It's been a long time coming, but the Fireworks Alliance is underway. Our ship is launched! This is the first in what will be an ongoing series of newsletters. Our aim is to get you a news Bulletin worth reading every week, but, until we have sufficient volunteer staff, the interval between newsletters may be a bit longer.
As many of you are aware, our recent efforts have been focused on the CPSC issue. Much has happened in our efforts to save hobbyist fireworks and amateur rocketry from CPSC regulatory extinction:
The most urgent problem facing us today is defending hobbyist fireworks and amateur rocketry from the regulatory depredations of the CPSC:
- Representatives of the Foundation and the Pyrotechnics Guild International (PGI) have made three trips to Capitol Hill and have met with legislative staff who seem favorably disposed toward helping us.
- Funding has been secured from the PGI and the Fireworks Foundation to hire a professional lobbyist.
- The ongoing defense of the FireFox in their CPSC case obviously continues to need more funding, but, we have, thanks to your generous donations, been able to keep up with costs to date which now exceed $50,000.00. (It's not cheap to defend yourself against the government!)
- We have prepared an Action Alert for all members to respond to. This is discussed later in this newsletter.
Current Action Alerts
- The CPSC has interdicted chemical wholesalers! CPSC has gone to the bulk wholesale suppliers of chemicals and gotten them to cease selling to the vendors who repackage these materials and supply our hobby. That's correct: FireFox and Skylighter and other vendors can no longer buy potassium perchlorate and fine metal powders.
- The Fireworks Foundation and the PGI have been referred by "parties unknown" to the Internal Revenue Service for audits! Three guesses as to who could have referred us are two more than you need. Not to worry on this one, though. It's aggravating. It'll be time-consuming and costly to go through these audits, but, the Officers and Trustees have had good legal advice and have been scrupulously legal in all our activities.
- The CPSC case against Firefox proceeds. The government has asked for so many business records that copying costs exceeded $10,000.00! The case is set to go to trial early in 2007. This web site will keep you posted on details related to the case.
- There is an excellent, must-read article about another CPSC bust of a fireworks chemical supplier in the June 2006 issue of Wired Magazine:
Chemophobia is alive and well in America.
Some of you may not be familiar with Action Alerts. Action Alerts are grassroots advocacy campaigns that allow members to petition congress on issues that are important to our efforts. Here is how it works -- we write a letter that is to be sent to a specific individual or group of individuals. Members go to the Action Center, click on the Action Alert, and send the letter. The letter may be an email message, a FAX, or a downloadable letter that you sign and mail. The method we choose is based on the person receiving the letter and the urgency of the message.
We have posted an Action Alert on our website regarding the CPSC issue. Now that the CPSC has forced chemical wholesalers to stop selling chemicals to companies like Skylighter and Firefox, we believe it is time to force the issue in front of congress. We are asking Senator George Allen, who chairs the Senate committee that oversees the CPSC, to hold hearings on this matter. We are asking members to go to the Action Center, click on the action alert, submit the action alert, and download the letter that is produced. Please sign the letter, place it into an addressed envelope, and mail it today.
Why go through all this hassle? Because the Senate will not read your email or your faxes, but they will read your printed letters. Besides, we have already written and addressed the letter for you. All you have to do it to sign it and send it on its way. Please do this today. It is very important. Also, read the background information found in the Action Alert – it is an excellent summary of the issues we have had fight with the CPSC to date.
Fireworks Alliance Board
In April, Dr. John Steinberg was appointed as the Executive Director of the Fireworks Alliance. John’s deep industry ties, combined with his leadership experience in the PGI and the Crackerjacks, make him an ideal Executive Director for the Fireworks Alliance. Tom Handel, who is currently First VP for the PGI, accepted the position of Director of Communications for the Fireworks Alliance. Dave Stoddard, who wrote the advocacy software used by the Fireworks Alliance, serves on the board as Chief Technology Officer. More information is available about these individuals on our website through the link to the Board of Directors.
Volunteers Are Needed
The strength of any advocacy organization is in the number of members it represents and their willingness to be active in the organization. We need your help to grow our membership. There are several ways you can help us in this effort:
If you are interested in helping us with these efforts, please send email to firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know what you are doing and where you are doing it. Volunteers will be recognized publicly and we are working on providing a free year's membership in the PGI as an incentive for our "volunteer of the month". If you ever wanted to do something to help save fireworks, this is one area where you can make a difference. If there ever was a time when your help is critically needed, now is that time.
- NOW is the time that most Americans purchase consumer fireworks. One way to make sure people know about the Alliance is to place a flyer in every bag of consumer fireworks sold. The Fireworks Alliance has prepared just such a flyer that can be provided with every fireworks purchase made. We need members to convince their favorite fireworks stores to hand these flyers out with every purchase. You can download this flyer from the web at http://www.fireworksalliance.org/resources/sales-insert-version-1.pdf.
- Millions of people flock to fireworks displays on the Fourth of July. We are recruiting volunteers to help us pass out flyers to people as they arrive at public displays. The Fireworks Alliance has prepared two types of leaflets that can be used to tell people about the Fireworks Alliance as they arrive at fireworks display events.
For other ways you can help the Fireworks Alliance, please go to our grassroots advocacy page at http://www.fireworksalliance.org/cgi-bin/viewpage.pl?p=grassroots.
As of June 12, our member count is 552. We are represented in 49 states, and 10 countries. If we are going to be effective in our efforts to petition congress, we need our membership numbers to grow to 10,000. You efforts can help us get there faster.