By Andrew Aho
GMA has developed a new State and Local Advocacy (SLA) program to advocate for geosynthetic usage at state level and to the state agencies.Â GMA launched SLA to build on the successes we have had at the federal level providing awareness and promoting solutions that geosynthetic materials provide in transportation, civil, and environmental applications.
Further, SLA promotes GMA’s universal goal of increasing the use of geosynthetics among states and contractors and to drive direct sales for participants and the industry.
Outreach at the state level includes working closely with state agencies and the governor’s staff members to create an awareness about the general use of geosynthetic materials and to grow the acceptance of geosynthetics usage by creating and expanding markets for various applications at state and local levels of government.
To meet the goals of this effort, GMA is meeting with governors and staff members, Department of Transportation directors and administrators, state DOT National Transportation Product Evaluation Program (NTPEP) liaisons, state Environmental Protection Agencies (EPA), state Road Builders Association chapters, National Asphalt Pavement Association chapters, and other state and local elected officials.
The message we are delivering to the state DOTs and road builders includes:
- Our industry has recently enacted a solution to long-standing quality assurance gaps through the implementation of new quality and traceability regulations under the AASHTO-NTPEP geosynthetics work plan.
- Challenging states to adopt the NTPEP M288 specifications and to adopt the NTPEP work plan regarding geotextile manufacturers QA/QC audit plan and geotextile print identification program.
- Pointing out that the federal Government Accountability Ofiice has released a study that quantified the specific benefit of geosynthetics for both subgrade stabilizers and asphalt interlayers.
Our messages to the state environmental protection agencies are:
- Encourage the implementation of regulations regarding coal ash storage similar to the U.S. EPA’s Subtitle “D” guidance.
- GMA member companies can provide successful lining solutions in the landfill and waste markets.
- To advocate for coal ash to be classified as non-hazardous waste and to give states primary oversight of the sites and minimal federal oversight when needed.
A GMA member group has financed the formation of a voluntary SLA focus group to fund the state and local lobbying efforts. These companies have contributed to the funding: TRI, CETCO, Fiberweb, TenCate, GSE, Propex, Crown Resources, Hanes, and ACF West.
We brought this program to Tennessee in November 2012 and had successful meetings with state agencies, the road builders association, and the governor’s office. In December, we targeted Ohio with similar meetings. In January, the target was Illinois.
sThe focus group remains enthusiastic about the positive results this effort is having and is in the process of identifying the next target list of states.