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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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No-Grow-Zone: Manufacturers Feel the Impact of Costliest Regulation Ever – Part 3

The Growing Trend of Unattainable Regulations

The Clean Air Act has been a successful environmental statute. Air quality has improved across the United States and our economy has continued to grow. Using ozone and ozone precursor emissions as an example, since 1990:

  • Highway vehicle NOX emissions are down 48 percent and VOC emissions are down 30 percent, while an additional 60 million vehicles have been added to U.S. roadways over the same time period.
  •  Manufacturers’ NOX emissions are down 52 percent and our VOC emissions have been reduced by 70 percent, while our value added to the economy has more than doubled.
  • As a country, ozone levels are down nearly 25 percent and our economy has grown by 43 percent. (continue reading…)
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Manufacturers Gain Certainty on Pension Liabilities and Changes in Business Operations

In addition to keeping the federal government funded, the recent omnibus appropriations package (H.R. 83) included an important provision that will give manufacturers more certainty on how changes to business operations can impact their pension plans.

Section 4062e of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) was intended to protect pension plan participants in the event that a company closes a plant or facility and must substantially reduce its workforce. Unfortunately, the best of intentions can sometimes lead to unintended consequences as manufacturers soon faced unnecessary enforcement of Section 4062(e) pension liability payments even if it was not clear that a triggering event had occurred. In some cases, companies that simply transferred workers from a closing plant to another facility were faced with having to pull millions of dollars out of productive business investments in order to unexpectedly increase contributions to their pension plan as a result of 4062(e). (continue reading…)

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Global Manufacturing Economic Update – December 12, 2014

Here are the files for this month’s Global Manufacturing Economic Update:

It has become increasingly clear over the past few weeks that North America stands out as a bright spot in an ever-challenging global economic environment. Real GDP in the United States grew an annualized 4.2 percent in the second and third quarters, and U.S. manufacturers remain mostly optimistic about the next year. Indeed, the U.S. economy is expected to expand by around 3 percent, its fastest rate in a decade. Likewise, Canada and Mexico — our two largest trading partners — have made improvements in their respective economies since earlier this year. Canada has the distinction of having the highest purchasing managers’ index (PMI) of any of our top 10 trading partners, holding steady in November at 55.3. (continue reading…)

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President’s Export Council Aligns with Manufacturers’ Priorities

The President’s Export Council (PEC) met yesterday at the White House to discuss U.S. policies and programs that promote export expansion. In advance of the meeting, the NAM submitted comments to highlight priority trade issues for manufacturers – including Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), ongoing negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP), trade facilitation initiatives, WTO negotiations, export control reform and Ex-Im Bank reauthorization. (continue reading…)

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Board Ignores Input on Ambush Rule

Today, the National Labor Relations Board thumbed its nose at businesses and individuals who expressed serious concerns with their proposed rule to shorten the election period for union representation cases and short-circuited employer rights to ensure a fair election. (continue reading…)

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NAM Supports Passage of H.R. 83, the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act

Today, the National Association of Manufacturers sent a letter to the House of Representatives and Senate expresses support for H.R. 83, the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act. The letter, from NAM Senior Vice President, Policy and Government Relations Aric Newhouse, outlines a number of measures in the legislation that are priorities for the manufacturing sector and will help the economy continue to rebound. (continue reading…)

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Shale Gas Continues to Benefit Manufacturing

A PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report released today found that U.S. natural gas production could bring an annual cost savings of $22.3 billion by 2030 for U.S. manufacturers and up to $34.1 billion by 2040. And in addition will create 930,000 natural gas driven manufacturing jobs by 2030, 1.41 million by 2040. The NAM and American Chemistry Council contributed to PwC’s report.

A similar study released in 2011 had projected one million manufacturing jobs would be created by 2025 due to the uptick in shale gas exploration and recovery, and could mean more than $11 billion in cost savings to manufacturers. With some of those jobs having been created in the last three years since that study, the new projections show that there will be even larger gains in shale gas driven manufacturing jobs, as well as even greater costs savings. (continue reading…)

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No-Grow-Zone: Manufacturers Feel the Impact of Costliest Regulation Ever – Part 2

The Spread of Non-attainment: By the Numbers

If you have been following ozone policies over the last several years, you have no doubt seen some version of the “before” and “after” maps below. In fact, the ozone nonattainment maps have in many ways become the symbol of this issue. In future posts, we will dive deeper into what exactly it means for manufacturers, state and local governments and citizens to be in a nonattainment area. (continue reading…)

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