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Energy

Why Manufacturers Are Cheering Energy Week

By | Energy, Environment, Presidents Blog, Shopfloor Main | No Comments

Later today, I’ll join President Donald Trump, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt for an “Energy Week” event at the Department of Energy headquarters here in Washington, D.C.

President Trump is expected to give a speech on American energy independence and “dominance.” This is the kind of leadership manufacturers want to see.

Access to affordable, reliable and diverse energy sources is essential to growing manufacturing in the United States. It’s about more than keeping the lights on; it’s about powering the heart of the American economy.

Manufacturing accounts for roughly one-third of all the energy consumed in the United States. If you make energy more abundant, you make it easier for companies of all sizes to expand their operations in the United States—and to hire more workers. There is a direct line between American energy access—or “dominance,” as the president puts it—and creating new jobs for Americans.

Over the years, manufacturers have produced the innovative new technologies that have allowed us to harness new sources of energy—and to improve our sustainability and make our energy use more efficient. Today’s access to affordable and diverse energy was unthinkable 20 or even 10 years ago. Now it’s time to build on that success.

Across this country, voters and elected leaders want to see the growth of manufacturing in the United States. If you support manufacturing, then you should support the continued development of American energy. Manufacturers use all forms of energy—oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear and renewables. America should lead the world in the development and deployment of all these energy forms.

Learn more about manufacturers’ energy agenda here.

House Energy and Commerce Committee to Hold Markup on NAM-Supported Ozone Bill

By | Energy, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

On June 28, the House Energy and Commerce Committee will mark up H.R. 806, the Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2017. This bill would create a more flexible glide path for manufacturers to comply with the 2015 ozone standard, harmonizing the compliance process for the 2015 standard with the behind-schedule process for the 2008 standard. In doing so, it would allow real ozone reductions to continue through 2025 without the unnecessary economic pain of ozone nonattainment. H.R. 806 would change the five-year review cycle for new standards to a more reasonable 10-year cycle, which is the typical time the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) needs to complete these reviews. The bill also takes positive steps to address manufacturers’ permitting challenges as they pertain to ozone standards and requires real examination of the impact of international air pollution on domestic ozone levels.

The Clean Air Act has successfully improved air quality across the United States over the past four decades, leading to major reductions of virtually every single air pollutant. Ozone levels have declined roughly one-third since 1980, and the precursors that contribute to ozone—nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds—have been cut in half. In fact, the Obama EPA projected that the United States would achieve nearly the same air quality by 2025 even if the 2015 ozone standard was never implemented.

However, incremental improvements in ozone are now coming at an exponential cost. Even though most states can meet the 2015 standard by 2025, they would be unnecessarily thrown into “nonattainment,” a sort of economic penalty box, if the 2015 standard’s deadlines were to stay in place. H.R. 806 solves this problem by phasing the 2015 ozone standard implementation to align with air quality improvements that the Obama EPA found will occur anyway by 2025.

The NAM supports H.R. 806 and looks forward to working with the committee to get this important legislation to the president’s desk.

Manufacturers Applaud Move to Clarify Water Protections

By | Energy, Regulations, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

The Earth is often called the “blue planet” because water covers nearly three-quarters of its surface area. And even more water resources are stored beneath the crust. Consequently, it is easy to take water for granted, but manufacturers understand the importance of responsibly managing water resources and have been working to protect clean water for decades. That’s why we have been asking for a clear rule from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that empowers everyone to join in protecting our waters. Today’s proposal is a critical step toward fixing our nation’s water policy.

Manufacturers have demonstrated leadership by not only minimizing the environmental impacts to water supplies but also helping to ensure adequate water supplies through conservation efforts. But at the same time, the management of water resources has been fraught with conflict. U.S. federal government regulators have abused their power to regulate navigable waters and usurped the role of local communities and individual property owners. While these abusive policies have often been stopped by federal courts, the lack of fair rules creates even more uncertainty for manufacturers. Although Congress intended the Clean Water Act to protect “the primary responsibilities and rights of states to prevent, reduce and eliminate pollution,” the federal government has disrupted this local-first approach and exceeded constitutional limits.

Since manufacturers rely on water for everything from growing agricultural inputs to engineering green chemistry and providing renewable power—smart water policy is critical. Conflicts over the allocation of water resources leaves manufacturers caught between contentious federal versus state or state versus state battles. This makes it difficult and at times impossible for manufacturers to plan for day-to-day activities and make long-term investment decisions.

Furthermore, regulatory uncertainty and prolonged conflicts undermine access to justice, weaken individual property rights and fail to protect critical water resources. Given the importance of water resources, manufacturers need local, state and federal water policies of cooperation rather than conflict to achieve greater transparency, adaptation and continued ecological restoration. Policies that respect individual property rights take a multisectoral approach and drive technology solutions and innovation work to strengthen our stewardship of water resources.

Manufacturers have asked the EPA for a clear rule protecting our nation’s waterways for decades. Our country can’t protect its waters without a clear rule that gives everyone a fair chance. So today’s action is welcome news. It is an important step in process of creating commonsense policy, but there’s more work to do. Manufacturers will continue to advocate a new rule that conforms to the Clean Water Act, protects our nation’s waters and provides clarity for manufacturers and landowners around the country. This will take time and cooperation, but our blue planet deserves nothing less.

“Energy Week” to Highlight U.S. Energy Dominance and Benefits to Manufacturing

By | Energy, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

The White House is making this week “Energy Week” and is putting the focus on America’s diverse energy mix and benefits it provides. Manufacturers are seeing this firsthand, as U.S. energy dominance is making manufacturers more competitive.

A recent study sponsored by the National Association of Manufacturers found that as a result of the increase in domestic shale gas production, we saw real GDP increase by $190 billion and 1.4 million more jobs. Just the construction of new natural gas pipelines to transport all this new energy meant more than 347,000 jobs in 2015, with almost 60,000 in manufacturing. Downstream, the benefits are even more striking: our friends at the American Chemistry Council estimate that abundant natural gas and natural gas liquids from shale resources have driven the chemical industry to invest in 294 new projects representing $294 billion in new economic output and 462,000 new jobs.

The energy renaissance is not limited to oil and gas. More than 100,000 workers contribute to the energy production at the nation’s 99 nuclear power plants, including manufacturers providing on-site repair, operations and maintenance as well as replacement components, modifications and upgrades when necessary. Pending retirements are spurring the industry to hire another 25,000 employees over the next few years, and in anticipation of new nuclear plant construction, U.S. companies have created in excess of 15,000 new U.S. jobs since 2005, which include manufactured products like turbines, polar cranes, pumps, valves, piping and instrumentation and control systems. Renewable energy sources have also steadily grown—consumption from wind, solar and geothermal energy sources have increased more than 400 percent over the past decade—now accounting for about 10 percent of total U.S. energy consumption and about 13 percent of electricity generation. Overall energy intensity in manufacturing (i.e., energy consumed per each dollar of goods produced) has steadily improved as manufacturers have grown more energy efficient. And even though the coal industry has faced its share of headwinds in the electric power sector—and is receiving much-needed regulatory relief—coal use in the non-electric-generation manufacturing sector has remained relatively stable, at around 43 million short tons of coal per year.

Manufacturers use a tremendous amount of energy, accounting for roughly one-third of the energy consumed in the United States. For energy-intensive manufacturers like chemicals, paper, metals and refining, energy is one of the largest costs. Manufacturers also make up the supply chain for every single energy source and technology, from fossil fuels, to renewables, to energy efficiency. The bottom line: when the energy sector is competitive, manufacturers are competitive. And that’s certainly what we are experiencing today.

Manufacturers appreciate the Trump administration’s focus on energy and look forward to a great week.

 

Competing for Energy Efficiency in the Manufacturing Industry

By | Energy, General, Shopfloor Main | No Comments

The U.S. industrial sector has been a longtime heavy energy consumer, accounting for one-third of the energy usage in the country. What’s more, the U.S. industrial sector has an annual energy bill of about $200 billion. While both of these statistics may seem startling, at Saint-Gobain, one of the world’s largest building materials companies and manufacturer of innovative material solutions, we believe these numbers present the opportunity for businesses to step up to the challenge to improve the energy efficiency of their manufacturing plants and facilities.

Already, more than 200 industrial partners representing close to 2,600 facilities in all 50 states have committed to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Plants Program to improve energy savings by 20 percent or more over the next 10 years. Our new president and CEO, Tom Kinisky, recently signed Saint-Gobain’s renewed pledge, allowing our company to further its energy-savings goals, increase the sustainability of our operations and reduce the overall carbon footprint of our manufacturing facilities.

Image by Saint-Gobain

While these pledges are nice to have, what’s most important is to consider the on-the-ground initiatives companies need to implement to help these goals become a reality. At Saint-Gobain, we believe a sense of competition among manufacturing plants and colleagues truly helps to move these goals forward. In 2016, our company’s Environmental, Health and Safety Department established the company’s Water, Waste and Energy (WWE) Program, which was recently recognized with a U.S. Department of Energy Better Practice Award. This program encourages more than 130 Saint-Gobain manufacturing sites to compete against each other to see which facility can best reduce its environmental impact by highlighting practical and effective solutions for increasing the sustainability of sites. At the end of the program, five sites are recognized with 20-pound championship-style belts and given the titles of “Waste Champion,” “Water Champion,” “Energy Champion,” “CO2 Champion” and “Overall Champion” to recognize their commitment to on-the-ground, effective energy-reduction solutions.

Image by Saint-Gobain

Through this program and by competing against their peers, Saint-Gobain manufacturing facilities across the country have been able to achieve substantial energy consumption reduction results. The program’s 2017 Energy Champion, Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics in Bristol, Rhode Island, took a systems approach to energy management resulting in a 45 percent energy intensity reduction over the past two years. The 2016 and 2017 CO2 Champion, CertainTeed Roofing in Oxford, North Carolina, invigorated its commitment to reducing energy and carbon dioxide emissions by forming a special committee of 24 members focused on working directly to reduce the site’s emissions. Through the efforts to upgrade heating elements on three of its main production lines, the plant was able to achieve a substantial reduction in natural gas usage. In addition, this year’s Water Champion, Saint-Gobain Quartz in Riverport, Kentucky, implemented the use of a cooling tower to achieve water savings and sealed a well that had been in use for years. The well water withdrawal was reduced from 131 million gallons in 2012 to zero gallons in 2015 and 2016.

Based on these percentages and statistics, it is clear that a sense of competition helps to spur outside-the-box thinking and improvements that are able to result in an overall positive impact for the company and its facilities as well as the planet. Let’s use this learning to encourage our employees and colleagues to compete for the greater good of the planet.

More Relief for Manufacturers: EPA Grants Flexibility on Ozone Regulations

By | Energy, Environment, Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

This afternoon, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) informed governors that the agency will grant states an additional year for initial compliance designations under the 2015 ozone standard. This is welcome regulatory relief for manufacturers, who are working hard to comply with the 2008 and 2015 ozone standards but run the risk of falling into no-grow zonesif their states do not reach the 2015 levels quickly enough.

The 2015 ozone regulation could be one of the most expensive regulations ever issued by the U.S. government. The 2008 standard of 75 parts per billion (ppb)—the most stringent standard ever—was never even fully implemented, while emissions are as low as they have been in decades and air quality continues to improve. The EPA itself admitted that implementation of the previous standard of 75 ppb, when combined with the dozens of other regulations on the books that will reduce ozone precursor emissions from stationary and mobile sources, will drive ozone reductions below 75 ppb (and close to 70 ppb, the current standard set in 2015) by 2025.

Throughout the 2015 ozone rulemaking, hundreds of governors, mayors, local development officials, manufacturers and other leaders warned the EPA that they could not comply with a tighter standard under the strict timelines the EPA requires. Air quality officials from cities and states across the country have testified before Congress that they may run out of controls before they even reach the levels mandated by the EPA. Manufacturers appreciate that the EPA is acknowledging this very real problem.

The EPA also announced it would continue to look into three issues the NAM raised in its comments on the 2015 rule and in subsequent requests to the agency: (1) how the EPA calculates background ozone; (2) the impact of emissions from outside the United States on local ozone levels; and (3) timely consideration of exceptional events designations. Fixing these issues will go a long way toward more flexibility for manufacturers as they continue to reduce their emissions.

Keystone XL Is Back—Here’s What You Need to Know

By | Energy, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

This Wednesday, the town of York, Nebraska (pop. 7,957) will play host to a public hearing on the Keystone XL pipeline where anyone with an opinion on the project can provide three to five minutes of public comment. That’s right…the most hotly debated energy project of the past decade is officially back. Here are the answers to your burning questions.

Didn’t President Donald Trump already greenlight this project?

Yes, but TransCanada still needs Nebraska to approve the portion of the route going through the state.

On January 24, 2017, President Trump issued an executive memorandum inviting TransCanada to resubmit its application for a presidential permit to construct and operate Keystone XL, directing the secretary of state to make a decision on the presidential permit within 60 days and directing the departments of the Army and the Interior to take all steps to review and approve any outstanding requests for approvals under their jurisdiction pertaining to Keystone XL. The State Department issued the presidential permit for Keystone XL on March 24, 2017.

That’s not the end of the road from a permitting standpoint. TransCanada filed an application with the Nebraska Public Service Commission in October 2015 after its previous Nebraska route approval became embroiled in a lawsuit challenging the underlying state law. Nebraska had not finished its route review when President Barack Obama rejected a federal permit for Keystone XL a month later. Now that President Trump has reversed course, Nebraska is the only state left that needs to approve the route. TransCanada refiled its application with Nebraska on February 17, 2017. Wednesday’s hearing is on this latest application.

Can I get involved if I’m not in Nebraska?

Yes. The Nebraska Public Service Commission is taking comments on its website here.

What does the NAM think?

We support Keystone XL and believe it should be approved as quickly as possible. We have long called for completion of this project and applauded President Trump’s actions to revive it in January. Pipelines are an efficient, safe way to transport energy, and every governmental entity that has looked at Keystone XL (federal and state) has concluded that it can be constructed and operated in harmony with the environment around it.

The energy landscape is changing for the better. We are using our resources in a cleaner and more efficient way, and we are becoming more energy independent as we develop a wide range of fuels and technologies right here on American soil. Manufacturers are parlaying this energy abundance into new and expanded facilities across the country. It’s an exciting time.

Pipeline infrastructure like Keystone XL is a much-needed conduit between domestically produced energy and the consumers who depend on it. Manufacturers benefit not only from the energy transported through the pipeline but also from the construction of it: between 32 and 37 percent of the cost of constructing a pipeline is directly for manufacturing inputs. The major types of manufactured goods used include equipment, line pipe, fittings, coatings and booster stations, including pumps. A recent NAM study found that at least 66 different manufacturing subsectors (out of 86 total) benefited from the construction of crude oil pipelines by $10 million or more in 2015. These include iron and steel, fabricated metals, cement, machinery and paints and coatings.

So what happens next for Keystone XL?

You can see a timeline for the Nebraska permit here. Over the next few months, there will be rolling public hearings along the pipeline route. Then there will be five glorious days of public hearings from August 7 to 11 in Lincoln, Nebraska. The commission expects to issue a final order by September 14.

Department of Energy Approves Golden Pass LNG Project

By | Energy, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

The Department of Energy (DOE) today issued a license to Golden Pass LNG to construct and operate a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal in Sabine Pass, Texas, on a site adjacent to the company’s existing LNG import terminal. The DOE authorized Golden Pass to export up to 2.21 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d) of natural gas to any country not covered by a free trade agreement and not otherwise prohibited by U.S. law or policy. A copy of the DOE’s order can be found here, and background on the Golden Pass project can be found here. Read More

Energy Revolution Powers Exxon Job Announcement

By | Energy, Presidents Blog, Shopfloor Main | No Comments

Great news out of Houston today. Exxon Mobil Corporation announced it will be investing in manufacturing jobs in Texas and Louisiana—to the tune of $20 billion over 10 years. This announcement is important because it demonstrates the connection between domestic energy production and manufacturing. These investments will lead to the creation of thousands of high-paying manufacturing jobs, and it’s all made possible thanks to the domestic energy revolution.

Manufacturers depend on affordable, accessible energy to power their operations and as a raw material. Without the expanded domestic energy production of recent years, an announcement like today’s wouldn’t be possible. Across the United States, manufacturers are being empowered to expand and grow because of access to affordable energy, and America’s energy industry is boosting manufacturing jobs in the United States.

Since 2011, the National Association of Manufacturers has released a series of economic reports all showing that if the United States develops its vast energy resources, manufacturing will grow. Today’s announcement is a sign of what’s possible and a reminder that the future is bright if we continue to invest in energy development and infrastructure in the United States.

Read more about Exxon’s exciting announcement here.

Energy-Efficiency Bill Introduced in House and Senate to Promote Public–Private Partnerships

By | Energy, Environment, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

Yesterday, Sens. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Chris Coons (D-DE) as lead sponsors, Rob Portman (R-OH) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) as original cosponsors and Reps. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and Peter Welch (D-VT) introduced the PublicPrivate Partnership Act of 2017, a bill that would encourage the increased use of energy-efficiency tools, services and products in federal facilities. Improving the energy efficiency of federal facilities is a win-win-win. It’s a win for manufacturers who make and supply the equipment; a win for taxpayers who will see their government spend less money on energy bills and directed more toward other public uses; and a win for environmental protection, as greater energy-efficiency deployment often equates to a smaller environmental footprint for buildings and other facilities. Read More