industry Champions Hold 90 Meetings With Congress

Plastics Industry Fly-In participants were thoroughly briefed in the morning, then spent the afternoon in meetings in Senate and House offices.

Plastics Industry Fly-In participants were thoroughly briefed in the morning, then spent the afternoon in meetings in Senate and House offices.

Last Wednesday, July 24th, 77 plastics professionals came to Washington, D.C. from all parts of the U.S. and the plastics supply chain, and when the day was done they had put the concerns of the plastics industry on the front burners of 90 members of Congress, despite the day being a busy one with many votes to attend.

It was a record turnout for this annual event, and much of the credit for that must go to the broad support from eight separate plastics-related associations listed below. The rest of us in the plastics industry, whatever part of it we work in, should thank those who took the time to travel to the nation’s capital and carry our concerns into the halls of Congress. Feet on the ground, in the Congressional office buildings in this case, are important.

When Senators and Representatives hear the issues that are negatively impacting plastics businesses directly from industry professionals, and when those professionals and their businesses are located in the state or district of that member of Congress, they listen harder. Last Wednesday those plastics professionals we’re calling our plastics champions got that job done—make that jobs, plural.

Also plural were the important issues facing the plastics industry that were set for discussion. For example:

Energy policy — The plastics industry is particularly dependent upon domestic energy development and efficiency. Energy recovery must also be an increasing priority within an overall sustainability framework.

Green building standards — Our industry has major concerns over the U.S. government’s adoption of the USGBC’s LEED standards, and we advocate for using a range of plastics materials to meet critical building performance goals.

Economic policy — For lasting growth, the nation’s businesses need economic policy that brings certainty, free of budgetary brinksmanship, to stimulate confidence, investment and job creation.

Chemical regulation — We support modernization of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) using a risk-based approach to chemical regulation, and the bipartisan Senate TSCA bill S.1009.

Science-based decision making — Federal agencies such as EPA, OSHA, and FDA hold enormous power over the plastics industry now and for the future. Regulations must be based on sound science.

An unplanned meeting during the Fly-In with House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH8) gave SPI CEO Bill Carteaux an extra chance to present plastics industry issues.

An unplanned meeting during the Fly-In with House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH8) gave SPI CEO Bill Carteaux an extra chance to present plastics industry issues.

If you are a plastics professional who did not participate in the Fly-In, this is not an attempt to lay a guilt trip on you. I wasn’t there this year either. But I have participated in the past and stand convinced that it’s a task worth doing. So if you would like to represent the plastics industry during the next Annual Plastics Industry Fly-In, I urge you to jump in. It’s easy to do and I’m sure you’ll be glad you did.

You don’t have to be a member of any of the eight sponsoring associations to participate; being a plastics professional who wants to score points for our industry is all it takes. This year’s Fly-In sponsor associations were: American Chemistry Council (ACC), American Mold Builders Association (AMBA), International Association of Plastic Distribution (IAPD), Plastic Pipe and Fittings Association (PPFA), Plastics Pipe Institute (PPI), SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association, Vinyl Institute (VI), and Western Plastics Association (WPA).

Congratulations to all involved on a job well done.

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