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Global Warming

NAM Board Member Named Co-Chair of Pennsylvania Manufacturing Council

By | Global Warming | One Comment

Yesterday NAM Board Member and Kennametal President and CEO Carlos Cardoso was appointed co-chair by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R-PA) of a new public-private council to help identify and prioritize the top issues to help keep manufacturing competitive in Pennsylvania.

From Gov. Corbett’s press release:

“Manufacturing adds more than $75 billion in value each year to our state’s economy, and it is paramount that we do all that we can to preserve and support that sector of our economy,” Gov. Corbett said. “The council will research issues and make recommendations that will further strengthen that industry and ultimately allow manufacturers to add jobs for Pennsylvanians.”

According the release the council will focus on taxes, the regulatory climate in Pennsylvania, talent and innovation, international markets, energy costs, efficiency, and research and development. The council will hold several meetings beginning in January and then issue a report to the governor and General Assembly including policy suggestions and a strategy for manufacturing in Pennsylvania to remain competitive.

Just today the third quarter GDP was revised down to only 2 percent growth. Manufacturers are in need of pro-growth policies which will enable them to compete against growing global competition. The National Association of Manufacturers has laid out a blueprint of policies to keep manufacturing in the U.S. competitive titled A Manufacturing Renaissance: Four Goals for Economic Growth.

EPA Delays Overreaching and Costly Rule on Greenhouse Gas Emissions

By | Energy, Global Warming, Regulations | No Comments

Less than a month after the EPA announced a stay on the excessive and burdensome Boiler MACT rule, the EPA confirmed though a spokesman that there will be another delay on a proposed rule placing restrictions on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from power plants.

Coverage of the delay:

Manufacturers are pleased to see that various rules containing unrealistic regulations are being delayed and that industry voices are receiving more attention. The announcement of the Boiler MACT stay and the delay of the draft power plant rules show that the EPA is listening to the concerns of job creators on the impact of the regulations they seek to implement.

Although the EPA announced that the final rule is still on schedule to be published in May of 2012, this delay signals a step in the right direction. Rushed and unattainable proposals are unacceptable to the business community and the American people. Additionally, they are counterintuitive to job creation and economic growth.

Interior’s Solution to Oil and Gas Development is to Drill Less

By | Energy, Global Warming | No Comments

Today, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources held a hearing with regards to the Outer Continental Shelf and domestic oil and gas production.  Secretary Ken Salazar testified before the Committee on a framework for “efficient and responsible” drilling.  Unfortunately, Secretary Salazar, much in line with the Administration’s misguided policies, promoted those principles that will ultimately raise the price of energy for manufacturers and consumers alike. 

Those pillars that were endorsed by Secretary Salazar include, but are not limited to:  (1) amending the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920 in order to reduce the time for oil and gas leases; (2) extending the time that the Department of Interior has for reviewing exploration plans submitted by companies; and (3) imposing fees on companies with non-producing oil and gas leases.  

The Interior is pushing for policies that are ultimately counterproductive and will not solve the current predicament of high energy, with little relief in sight.  The policies that the Interior highlighted as their “wish list” show that the Administration is out of touch with the American consumer and the needs of the manufacturing community, who consume a third of our nations’ energy. 

The Administration needs to refocus its priorities to ensure that more companies are given the opportunity to return to the Gulf of Mexico in order to explore and drill for oil and gas.  Furthermore, the Interior needs to streamline its permitting process and provide companies holding leases the time they need to safely and effectively explore and develop much needed domestic energy. 

 Finally, those companies that are not able to produce oil and gas at a given time should not be penalized, as they spend a millions of dollars exploring and developing in reliance on their leases.  Perhaps the Administration needs to look at opening those areas that are currently under a moratorium in order to ensure that companies are exploring and developing those areas with the most potential to contain oil and gas, providing more domestic energy while creating a climate for economic growth and job creation.

These misguided policies must be addressed by the administration and they must reverse course and put in place common-sense policies so energy producers can get back to work, producing domestic energy and reducing our dependence on foreign oil. This will spur job creation and continued economic growth; two critical factors that will help this country recover from the economic recession we have been battling.

Mahta Mahdavi is director of energy and resources policy, National Association of Manufacturers

Skeptical. Supreme Court was Skeptical on Greenhouse Gas Suit

By | Briefly Legal, Energy, Global Warming, Regulations | No Comments

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday in American Electric Power v. Connecticut, the appeal from the Second Circuit’s far-fetched ruling that states can sue electric utilities as a public nuisance for contributing to global warming through greenhouse gas emissions. It appears the court was … skeptical.

Well, of course the court was skeptical. “Aghast” or “driven to distraction” would have been beyond the norms of judicial temperament.

But the arguments the justices heard Tuesday in support of Second Circuit’s ruling were enough to warrant strong sentiments. The appellate court ruled that it was OK for states to sue the five electric utilities for creating a public nuisance under federal common law because of their power plants emit carbon dioxide. You know what else produces carbon dioxide? Power plants, and factories, and animals and people all over the world, and the Second Circuit believe it was OK for the U.S. judicial system to be arbiter of the science, politics, regulation and wealth distribution potentially involved with that reality.

Quentin Riegel, the NAM’s vice president for litigation, previewed the case in an interview on CBS Radio. As he explained: “If the courts get involved in the business of setting national energy policy, then virtually any business could face a lawsuit. Courts are not the right place to be coming up with those policies. That’s the role of the legislative and executive branches.”

For more, see the Scotusblog report, the National Association of Manufacturers Manufacturing Law Center case summary and the NAM’s amicus brief.

EPA Study Shows Greenhouse Gas Emissions Decreased in 2009

By | Energy, Global Warming, Regulations | No Comments

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to plow ahead with its aggressive crusade against greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) even though the agency itself just published a report showing a 6.1 percent decrease in overall emissions from the previous year. Furthermore, the report states that in 2009, manufacturers generated just 4 percent of total U.S. GHG emissions.

 This startling data puts the EPA’s regulation of GHG emissions in perspective. As we try to rebuild our struggling economy, it makes little sense to pile on new and burdensome regulations for emissions that have reached a 15-year low. Manufacturers are already scaling back on plans to build new facilities because of GHG regulations and a host of other proposed and final rules that directly impact their businesses. This study is further proof that the costs of the EPA’s regulatory onslaught far outweigh any environmental benefit.

Will the Courts Set Economic Policy? AEP v. Connecticut Preview

By | Briefly Legal, Energy, Global Warming, Regulations | No Comments

The U.S. Supreme Court this morning hears oral arguments in American Electric Power v. Connecticut, an appeal from the Second Circuit ruling that held five utilities could be sued for creating a public nuisance under federal common law because they had emitted greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. Boiled down, the issue is: Should the courts have the ability to raise your electric rates. (This paragraph updated at 1:50 p.m. to more accurately characterize Appellate Court’s ruling.)

From the Scotusblog, “Argument preview: The courts and global warming”:

The Supreme Court will hold eighty minutes of oral argument at 10 a.m. Tuesday on a major challenge to the use of the judiciary to impose controls on “greenhouse gas” emissions that may contribute to climate change, such as global warming.  In American Electric Power Co., et al., v. Connecticut, et al. (10-174), the argument for the electric utilities facing “public nuisance” lawsuits will be made by Peter D. Keisler of the Washington, D.C., office of Sidley Austin.  Arguing for the federal government in support of the utilities will be Acting U.S. Solicitor General Neal K. Katyal, and for a group of states will be New York’s state Solicitor General, Barbara D. Underwood.  The time for argument has been expanded from the usual 60 minutes to 80; the utilities and the government will have 20 minutes each, and the states 40.

Key Case Could Put Courts in Charge of Environmental Policy

By | Briefly Legal, Economy, Global Warming, Regulations | One Comment

The only thing worse than the Executive Branch replacing Congress in the setting of federal economic, environmental and energy policy would be the federal courts assuming that role. A case before the U.S. Supreme Court will determine whether the judiciary gains that authority.

The Supreme Court hears oral arguments Tuesday, April 19, in American Electric Power Company Inc. v. Connecticut, et al., the suit by several states and environmental groups against five electric utilities for creating a public nuisance by contributing to global warming. (Docket, questions presented)

If the Supreme Court upholds the Second Circuit Court of Appeal’s ruling against the utilities – which included the court setting emission limits as a remedy – the judicial branch will reaffirm its role as a super-legislature, determining political questions that Congress chooses not to address, and activist state attorneys general will be elevated yet again in the U.S. system of government. Speculative shakedown suits like Kivalina v. ExxonMobil would multiply, and energy costs would skyrocket.

The suit began with ueber-activist Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, now U.S. Senator, and included state governments of California, Connecticut, Iowa, Rhode Island and Vermont, as well as New York City.  Named in the lawsuit are American Electric Power Co., Cinergy Corp., Southern Co., the Tennessee Valley Authority and Xcel Energy Inc. New Jersey and Wisconsin have dropped out of the lawsuit since the dispute started in 2004. Three land trusts, the Audubon Society of New Hampshire, Open Space Institute and Open Space Conservancy, also are suing the utilities. Justice Sonia Sotomayor is recused because she heard the case at the appellate level. The Scotusblog entry has the rulings and briefs. Read More

Manufacturing Prominent in House Debate on EPA Overreach

By | Energy, General, Global Warming, Regulations | No Comments

The National Association of Manufacturers was cited several times in the House floor debate Thursday on H.R. 910, to prevent the EPA’s regulation of greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act.

Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), Congressional Record, Page H2370:

Mr. SCALISE. Madam Chair, we are here today because the EPA has continued to push this effort to pass a national energy tax. It was tried through cap-and-trade over the last year and a half. That bill went through the legislative process and was defeated in a bipartisan way. This is not a Republican or a Democrat issue when we’re talking about preventing the EPA from running millions of jobs out of our country, and that is literally what’s at stake here.

Believe me, as people look through the letters of support and as we comb through the days of testimony that we’ve had on this over the last 2 years with regard to this concept of the EPA’s regulating greenhouse gases, Madam Chair, we are talking about a proposal by the EPA that, according to the National Association of Manufacturers, would run 3 million jobs out of our country.

Now, we should all be here working feverishly to create jobs. In fact, our legislation, the National Energy Tax Prevention Act, will create jobs because it will remove the uncertainty that exists today where so many employers, so many of our job creators, are scared to death of the threat now of regulation coming over; because, again, Congress rejected their proposal for the national energy tax through cap-and-trade in a bipartisan way.

The analysis Rep. Scalise is referring to is, we presume, the earlier NAM-ACCF analysis of the Waxman-Markey bill. EPA regulation of greenhouse gases could have even greater economic consequences than that cap-and-trade legislation, which as negotiated legislation included many exemptions, subsidies, delays and deals intended to minimize the harm and job loss. EPA regulation can evade the same policy and political compromises, exacerbating the uncertainty that Rep. Scalise is right to emphasize.

Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), chief sponsor of H.R. 910, also inserted an NAM-cosigned letter into the record (page H2372): Read More

From Ohio, a Manufacturer Objects to EPA’s Overreach

By | Energy, General, Global Warming, Regulations | One Comment

The Akron Beacon-Journal this week published an op-ed by Ward J. Timken Jr., chairman of the board of directors of The Timken Co., “EPA regulations weigh down the economy“.

The Timken Co. is a leading global manufacturer of highly engineered bearings, alloy steels, and related components and assemblies. Ward Timken Jr. is a member of the National Association of Manufacturers’ executive committee. He wrote:

Timken has a U.S.-favorable trade balance, with jobs in Ohio and throughout the U.S. supporting growing demand around the world. It requires us to keep costs down and drive efficiency to optimal levels.

In our Canton, Ohio, steel plants, we are continuously reducing our energy consumption and carbon intensity using highly efficient electric-arc-furnace technology and the most advanced manufacturing methods. We often collaborate with government to develop energy-saving technologies and balanced policies across party lines.

Understanding that the aims of economic and environmental progress are not mutually exclusive, I encourage you to join me to make our voices heard. Please contact our representatives in Congress and ask them to preserve jobs and the democratic process by putting a stop to the EPA’s regulatory overreach.

This week’s legislative activities in Congress to achieve that goal — stopping the EPA’s regulatory overreach — produced a mixed result. The House on Thursday voted 255-172 to pass H.R. 910, to block the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.

The same legislation in the form of the McConnell Amendment failed Wednesday in the Senate on a 50-50 vote. However, in votes on four amendments, a majority of Senators expressed opposition in one form or another to the EPA’s current plans. As Politico summarized: “All of them failed, but 17 Democrats broke with their party and president to support measures that rein in the greenhouse gas regulations on varying levels….In all, 64 senators voted to block or delay the climate regulations, which Senate Republicans were more than happy to note.”

The NAM is certainly going to continue the fight against the EPA’s attempt to take over the making of environmental, energy and economic policy. See our website: www.NoNewRegs.org.