The ChE in Context: PAIC: The ChE’s Voice In and About Government

April
,
2017

AIChE’s Public Affairs and Information Committee (PAIC) helps the Institute and its members to communicate effectively with public officials, the public, and each other about technical and professional issues relevant to public policy.

AIChE is involved in government relations because its members are affected by government decisions and because members can provide useful knowledge for aiding wise government decision-making. According to surveys, members believe that the Institute should be heard on technical issues where chemical engineers have expertise to contribute.

Recently, PAIC has heard from some members that AIChE should lead a fight on various changes proposed by the new U.S. administration, especially on environmental issues. AIChE’s U.S. members have differing views on such policy proposals. Some members oppose the changes, some support them, and others have complex, nuanced opinions. In addition, nearly 15% of AIChE members are non-U.S.

To the extent that such issues have become partisan, active opposition would conflict with AIChE’s nonpartisan, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status, which restricts the types and extent of government-relations activities by AIChE and its representatives. AIChE is allowed to advocate nonpartisan policy positions that affect our members — such as those related to pensions, professional registration, and technical guidance for policy-makers....

Author Bios: 

Phillip R. Westmoreland

Phil Westmoreland is Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at North Carolina State University. He was 2013 President of AIChE, was the founding chair of the Computational Molecular Science and Engineering Forum, is a Fellow of AIChE and the Combustion Institute, and is a trustee and past president of CACHE (Computer Aids for Chemical Engineering Education). He received the 2017 AIChE Institute Award for Excellence in Industrial Gases Technology for his experimental and computational achievements in the chemistry of fire suppressants and air-pollutant prevention. He also...Read more

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