BY REGINALD TUCKER
As I sat listening attentively to the litany of informative and relevant presentations delivered at the recent 2012 NASF Washington Forum, a sobering question came to mind: “Where would the U.S. surface finishing community be today without the vigilant advocacy efforts put forth by the National Association for Surface Finishing?”
It’s clearly a rhetorical question, but the point is clear: As tough as things might seem now as far as regulatory/environmental/economic pressures are concerned, things might be much worse if not for the intervention of the NASF—and, by extension, The Policy Group. NASF’s official mission statement modestly professes the association’s primary drive to advance the “business, technical, and educational interests of the surface technology community worldwide,” but I would take that a step further and say that, unequivocally, the critical work NASF is doing behind the scenes has kept many surface finishing operations in business.
Following is just a smattering of the association’s key legislative priorities for 2012:
Jobs and growth. NASF is strongly urging Congress to enact policies to incentivize and revitalize a viable manufacturing base, including robust domestic automotive and aerospace sectors. In other words, “help, don’t hurt,” NASF executive director Christian Richter stated.
Support U.S. competitiveness. NASF is imploring members of Congress to address competitive challenges manufacturers face—starting with assessing existing barriers as well as emerging threats to business while developing a better policy framework to improve U.S. economic security for the future.
Metals and Risk Policy. While NASF supports efforts in Congress and the Administration to review the ever-expanding regulatory burdens on manufacturers, the association advocates “science-based” decision making in EPA’s pending Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) assessments for nickel and chromium compounds.
Manageable Health Care Costs. NASF supports changes in our nation’s health care system that make insurance more affordable, particularly for small and mid-size firms. Specifically, NASF strongly encourages Congress to provide tax and regulatory certainty and clarify how the health care law will be implemented after the Supreme Court’s decision.
Fighting Further Reductions in Cr+6 Air Emissions. NASF asks that Congress urge the EPA to base its pending rule regarding chromium air emissions on actual data and sound analysis. (Note: The surface finishing industry has actually reduced chromium emissions by nearly 99.9% since 1995, yet EPA recently proposed even tighter air standards using air data from hundreds of plants that don’t exist!) Richter’s message to EPA: “We have delivered on health and safety. Please don’t set a bad precedent.”
At the end of the day, unfortunately, advocacy comes with a high price tag, as NASF must routinely hire the technical, economic, and legal expertise required to mount successful challenges to actions that stand to negatively impact the surface finishing community. In order for the NASF to continue fighting the good fight, financial resources allocated toward government relations activities need to be continually replenished. It’s just an economic reality.
NASF, The Policy Group, and scores of volunteers are hard at work every day to ensure the concerns of the industry are addressed and that appropriate action is taken. Let’s do our best to return the favor.
For more information on ways you can support the NASF’s governmental relations efforts, please contact Jeff Hannapel at (202) 257-3756 or e-mail jhannapel@the policygroup.com.