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Energy

Senate Ozone Implementation Bill Encouraging Development for Manufacturers

By | Energy, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

Manufacturers were encouraged by today’s introduction by Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) of the Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2016, a bill that would provide some much-needed relief and flexibility to EPA’s 2015 Final Ozone Rule. The Capito-Flake Ozone Implementation Bill is similar to the NAM-supported H.R. 4775 in the House, introduced by Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX). Both bills offer a balanced approach that ensures continued air quality improvements, while giving states and manufacturers the flexibility necessary to limit some of the economic growth restrictions that exist under the current regulation.

Since 1980, ozone levels are down nationwide more than 30 percent—and down nearly 20 percent in just the past decade. With new investments coming online utilizing the best and cleanest technologies available, these trends will continue. Unfortunately, while modern manufacturing has evolved into a sleek, technology-driven industry, and air quality has improved vastly, many of our environmental policies, such as the ozone rule, have failed to keep pace. Read More

Has EPA Gone Too Far on Ozone?

By | Energy, Shopfloor Legal | No Comments

We think so. EPA’s latest round of rulemaking setting a National Ambient Air Quality Standard for ozone lowers the tolerance level from 75 to 70 parts per billion (ppb). Though the change in the numbers is small, it is expected to be very difficult to achieve, and, we argue, not “appropriate” as required by the Clean Air Act.  This is particularly true in areas of the country that are already struggling to comply with the previous levels, and the new rule will subject additional regions to stricter emission controls or permit denials.

Today, in our first major legal brief challenging the rule in court, we detailed why EPA has actually exceeded its statutory authority to reduce the level. A key reason stems from background ozone levels. The new limits will simply be impossible to achieve if ozone naturally occurs at 70 ppb without any cars, trucks, power plants or manufacturers in this country.

EPA said it was prohibited from considering the effect of background levels of ozone when setting its standard.  Unfortunately, background levels fluctuate. Spikes in ozone can occur from natural phenomena like wildfires, lightning storms, and weather conditions that transport ozone and the substances that create it from other countries, including those as far away as China. Even vegetation like pine trees produce gases that react to create ozone. Studies show that lightning can add as much as 25-30 ppb and wildfires can add more than 50 ppb.  One modeling study estimates that Asian emissions contributed 8-15 ppb in certain areas of our country and that nearly half of springtime ozone readings above 70 ppb in the southwestern United States would not have occurred without migration of these pollutants from Asia.

A region fails to comply with the standard if it exceeds the ozone limits for an average of 4 days a year. Shouldn’t there be an exception when there are identifiable spikes from uncontrollable external sources? The law requires that standards be attained, but lowering the standard to this new level makes that much harder if not impossible in some areas. EPA must take appropriate account of the evidence that background ozone concentrations that cannot be controlled can reach levels that will prevent attainment. The Act requires such consideration and failure to do so is arbitrary.

Oil Fee Proposal a Bad Deal for Manufacturers

By | Energy, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

Today, the Obama administration announced the details of a request in its upcoming 2017 budget proposal for a $10 fee on every barrel of oil to fund what the administration describes as “a more sustainable transportation system.” The administration is calling it a fee, but let’s be clear about what this really is: a wealth transfer that will ultimately be paid for by manufacturers at their plants and consumers at the pump.

In today’s global economy, U.S. manufacturers must be assured of an adequate supply of competitively priced oil for industrial and commercial use and for transportation fuels. We are, therefore, very concerned with yet another new policy that increases prices—and particularly a fee of this size, which would increase the price of each barrel of oil by more than 30 percent at today’s prices.‎ The American Petroleum Institute estimates that the president’s fee would cost consumers as much as 25 cents per gallon of gasoline.

Manufacturers support improvements to our nation’s crumbling infrastructure and fought hard to get the $305 billion long-term highway reauthorization successfully signed into law this past December. But the president’s oil fee budget proposal would make manufacturers less competitive.

Energy Bill, TSCA Reform Show Momentum Building for Congressional Solutions on Energy, Environment

By | Energy, Policy Experts, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

This week, the Senate is debating S. 2012, the Energy Policy Modernization Act, on the floor. The bill, introduced by Senate Energy Committee Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and passed by the committee on a decisive 18-4 vote, is expected gain broad support from both sides of the aisle. There is a lot to like in the bill, including a wide range of measures on energy efficiency and improvements to the licensing process for liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports. The debate on S. 2012 comes on the heels of successful passage of legislation to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) by the Senate at the end of 2015. (The House passed a similar TSCA reform bill earlier in the year by a 398-1 vote, and the two bills await a conference.)

For years, Washington earned a well-deserved reputation for gridlock and an inability to solve problems. But these two bills, much like the recent successes on tax, infrastructure and trade, are a sign that the gridlock may be starting to ease. And if that’s the case, there are no shortage of energy and environmental issues that manufacturers would like some real, bipartisan solutions on. We talk about a lot of these in the our “Competing to Win” platform document, unveiled today by NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons as he kicked off this year’s State of Manufacturing Tour. Read More

Manufacturers Concerned with Yet Another Energy-Limiting Regulation

By | Energy, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

Manufacturers are disheartened by yet another regulation that will create additional barriers to accessing critical energy resources. The Bureau of Land Management’s newly proposed rule addressing production of oil and natural gas on federal lands comes at a time when methane emissions are already falling and a suite of other regulations—from ozone, to the Clean Power Plan, to many others—threatens to increase energy costs across the board. Our economy and the companies that make things in it depend on energy—all forms of it—to stay in business, compete globally and add jobs. Manufacturers call on the administration to rethink this rule and instead seek policies that promote a true “all-of-the-above” energy strategy.

Interior Reviews Coal Lease Program Leaving Manufacturers in Dust

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

Friday, the Department of Interior announced it would develop new guidelines for development of coal resources on federal lands. Included in the announcement was a moratorium on new leases of coal on these federal lands until a new environmental impact study is completed. These studies take years, and Secretary Sally Jewell said the moratorium on new leases will be in place until the study is complete.

“Manufacturers need reliable energy sources and a robust energy mix, and this new plan from the president erodes our energy future. As the leading industry in cutting climate-related emissions, we understand and face the challenge, but manufacturers need to remain competitive in today’s global economy. The American energy boom has been beneficial to manufacturers, but this action by the administration will diminish that advantage.” – Ross Eisenberg, vice president of energy and resources policy, National Association of Manufacturers

As users of one-third of the nation’s energy, manufacturers need a robust energy strategy that looks at all forms of energy, conventional and unconventional, to ensure an affordable and reliable supply. A key to our increasing global competitiveness, in addition to continuing growth in productivity, is reliable and affordable energy. Coal still provides nearly 40 percent of our electricity and gives manufacturers an advantage in a local economy. Also concerning in this announcement is the failure to examine the costs to manufacturing and the millions of supply-chain jobs directly and indirectly impacted by such a sweeping action. Read More

Why CES Is the Perfect Place to Talk TSCA Reform

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

CES, produced by NAM member Consumer Technology Association (CTA), is the world’s largest technology and consumer electronics show. This event attracts thousands of participants and debuts the newest in consumer technology like robotics, self-driving cars, drones and personal sensory technologies. This year, included in that roster, is a panel exploring the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) reform.

The NAM’s Rachel Jones participated in this panel, discussing TSCA reform, how it affects state chemicals programs and what this means for industries like manufacturing, consumer electronics, toys and upstream chemicals.

tsca-infographic
During the discussion, Jones highlighted why now is the time for TSCA reform and why this topic is perfect for CES.
Read More

Manufacturers Challenge EPA’s Ozone Regulation in Court

By | Energy, Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action, Shopfloor Legal, Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

Ozone CourtsToday, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) filed a challenge to the EPA’s new ozone standard. In October, the EPA lowered the existing standard to 70ppb, despite high costs and impacts for manufacturers, jobs creators and businesses looking to grow or expand.

NAM Senior Vice President and General Counsel Linda Kelly said the following about the challenge:

“The EPA’s ozone regulation, which could be one of the most expensive in history, is unworkable and overly burdensome for manufacturers and America’s job creators. Manufacturers across the United States need regulations that provide balance and allow us to be globally competitive. Further, our air quality is improving, and ozone levels are down more than 30 percent since 1980, yet the Administration insists on moving forward with tightening an already stringent standard. The MCLA and the NAM will continue to fight this new standard that inflicts undue pain on the companies that build things in America.”

Read More

Obama Denies Keystone XL Pipeline, Choosing Politics Over Policy

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

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 1.31.44 PMLast Friday, President Obama announced his decision to deny TransCanada Corporation its permit to construct the Keystone XL pipeline.

Not only did the President disappoint manufacturers across the country, but he also made a historic mistake. After seven years of waiting for a decision on this permit application, this decision is a clear signal that the United States isn’t open for business for everyone. It also undermines the existing permitting process—one that is supposed to set clear rules of the road for companies to meet to secure approval. The Administration continually raised the bar for approval of Keystone XL, and every time TransCanada met (or exceeded) it, the Administration raised it again. Read More