EIA/EREF Split, Stay Friends

At its spring meeting, the Washington, D.C.-based Environmental Industry Associations' (EIA) board of trustees approved a resolution from the board of the Environmental Research and Education Foundation (EREF), Alexandria, Va., to officially recognize the two organizations as legally and administratively independent.

Both organizations stress different mission statements as the main reason for the split. “EIA's mission is to advocate and lobby on behalf of its members,” says Bruce Parker, EIA president and CEO. “The foundation's mission is to provide research and publish the results, whether good, bad or indifferent … and to some degree, the line [between the organizations] was not well understood by members or the public.”

At press time, EREF had changed its bylaws and formally achieved organizational independence from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). According to Michael Cagney, EREF president and CEO, the foundation also moved out of EIA's headquarters in late July, but he credits that to cramped quarters in the Washington office and a good deal on a townhouse in nearby Alexandria.

Both EIA and EREF's board of directors, which share members, will remain the same, and Cagney and Parker have stressed that they will continue to share information to better inform their members. As a separate organization, Cagney says, EREF will join the National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA) and Waste Equipment Technology Association (WASTEC), subgroups of EIA also based in Washington. “We broke away to be independent, but we will always have a collegial relationship with EIA,” he adds.