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Shopfloor Policy

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Declined 3 Percent Last Year. It’s a Sign Manufacturers Are Keeping Their Promise.

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

In 2017, manufacturers advocated—and our leaders in Washington delivered—much-needed regulatory relief. Despite what the critics said, we promised that strong economic growth and responsible environmental stewardship can go hand in hand.

There’s no doubt 2017 was a banner year for economic growth and job creation. But now we have proof that it was a good year for environmental stewardship as well: greenhouse gas emissions in the United States declined nearly 3 percent.

The Hill reports the findings from the EPA:

“Harmful greenhouses gases that largely contribute to climate change decreased during President Trump’s first year in office, according to a new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report released Wednesday.”

This is great news for the country. Of course, manufacturers have a track record of improving our efficiency and sustainability while growing the economy. Over the past decade, manufacturers have decreased our greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent while increasing our share of the economy by 19 percent.

Going forward, we will continue to prove the naysayers wrong. We will keep our promise to hire more workers, invest here in America and increase wages and benefits—all while building a future with cleaner air, cleaner water and a healthier environment.

The BRICK Act Moves Forward, and Manufacturers Gain Regulatory Certainty

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

Today, the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee held a markup and approved the Blocking Regulatory Interference from Closing Kilns Act of 2018 (S. 2461), a bipartisan bill that would permit a full legal review of national emissions standards for brick, clay products and clay ceramics manufacturing before the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires regulatory compliance. On March 7, the House passed similar legislation (H.R. 1917) that was strongly supported by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM).

The NAM fully supports the ongoing national effort to protect our environment and improve public health through appropriate laws and regulations. However, manufacturers need policies that provide regulatory certainty and ensure a sustainable environment and economy. In September 2015, the EPA issued final National Emissions Standards for Brick, Structural Clay Products and Clay Ceramics Manufacturing, often referred to as Brick MACT. It is estimated that this rule will collectively cost the brick industry, which is made up of predominantly small and medium-sized manufacturers, more than $100 million per year.

When regulations stretch beyond what the law allows, manufacturers and other stakeholders must turn to the courts for relief–a lengthy process that can take months, if not years. Under the Blocking Regulatory Interference from Closing Kilns Act of 2018, if a final rule under this Act is challenged in court, the compliance date extension would be limited to December 26, 2020. However, if the court refutes the EPA’s rule, the legislation requires the agency to issue new regulations within one year. This bill is a commonsense approach, as it ensures that manufacturers will have the certainty that the investments they make are based on laws that the courts have determined are appropriate and legal.

Manufacturers support reasonable environmental policies but need regulatory certainty to make necessary, long-term investments, and they believe both goals can be achieved through S. 2461. With the committee’s approval of the bill today, the measure will now proceed to the Senate for consideration.

NAM Submits Comment to Pension Reform Committee

By | Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) represents the more than 12 million men and women who make things in America. Many of these workers are participants in what are known as multiemployer pension plans, and they are counting on these pension benefits for the safe and secure retirement they’ve earned. Yet, there is a looming crisis that carries potentially dire implications for millions of retirees as well as devastating consequences for thousands of businesses across the country. This is a problem that demands the right solutions, and quickly, and that is exactly why the NAM today submitted recommendations to the special committee in Congress charged with doing so.

Congress established the Joint Select Committee on Solvency of Multiemployer Pension Plans to find a solution to the multiemployer pension crisis. The crisis arose as the Great Recession cratered the holdings of longstanding pension plans and baby boomers began retiring en masse, so multiemployer pensions began having to pay more in benefits out of a decimated investment pool. The backstop that Congress created in 1974 to support retirees and workers in this type of pension crisis, called the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), is instead now teetering on the edge of insolvency itself.  The combined impact of failing multiemployer plans and an insolvent PBGC Multiemployer Program is serious and, in the absence of congressional action to solve the problem today, could soon prove devastating for millions of Americans. That’s especially true for the 10 million participants and their families who rely on more than 1,400 plans in the multiemployer pension system.

This is why the NAM acted today to urge the Joint Select Committee to address the urgent, and worsening, multiemployer pension crisis. As we laid out in our letter, we believe that policymakers have a unique and historic opportunity to put the multiemployer pension system on a path to stability. And, by adhering to a few core principles, such as working expeditiously to address the urgent problems facing the system, crafting a comprehensive multiparty solution and protecting the healthy single-employer system throughout the process, we believe they can.

This is a huge challenge, but the Joint Select Committee and Congress can solve it. A comprehensive, bipartisan solution is within reach. So we urge policymakers to meet the moment with the swift, comprehensive and appropriate action that this crisis demands.

Manufacturers Support Global Movement of Goods by Air

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

Before Open Skies agreements, international commerce was stifled by post–World War II aviation rules that required governments to mandate flight routes between nations. These antiquated rules could not adapt to the aviation needs of a global economy and emerging technologies. In 1992, the United States signed an Open Skies agreement with the Netherlands to provide for unlimited flight between the two nations. Of course, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was, and still is, responsible for ensuring that all airlines—foreign and domestic, passenger and cargo—are safe and airworthy. The bipartisan pursuit of Open Skies agreements created a framework to enable U.S. passenger and cargo airlines to access foreign aviation markets that had previously shut out U.S. air carriers. They also provide manufacturers the ability to access new customers in overseas markets while increasing competition and facilitating global trade.

Manufacturers have been stalwart advocates of these agreements because we export U.S.-made parts and goods across the world and thus depend on air cargo services with the kind of uninterrupted and continuous global reach that only Open Skies agreements can provide. In fact, the Brookings Institution estimates that Open Skies agreements add approximately $4 billion in annual economic gains to consumers. Learn more here.

And so, with the FAA reauthorization process underway and a September 30 authorization deadline looming, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) continues to urge both House and Senate leaders to support current Open Skies agreements because they open markets, promote competition and offer more options for manufacturers to access overseas customers. At the same time, manufacturers urge the Senate to reject proposals that would undermine Open Skies agreements and result in disruptions to the current agreements, jeopardizing manufacturers’ access to international aviation networks. That is why manufacturers stand with the Trump administration’s opposition to the so-called “Flag of Convenience” provision (Section 530) of the House-passed FAA Reauthorization Act (H.R. 4). This provision would create new barriers for foreign carriers to enter U.S. airspace beyond the negotiated standards of our current Open Skies agreements. These new barriers would violate our current agreements and invite retaliatory action against U.S. cargo and passenger air carriers operating across the globe and providing manufacturers access to overseas customers. Learn more here.

Manufacturers need products and parts made in the United States to continue to have the guaranteed delivery to overseas customers that is protected by our current Open Skies agreements, and so we have been active on this issue for some time. In 2015, the NAM underscored to the departments of Commerce, State and Transportation that manufacturers in the United States depend on sales overseas to sustain and grow American operations and U.S.-based employment. And in 2017, the NAM reminded the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee that Open Skies bilateral aviation agreements are one of several important tools that help ensure manufacturers’ access to global markets and critical services that support manufacturers in the United States. Now, with the Senate considering Open Skies agreements as part of the FAA reauthorization legislation, the NAM is again speaking out by urging Congress to reject false, so-called “Flags of Convenience” amendments and protect manufacturers’ access to international aviation networks and overseas customers that only these agreements can provide.

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