Friday, August 1st, 2014
Successful Event Results in 120 Meetings with Top Legislators
When given the opportunity to talk openly with Washington officials, SPI members don’t hesitate to express their views about issues important to the plastics industry. Plastics Champions from SPI and eight other organizations met on Capitol Hill July 23 for the 2014 Plastics Industry Fly-in. The annual gathering gives association members the chance to sit down face-to-face with key lawmakers and their staffs.
Before venturing off to the House and Senate buildings, the group of about 110 industry attendees and association representatives were provided an informative briefing by an Obama administration official and other high-level Washington leaders.
First up was Ali Zaidi, of the White House Domestic Policy Council. After talking in generalities about energy, the climate and jobs, Zaidi opened the floor to probing questions about business taxes, the Keystone XL Pipeline and business regulations.
Off to Meet the Members
Fly-in attendees, who became industry lobbyists for the day, brushed up on issues before meeting with senators like Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and House members to include and House Energy and Commerce Chair Fred Upton (R-Mich.), Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) and Elizabeth Esty (D-Calif).
Among the key issues discussed:
Energy Policy – SPI and others support energy policy that encourages prudent development and utilization of domestic natural resources. The plastics industry supports energy recovery from non-recycled plastics, development of the Keystone XL Pipeline and responsible use of domestic energy resources that may be enabled through hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking.
Chemical Regulation – The federal (TSCA) is being reviewed by Congress, even as the Environmental Protection Agency continues to broaden the scope of regulatory activities under its existing TSCA authority. The plastics manufacturing industry supports efforts led by Senators David Vitter (R-La.) and (D-NM), as well as those of Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.), to move consensus-based legislative proposals forward.
Any revision that ignores the significant socio-economic benefits of products made with chemicals, such as plastics, could threaten the industry’s ability to develop and utilize the materials that are essential to the plastics industry.
Consensus-based green building standards – The federal government needs to encourage competition among green building rating systems that do not discriminate against products with proven life-cycle benefits. The best way to advance these goals is to require rating systems to be developed in conformance with established voluntary consensus procedures.
Competition among railroads – The plastics industry supports increasing competition among railroads to ensure that goods are shipped efficiently to both
domestic and international markets. The industry urges policy reforms that encourage fairness for freight rail shippers by removing regulatory barriers to competition and ensuring captive shippers have greater access to competing freight rail service.
Science-based decision-making by plastics industry regulators – A regulatory approach based on sound science is critical to sustain the use of plastics as an important material of choice. Both individually and collectively, several key federal agencies hold enormous power over the plastics manufacturing businesses and products. Among the most important are:
At the end of the day, 120 meetings took place in Capitol Hill. Aside from SPI, other participating associations were: American Chemistry Council (ACC), American Mold Builders Association (AMBA), International Association of Plastics Distribution (IAPD), Plastic Pipe and Fittings Association (PPFA), Plastics Pipe Institute (PPI), Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors (MAPP), (VI), and Western Plastics Association (WPA).