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Energy

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

Trump EPA Should Take Hard Look at New Mining Financial Assurance Rule

By | Energy, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

Eliminating wasteful and unnecessary regulations has been a cornerstone of President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign and transition to the White House. Manufacturers are encouraged by the prospect of a more balanced regulatory approach that streamlines requirements and removes duplicative policies that do not enhance public safety or environmental protection. Read More

Experts Say Energy Innovation Strengthens Manufacturing

By | Economy, Energy, Infrastructure, Shopfloor Economics, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

A recent study released by the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) examined how new technology has impacted the surge of natural gas production in the United States and made U.S. manufacturing more competitive in the global marketplace. It’s great news that abundant energy resources are energizing American manufacturing. But if we don’t modernize our energy infrastructure to fully connect these resources to manufacturers, we will fall short of our full economic potential.

Read More

Manufacturers Hopeful Pruitt Will Bring Balanced Environmental Approach

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

Manufacturers have routinely found themselves at odds with the outgoing Obama administrationeven in these last few daysbecause it continues to hammer us with regulations that lack critical balance. Just in the past two weeks, the administration seems determined to push the limits of the presidents regulatory power: a massive stream buffer regulation that effectively bans coal‎ mining, followed by a legally tenuous decision to indefinitely ban offshore oil and gas leasing in Alaska and the Atlantic and lastly a chemical storage regulation that imposes major costs but would not actually solve the problem (a Texas fertilizer plant explosion) it was designed to prevent. When these are layered on top of massive, billion-dollar regulations like the Clean Power Plan, Waters of the United States, ozone, PM 2.5, Boiler MACT and Utility MACT, the picture comes clearly into focus: the Obama administration is capping eight solid years of overregulation with a final backbreaking few weeks of the worst of the worst.

‎Throughout, manufacturers have been confronted with regulations where costs greatly exceeded their benefits, a government picking winners and losers in terms of energy sources, caused mass closings of power plants in the Rust Belt and across the southern United States and forced manufacturers to divert capital to environmental compliance that should have been used instead to innovate and create new products.

Well, we are now hopeful this is about to change.

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) recently cheered the announcement of Oklahoma Attorney General (AG) Scott Pruitt for administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons said AG Pruitt’s nomination made him “hopeful the next administration will strike the right balance between environmental stewardship and economic growth.”‎

Our Competing to Win white papers for environment and energy lay out a bold agenda for the new EPA administrator and call on that person to issue policies that protect health, safety and jobs. We call for regulations—on air, water, waste and chemicals and even greenhouse gases—but we want them to be done better and in a more balanced way. ‎

We are confident AG Pruitt will bring balance to the EPA regulatory agenda. Manufacturers have stood side-by-side with AG Pruitt as we challenged the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, Waters of the United States regulation and 2015 ozone standard. In all three cases, manufacturers asked for regulations we could live with—and when we didn’t get them, we were forced to sue. AG Pruitt did the same for the citizens of Oklahoma.

We encourage the Senate to move swiftly in confirming his nomination so this important agenda can begin on day one.

The environment has improved dramatically over the past 40 years. And we believe the EPA plays an important role in preserving the environment by supporting clear, smart regulations that encourage responsible use of our natural resources while keeping energy prices low—not at the cost of the economy, like we have seen over the past eight years.

It’s a winwin for manufacturers and the communities they support. We look forward to working with AG Pruitt on day one to achieve this.

 

Manufacturers Look to New Administration for Relief from Latest EPA Midnight Regulation

By | Energy, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

On December  21, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its final update to the Risk Management Program, a regulation that deals with on-site storage of chemicals at manufacturing facilities. Manufacturers support measures that ensure chemicals are stored safely. However, todays update would add burdensome and often duplicative requirements on manufacturers, including new compliance hurdles that will disproportionately hurt small rural businesses, while doing little, if anything, to improve safety.  Read More

Administration’s Attempt to Block Access to Offshore Energy Is “Out of Touch”

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

In what many are describing as a purely political move, the outgoing administration announced a last-minute attempt to block much of America’s access to offshore energy resources. Our nation’s energy policy took a step back today, but manufacturers are ready to take two steps forward with a fresh start in the new year.

Fortunately, this move to increase energy costs for manufacturers and families across our country can be reversed. As the innovators, inventors, entrepreneurs and disruptors who are improving lives and transforming the world, manufacturers look forward to working with the next president to fix this misguided move and open opportunity for future generations. Read More

Finalized Mining Rule Puts Politics Over Smart Environmental Protection

By | Energy, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

As the clock strikes midnight on the outgoing administration, the race is on to finalize unfinished regulations. Unfortunately, that often means politics wins out over commonsense and real solutions.

Today was no exception; politics beat smart environmental protection and strategic energy policy when the Department of Interior announced it would finalize a controversial rule before consensus could be reached. Pushing out a half-baked rule is a recipe for congressional action to strike it down. And when Congress is forced to roll regulations back, the next administration loses the chance to craft a more targeted rule. Today’s actions close the door on compromise and critical administrative fixes. Read More