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OIA in D.C. Notes From The Hill: June 2022

By Rich Harper, Director of Government Affairs

This past month, the world’s leading business-to-business outdoor sports industry retailers, suppliers, and reps gathered in Denver, Colorado for the Outdoor Retailer Summer show. While OIA was convening with industry leaders to strengthen outdoor businesses, bring more people outside, and protect our planet, Congress was working to pass the Ocean Shipping Reform Act (OSRA), which will work to fix ongoing supply chain issues and relieve economic stresses against American business and consumers. OSRA is a major victory for the outdoor industry, and OIA continues to fight on the industry’s behalf on several other fronts in Washington to ensure our lands and waters are clean, protected, and accessible to all.

Amplifying Climate Change Initiatives

The urgency for action on climate initiatives continues to rise. With the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling on West Virginia vs. EPA, the court ruled against EPA’s ability to regulate carbon emissions, effectively blocking the Biden Administration’s efforts to reduce the nation’s carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2030.

OIA is encouraged by many of the proposals to combat climate change being discussed on Capitol Hill. We are hopeful these measures can be passed, which will be an important step in the long fight for climate action. OIA and our members wrote to Senate and House leadership on June 13th expressing support for many of these proposals, which include policies to promote natural climate solutions and resilience, increase access to parks and outdoor spaces for underserved communities, and deploy a reimagined Civilian Climate Corps (CCC). It is imperative for Congress to advance measures that prioritize our air, lands, and continue the fight against climate change.

Meeting Outdoor Trade Priorities

Earlier this year, OIA sent a letter to leadership of the Senate Finance Committee and House Ways and Means Committee to express the critical need for inclusion of trade provisions in the reconciled version of The America Competes Act of 2022 (COMPETES Act) and the United States Innovation and Competition Act of 2021 (USICA). Since then, OIA has held a series of virtual OIATAC meetings with key representatives and senators on OIA trade priorities as outdoor companies continue to face exorbitant transportation costs, increases in raw material prices, and other inflationary pressures.

OIA Applauds the Passing of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act

After tremendous efforts by OIA members and trade associations calling on Congress to address ongoing supply chain disruptions and congestion, in addition to rising inflation, OSRA passed through Congress with President Biden signing the legislation into law on June 16. OIA, along with 90 other associations, followed through until the end and sent a letter to Senate and House leadership on June 10 urging the final passage of the OSRA. This legislation will address continued supply chain problems and ensure the fair and expeditious flow of goods in and out of U.S. ports, helping lower costs for American consumers and outdoor industry businesses.

Addressing Gaps in Access to The Outdoors

OIA’s State & Local Government Affairs Manager, Rebecca Gills gave an interview with The Nuance where she discussed gaps in access to the outdoors and public health, redefining outdoor recreation and climate resilience, and policy solutions: “Climate resilience advocates are asking policymakers to invest in green infrastructure that will hopefully address inequitable health outcomes, susceptibility to climate change, and [severe weather events] that a lot of communities of color often bear. Building climate resilience also involves bringing nature closer.” Read the article here.

OIA Hosts Webinar on “Forever Chemicals” Landscape

On June 30, OIA hosted a partner webinar with Marten Law to discuss the developing regulations of PFAS, or per- or polyfluoroalkyl substances, as well as the increase of PFAS consumer product lawsuits over the last year. PFAS are a group of over 9,000 synthetic “forever chemicals” that are used to make coatings that can resist extreme temperatures and repel grease, water, and stains. But research into the health effects of many PFAS have brought the chemicals under significant scrutiny from both regulators and consumers. View the webinar here.