Energy

Energy Efficiency Legislation Finally Heads to President’s Desk

This afternoon the House voice voted to approve S. 535, the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2015, and will send the measure to the President’s desk. The bill, which the Senate passed by voice vote in March, would loosen efficiency standards for grid-enabled water heaters, increase efficiency in government data centers and promote efficiency in commercial, residential and federal government–owned buildings. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), have introduced various iterations over the last several years. Previously in the 114th Congress a version of the legislation, S. 128, was adopted as an amendment to a separate bill (S. 1, to approve the Keystone XL pipeline) but was vetoed by the president on Feb. 24. The House passed a similar efficiency bill, H.R. 2126 in the 113th Congress, by a vote of 375-36 in March of 2014, but the Senate never acted on that measure. (continue reading…)

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Interior Looks for Comments on Drilling Fee Increase

Today, the Department of the Interior took one big step towards a change in royalty fees paid by companies who want to explore the abundant energy resources located on federal land. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued a notice seeking public comment on the need for new regulations and whether the government should be allowed to raise these fees.

Currently, fees assessed by the Department of the Interior are 12.5% of the gross value of production minus allowable deductions. For some leases, this can be tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees.    (continue reading…)

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FACT CHECK: EPA’s Legal Footing

“I would not recommend, and I am confident that the Administrator would not sign, a final rule that the EPA did not believe was on firm legal footing and worthy of being upheld by the federal courts. In light of that, the effect of the draft bill would be a wholly unnecessary postponement of reductions of harmful air pollution,” said Environmental Protection Agencies (EPA) Acting Air Chief Janet McCabe.

The statement above was given in a congressional hearing, while under oath to members of Congress who were debating draft legislation that would restore some regulatory certainty for businesses and state governments by delaying implementation of EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Regulation for the existing power sector until after the inevitable legal challenges are resolved. (continue reading…)

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Administration’s Climate Plan to UN a Reminder of What’s at Stake for Manufacturers

The Administration’s submission of its Climate Change Plan to the United Nations today is a reminder of the complex nature of global greenhouse gas (GHG) politics, economics and realities, and what is at stake for the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing. Manufacturers want a strong international agreement that includes binding commitments from all major emitting nations.

First, as is graphically represented on Page One of the Plan, the United States is already leading the world in reducing GHG emissions. Since 2005, no country has reduced its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by more than the United States—nearly 700 million tons of C02 or a reduction of close to 12 percent. U.S. manufacturers are leading the way, producing more efficient and lower emitting cars, trucks and machines; creating new and innovative products to increase the energy efficiency of houses, buildings and factors; and unlocking new technologies to generate more power with fewer emissions. Since 2005, carbon emissions from manufacturers and other industrial facilities have fallen by more than 10 percent. This progress will continue, as manufacturers are driven by a commitment to environmental sustainability and recognition that reducing emissions is good for the bottom line—more efficient factories have fewer emissions and lower costs.  (continue reading…)

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Cost Consideration: Supreme Court Hears Arguments in Michigan v. EPA

Today the Supreme Court hears arguments in Michigan v. EPA, to resolve whether the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must consider costs when deciding whether it is appropriate to regulate hazardous air pollutants emitted by electric utilities.

It’s surprising that an agency would not consider costs when deciding how to regulate. We could make cars safer by requiring that they be made like tanks. We could reduce hospital infections by requiring hazmat-style protective equipment.  But alternatives like these are usually not appropriate. It is more reasonable to approach every regulation by weighing its unique costs and benefits. (continue reading…)

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Blunt-Thune Carbon Tax Amendment Reminder of Potential Negative Impacts of a Carbon Tax

As part of the Senate’s consideration of the FY 2016 budget, Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO) and John Thune (R-SD) will offer an amendment opposing the future leveling of a carbon tax on U.S. manufacturers and businesses. The NAM has long warned of the potential negative impacts of an ill-conceived carbon tax program, particularly as other major emitting nations do not face similar cost burdens. Unilateral regulations or additional costs to address greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions will only hurt U.S. manufacturers while accomplishing little, if anything, in the way of global emission reductions.

In 2013, the NAM released an economic study conducted by nonpartisan NERA Economic Consulting, looking at two carbon tax scenarios: one levied at $20 per ton increasing at 4 percent, and the other designed to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 80 percent—an emission reduction level targeted in past legislative proposals. NERA found that any revenue raised by a carbon tax would be far outweighed by the negative impacts to the overall economy. (continue reading…)

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Local Governments Weigh In on Proposed Ozone Standards

The outcry over the EPA’s proposed ground-level ozone standards continues with representatives of the nation’s mayors, counties, cities and regions adding their voices to the debate in a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy this week.

In the letter dated March 17, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, National Association of Counties, National League of Cities, and National Association of Regional Councils, detail the impact the most expensive rule in U.S. history will have on local governments.  These four organizations collectively represent 19,000 cites and mayors, 3,069 counties and over 500 regional councils. (continue reading…)

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Concerns Pour in As Ozone Comment Period Draws to a Close

The close of the EPA’s public comment period on its proposed revision to ground-level ozone standards has brought with it a flurry of activity, as lawmakers and leaders across party lines and at all levels of government voice their frustration with the rule.

And with the most expensive rule in American history waiting in the wings, it’s no surprise that elected officials are eager to urge the EPA to show restraint as they consider a shift from the current standard of 75 parts per billion to 65 – 70 parts per billion. (continue reading…)

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Reintroduced Energy Efficiency Legislation Receives Bipartisan Support

Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) reintroduced their energy efficiency legislation Wednesday, joined by 11 bipartisan co-sponsors. The NAM has strongly supported this legislation in its previous versions, and will continue to push for passage of this common sense, bipartisan energy efficiency measure that would create jobs by saving energy in industrial, commercial, and residential sectors.

The Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2015 is similar to last year’s version, and sponsors say it will create 190,000 jobs, save $16.2 billion annually and reduce carbon emissions by the equivalent of 22 million cars. The bill helps to strength national building codes, establishes a Tenant Star program that encourages commercial tenants to be more energy efficient, establishes the Supply Star pilot program to encourage the manufacturing supply chain to become more energy efficient, encourages the federal government to be more energy efficient as they purchase new technology, and requires the federal government to better measure energy performance. (continue reading…)

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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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