Got Your Back

The EIA is working to support the waste industry in a variety of ways.

The Environmental Industry Associations (EIA), through its two sub-associations, the National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA) and the Waste Equipment Technology Association (WASTEC), is busy advocating for, offering networking opportunities to, and developing face-to-face and webinar training sessions for America's solid waste industry. This article highlights some of the associations' recent activities.

State/Local Advocacy

With almost all 50 states facing revenue shortfalls due to the recession, NSWMA regional managers Mike Huff, Peggy Macenas and Steve Changaris have been working overtime with chapter members and lobbyists to ensure that our industry is not expected to cover these shortfalls.

NSWMA's director of state programs, Chaz Miller, and NSWMA's federal lobbyist recently met with U.S. Senate and House staff on climate change legislation and greenhouse gas emissions. They also have met with Congressional staff to discuss proposed legislation requiring electronic on-board recorders to show compliance with hours of service.

Comments to Federal Agencies

NSWMA has filed comments regarding proposed rules by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the Identification of Additional Classes of Facilities for Development of Financial Responsibility Requirements Under CERCLA Section 108(b) (75 FR 816). NSWMA argued that currently operated hazardous waste and municipal solid waste (MSW) facilities should not be required to obtain financial responsibility under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), because they already are covered by financial assurance programs under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

NSWMA also filed comments with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in response to a petition for rulemaking from the Association of State and Territorial Solid Waste Management Officials regarding new rules for the disposal of tritium exit signs. NSWMA asserted that NRC should exercise its full regulatory authority to prevent the disposal of tritium signs in MSW landfills.

WASTEC Annual Meeting

The WASTEC annual meeting was held in March, in Florida. Educational sessions featured presentations by representatives of the Collins Center for Public Policy, Clean Energy and the American National Standards Institute. The WASTEC Board of Governors also met.

Safety Training

NSWMA recently held several safety programs for members in Florida and New Jersey, and provided safety training at an Oregon Resource Recovery Association event. In addition, NSWMA's director of safety, David Biderman, attended a National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health meeting where he continued to focus attention on struck-by incidents. He is advising NSWMA members about the U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration's regulatory and enforcement activities.

Chairman's Council Tour

NSWMA held the annual Chairman's Council Spring Tour in April, in Charlotte and Raleigh, N.C. Participants visited a host of facilities, including remanufacturing plants, recycling operations, landfills, hauling and fleet maintenance operations, and transfer stations.

YouTube Video Scholarship Contest

On Earth Day, EIA launched a contest inviting students to make short videos that communicate how solid waste professionals are “Environmentalists. Every Day.” A panel of judges, including industry leaders, will select winners of a cash scholarship or other prizes. For information, visit

Webinar Trainings

In March, NSWMA convened a webinar where Bill Coleman, the assistant program manager of the Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010 (CSA) program at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, described how the new CSA program will measure and address safety with commercial motor vehicles, including garbage trucks. EIA's Future Industry Leaders Alliance held a webinar about cause mapping called “How to investigate and prevent problems in your business,” featuring Mark Galley, president and founder of ThinkReliability. And in April, the EIA Women's Council presented a webinar featuring Susan Eppes, president of EST Solutions, who described safety issues with single-stream collection and processing operations.

Recordings of all of these sessions are available on the NSWMA/WASTEC/EIA websites.

Thomas Metzger is director of communications and public affairs for the National Solid Wastes Management Association. Reach him at (202) 364-3751.