DALTON, Ga. — Rumors of the death of American manufacturing have been greatly exaggerated, officials said Thursday at the 2011 National Manufacturing Summit.
But as industry claws its way back from a crippling recession, government policies threaten to strangle the recovery in its infancy, they argued.
During five hours of talk here Thursday, political and business leaders blasted what many called dangerous levels of regulatory interference by the federal government while praising the resilience of the American factory and its workers.
“Between 2001 and 2010, the value of our manufactured exports grew by 95 percent,” Georgia Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle said. “A great country that makes nothing won’t be great for long.”
The Dalton Daily Citizen reports, “Energy, taxes dominate Dalton manufacturing summit.”
Kyle Wingfield covered the summit for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, writing, “Summit speakers take whacks at U.S. energy policies, rules,” reporting on remarks by Tom Fanning, CEO of Southern Company:
Fanning focused on “everything but oil” — basically meaning sources of electricity generation. He advocated an “all arrows in the quiver” approach but spent a good bit of time talking about why the U.S. should not abandon nuclear power in spite of the disaster in Japan. New technology, he said, addresses the biggest problem with the earthquake- and tsunami-struck reactors in Japan by using gravity to pour water on fuel rods in case of a shutdown rather than requiring an external power source. (That includes the two new reactors Georgia Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company, is building at Plant Vogtle.)
Fanning also spent much time decrying the EPA’s new Utility MACT regulation, which the agency is trying to rush through with only a 60-day public comment period and a three-year timeline for implementation.
“It is our [company’s] view that as a result of this rule by EPA, we may have to shut down almost half of the nation’s coal-generated [power] resources, putting us into potentially a reliability crisis,” Fanning said. “And when we consider adding new environmental control equipment or replacing it with other forms of generation, we’re looking at potential price increases across the United States of maybe 20 percent.
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