Yesterday’s New York Times shined a light on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt’s 2017 calendar and the meetings he has been taking with the business community and nonprofit groups. On the list: a visit in March to the National Association of Manufacturers’ (NAM) spring board of directors meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Administrator Pruitt met with our board members on March 6. Because manufacturers are heavily regulated entities, particularly on the environmental side, we regularly invite the head of the EPA to address our board. We invited Gina McCarthy, the EPA administrator during President Barack Obama’s second term, to address our board members three times: September 2014, December 2014 and September 2015. She declined every time. Had she joined us, she would have been able to receive direct input from the CEOs and senior executives of the manufacturers her agency’s rules directly impact. It certainly would have been helpful as the EPA put the finishing touches on the ozone standard (final rule, October 2015), the “Waters of the U.S.” regulation (final rule, June 2015) and the Clean Power Plan (final rule, August 2015), the latter two of which were held up by federal courts and are receiving thorough reexaminations.
This year, we extended a speaking invitation to Administrator Pruitt, and we are glad he said yes. And by the way, Administrator Pruitt didn’t just hear about the regulations we want to see fixed under his leadership. He heard about the areas where the EPA is doing great work that we support. We asked him to put resources into the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, so it can properly implement the Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act, the overwhelmingly bipartisan chemical safety law put into place in 2016. The room included the men and women running the operations of hundreds of manufacturers the EPA regulates. They represent all points of view on the political spectrum, and, most importantly, can actually tell the administrator what it’s like to implement the regulations the EPA puts out.
That’s what we should want: good government based on the best data. A steady flow of information between manufacturers and the agencies that regulate them. The EPA would have been well served to talk to our board, for instance, when it issued the “Boiler MACT” regulation in 2012, a rule governing the type of boilers manufacturers operate and how they use them. It didn’t, and manufacturers are still feeling the after-effects.
We’ll continue to invite EPA leadership to address our board, no matter who is in charge. Manufacturers strongly support the EPA’s mission to protect health and the environment.