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Veto Override Falls Short in Senate, Manufacturers Hope For Action

Today, the Senate voted to override President Obama’s veto of a bill to approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and even though this vote did not receive the 2/3rds approval needed to pass (failed by a vote of 62-37), it shows a dedication from Senate leadership to this important infrastructure project. This project would create tens of thousands of new jobs, opportunities for working men and women and energy abundance here in the United States. (continue reading…)

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Offshore Drilling Plan Misses the Mark

Today the Department of Interior (DOI) released their “Draft Strategy for Offshore Oil and Gas Leasing.” The draft proposal, developed by DOI’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is the administration’s blueprint for offshore oil and gas leasing for the years 2017-2022. This plan will not only determine what areas will or will not be available for leasing for the next 8 years, but also will effect American energy production long after this Administration leaves office. (continue reading…)

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Congress Gets Right to Work on Job-Creating Project

It’s the first full week of the New Year and the 114th Congress is wasting no time getting to work on approving a project that will increase our energy independence and create jobs throughout the manufacturing supply chain: Keystone XL Pipeline. (continue reading…)

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EPA Issues Final Rule on Coal Ash

On December 19, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final rule regulating Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR), better known as coal ash. In doing so the EPA complied with a January 29, 2014 court order tor release a final rule.

While the NAM is pleased that the EPA, once again, made the determination that CCR should be treated as a non-hazardous material and regulated under subsection D of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), manufacturers continue to have concerns about other parts of this rule that deal with disposal, impoundments and landfilling of coal ash and their impact on the electric power generation sector. (continue reading…)

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New York Ban on Natural Gas Development Tough to Swallow for Manufacturers

This week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo shocked many (including us) when he announced a complete ban on natural gas exploration through hydraulic fracturing within New York’s borders. While authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing belongs to the state, it’s hard to understand today’s decision. (continue reading…)

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Baltimore Manufacturer Makes Case for Keystone in Recent Column

Drew Greenblatt, President of Marlin Steel and NAM Executive Committee Member, recently published an article in Inc. Magazine entitled, “10 Reasons Obama Should Embrace the Keystone XL Pipeline.” Senators from both sides of the aisle voted to get this project moving and yet S. 2280, Senators Hoeven and Landrieu bill to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline, recently fell one vote short of passing the U.S. Senate. (continue reading…)

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SBA Speaks Out!

We congratulate the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy for being “the voice of small business in government” today.  The SBA spoke loud and clear on how the proposed rule on “waters of the United States” will impact small business. The Office of Advocacy released a nine page letter this week calling for the EPA/Corps to “to withdraw the rule and conduct a SBAR (Small Business Advocacy Review) panel prior to promulgating any further rule on this issue.”

The SBAR panel that is required under the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA) and is designed to provide small business with direct input from affected businesses prior to rule being published.

The letter takes the agencies to task for improperly certifying the rule on three points: 1) the agencies used the wrong baseline for their Regulatory Flexibility Act certification; 2) the rule imposes direct costs on small businesses; 3) the rule will have a significant economic impact on small business.

The NAM membership is made up of predominantly small and medium size businesses. This rule will significantly impact not only manufacturers but farmers, developers, construction companies and a significant portion of the supply chain.

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The Manufacturing & Mining Link

Today, there is no question that manufacturing in the United States is making a comeback.

But one overlooked—and at risk—driver of this resurgence is the availability and stability of domestic mineral resources. Mined mineral resources are raw materials that support nearly every sector within the manufacturing industry, from the automotive to construction to defense and high-technology. Each sector is intrinsically dependent on minerals and by extension, the mining sector.

In a newly released study by the National Mining Association, U.S. Mines to Market, SNL Metals & Mining (SNL) looks at U.S. mined commodities’ domestic supply chains and the contribution of U.S. minerals to the manufacturing sector, identifying the risks faced by high-tech, energy, medical, national defense and automotive industries. Most notably, the study points out that mismatch exists between the domestic mineral supply and demand because of an inefficient permitting system that can delay the development of new mines by a decade or more.

The nature of manufacturing is that we rely on raw materials to create products. Often times the raw materials we need are not produced in this country and these sources can become unreliable. The inability to have access to a reliable source of raw materials is an impediment and a threat to continued and sustained U.S. economic growth. For instance, many manufacturers report being concerned with a dire need for infrastructure investment and spending in the U.S. and believe that an unstable supply chain of raw materials is “impairing reliability and increasing the cost of goods movement.”

As the U.S. manufacturing sector continues to grow, the importance of a secure and reliable domestic raw material supply has never been clearer – and with it, the need for a more efficient permitting process for new mineral mines that supports the country’s manufacturing industries. If we allow U.S. mining to perform to its full potential, our nation can enjoy enormous growth and job-creation opportunities, support the domestic manufacturing revival and attract global investment dollars.

Learn more at MineralsMakeLife.org

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Happy Anniversary Keystone: Marking Six years of Missed Opportunity

Today we mark the sixth anniversary of TransCanada’s first application seeking a Presidential permit to build the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the United States. For most of the past six years this project has been with the administration awaiting final approval, with five different environmental reviews conducted and thousands of pages of reports and public comments collected.

Much has happened since the initial permit application was filed in 2008: more than 10,000 miles of oil and natural gas pipeline has been built in the U.S.; Fidel Castro stepped down as President of Cuba; two new countries were created Kosovo and South Sudan; four Olympic games have been held (Vancouver, Beijing, London and Sochi); and Apple released the IPhone 3, 4, 5 and now 6.

For further context on how this delay stacks up in the history books, just look at the array of larger and more complex projects built in a shorter time frame. For example, the 800 mile long Trans Alaska pipeline took just over two years to build. The iconic Hoover Dam was erected in just five years, the Empire State Building in just over one year, and San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge in less than five years.

The debate over Keystone is not just about ensuring we have a steady source of energy from a reliable trading partner; it’s also about jobs and the economy. The State Department says the project will create 42,000 jobs and add $3.4 billion to the GDP, jobs and economic growth that manufacturers and other workers desperately need.

Although there’s not much to celebrate, the NAM is marking this occasion with the release of a new video highlighting the facts about Keystone:


 

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House Charts Common-Sense Course for EPA and States to Work Together on Clean Water

Yesterday evening, the House passed H.R. 5078, the Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act, introduced by Rep. Steve Southerland (FL-2), by a bipartisan majority vote of 262-152.

The legislation would put the breaks on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers’ (Corps) efforts to expand jurisdiction over water traditionally regulated by states and local governments. The bill directs the agencies to work more closely in a consensus-based approach to determine what waters fall under the federal government and which waters fall under the purview of the state and local governments.

The NAM and Water Advocacy Coalition (WAC) have spent the last several years communicating our concerns EPA and Corps. Among other things, we have expressed strong concerns for how the agencies re-defined “waters of the United States” so that virtually any and all water would come under federal control. In short, if you control the water use then you control the land use, thus land use would depend on decisions made not at the local level but at the federal level.

Water is integral to manufacturing process whether it is as an input, as a part of the cooling process, or whether it is a bi-product of the manufacturing process. Manufacturers cool water, settle water, and transport water away from one process while also looking for ways to reuse water. Manufacturers deal with storm water and storm water systems. We must deal with water when we perform operations, maintenance, repair, construction, expansion and infrastructure projects. If  forced to apply for and received a Corp permit every time we clean out a cooling pond, repair a transmission line, or expand machine shop, it won’t take long before we lose the ability to do what we do best…manufacture, compete and create jobs!

If passed by the Senate and signed by the President, H.R. 5078 would be an important step towards a productive federal-state relationship that provides manufacturers with the regulatory certainty need.

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