By Steve Dye, WEF Government Affairs
The Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) has launched a new website and on-line grassroots advocacy tool for the Water Advocates program that features important legislative and regulatory matters and calls-to-action on issues impacting the water sector.
The website offers a number of free grassroots tools to help WEF members engage with their elected officials. Although the website is accessible to all water professionals, WEF invites members to join the Water Advocates program to increase their effectiveness in advocating for the water sector. WEF members can join the Water Advocates community on wefcom.org, as well as the Water Advocates website.
Automated Letter Writing to Congress
The Water Advocates website currently has two calls-to-action on significant bills pending in Congress that connect users to a “Write your Congressman” tool on the website. The tool electronically submits pre-drafted letters to Senators and Representatives. The tool uses the official Congressional correspondence process so the emailed letter will not get marked as spam.
The first call-to-action urges the House and Senate to increase funding for water infrastructure in FY2017 appropriations bills. The letter asks Congress to fund the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) programs at $2 billion each. In addition, the letter includes a link to a new report by WEF and the WateReuse Association that states that for every $1 million in SRF funding, $930,000 is returned to the federal treasury in tax revenues, 16.5 high-paying jobs are created, and $2.95 million in economic growth is generated in the U.S. economy.
The second call-to-action urges the Senate to pass the Water Resources Development Act of 2016 (WRDA). The Senate version of this bill includes a number of important policy and funding provisions that benefit water infrastructure investment. The bill was passed out of committee earlier this year, but now needs to go to the Senate floor. The draft letter asks senators to urge Senate Majority Leader McConnell to bring the WRDA bill to the floor and pass it with the water infrastructure provisions.
Grassroots Advocacy Toolkit
Members and Member Associations have another toolkit for their grassroots advocacy efforts. This toolkit explains the benefits of grassroots advocacy at the federal, state, and local levels, and provides advice and guidance on how to engage with elected officials and the public on important issues affecting the water sector. The toolkit outlines essential steps to grassroots advocacy, as well as provides quick tips on calling, writing, and meeting with elected officials. Also, the toolkit includes useful links to Congressional and federal agency websites and directories.
WEF members can download the PDF version of the toolkit at the Water Advocates website. Member Associations are urged to share it with members as a resource.
Since 2011 Steve Dye has served as Legislative Director for the Water Environment Federation (WEF). In his government relations role Steve represents the Federation before Congress, monitors key legislation and federal policies, develops and executes legislative strategies and proposals, and maintains WEF’s excellent reputations before public and private interests in the water sector. He also leads WEF’s Water Advocates Program, a grassroots program designed to mobilize and train WEF members to advocate before federal, state, and local officials.
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