Tag

Energy Archives - Shopfloor

Energy: A Key Component of a Comprehensive Infrastructure Package

By | Infrastructure, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

The American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) most recent report card gave our nation’s energy infrastructure a D+ grade, pointing out that most U.S. energy infrastructure predates the 21st Century. ASCE says aging electricity infrastructure contributed to 3,571 total outages in 2015, and oil refineries have been operating at around 90 percent capacity. The future presents even bigger challenges: a changing electric grid, new technologies and new sources of energy, and changes to where and how energy is being produced will all require improved infrastructure, and it’s not clear that we can keep up. ASCE projects the investment gap for energy infrastructure to be $177 billion from 2016 to 2025.

The NAM’s Building to Win blueprint ‎puts forward several recommendations to improve our energy infrastructure. Recommended actions include:

  • Reform existing laws and regulations to facilitate a more transparent, streamlined and coordinated regulatory process for the siting and permitting of all energy delivery infrastructure, including oil and natural gas pipelines, energy transport by rail, energy export terminals and interstate electric transmission infrastructure.
  • Promote new energy infrastructure investments as a means of increasing U.S. infrastructure’s resilience to climate change by designing for projected future climate conditions. Regulators should work to more quickly approve smart investments.
  • Examine innovative financing mechanisms for new energy infrastructure to encourage private investment.
  • Coordinate underground infrastructure work for road, water, gas, electric and broadband to yield construction savings and reduce traffic disruptions from construction work.
  • Invest in regions without a developed pipeline network to bring down home heating costs in places like New England and make manufacturers more competitive.

‎The NAM has been encouraged that lawmakers are focusing on energy as a key component of a broader infrastructure package. We’ll be at the table working to drive solutions that make manufacturers more competitive.

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

New Study: Manufacturers Face 297,696 Regulatory Restrictions

By | Communications, Media Relations, Regulations, Shopfloor Main | No Comments

As the incoming Trump administration prepares to reform and roll back many misguided federal regulations, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has released a new study revealing the sheer number of business and operational hurdles that manufacturers face on a daily basis as a result of the nation’s current regulatory structure. 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

National Association of Manufacturers Sponsors Bipartisan “Build to Win” Event in Ohio

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

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and its affiliate, the Ohio Manufacturers Association, partnered with the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber on Tuesday to host a panel discussion on infrastructure development and investment.

Expanding infrastructure is “great for the economy, great for the workers, middle-class jobs that are secure with benefits and pensions and good retirements, so it’s all good,” Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) told WKBN News during the “Fueling America’s Future: Accelerating Energy and Transportation Infrastructure” event.

The bipartisan discussion included Rep. Ryan, a Democrat from Ohio’s 13th District, and Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH), a Republican who represents Ohio’s 6th District. They were joined by Rocco DiGennaro Jr., president of the Western Reserve Building Trades; David Ledonne, vice president for operations in the Utica Shale and Appalachia for MarkWest/MPLX; and moderator Ryan Augsburger, managing director of public policy for the Ohio Manufacturblogpic1ers’ Association.

“We know based on what we hear from our members that the support for transportation and energy infrastructure comes from all corners of the state,” Augsburger said in kicking off the event for about 100 members of the business and civic community who attended. “It crosses party lines, as you’ll see here today with the congressmen, and it transcends just about every demographic group you can imagine.”

The panel members answered questions from the audience about critical pieces of infrastructure, such as pipelines, roads, bridges, power plants and how investment in them can help bring manufacturing back to Ohio. The speakers conveyed a sense of optimism over plans for development.

DiGennaro explained how 500 of his union members would be working on a natural gasfired power plant next year and how eager his members are to work on ethane cracker plants as well. Ledonne provided the audience with an overview of how oil and gas development leads to expanded manufacturing as he provided an update on the significant investment Markwest/MPLX has made in the state.

The panelists drove home the point of how critical it is to invest in energy and transportation infrastructure. Rep. Ryan summed up the discussion best during a question-and-answer session:

Read More

Let’s Work Smarter, Harder and Together to Protect the Environment

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

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is releasing in-depth Competing to Win policy papers to equip Congress and the Trump administration with blueprints for delivering on manufacturers’ priorities. Today’s release is the seventh in the series and focuses on the environment. For more on the NAM’s 12 Days of Transition, follow @ShopfloorNAM.

Voters asked for change in 2016, and they are going to get it. Environmental policy is no exception, as the president-elect and congressional leaders have pledged to shift course on many of the regulations put in place by the outgoing administration. We’re going to have to wait until January 20 to see how they will do it, but I think it’s safe to say the Clean Power Plan, the Waters of the U.S. regulation and many of the Environmental Protection Agencys most hotly-contested policies are due for a revamp.

One of the most frequent questions I am getting from manufacturers and their employees is what the scope of these regulatory rollbacks will be and what they will mean for overall environmental protection and manufacturers’ strong commitment to sustainability. We’ve made no secret of our distaste for the growing regulatory burden on manufacturers; the average manufacturer spends $10,497 per employee just to comply with environmental regulations, and small manufacturers spend double that amount. But we also want to improve the environment, economic performance and the social well-being of the employees, communities, customers and consumers we serve. We just want to do it in a way that fosters innovations instead of the overly prescriptive regulations that have created roadblocks and uncertainty in recent years. Regulation done wrong actually harms how rapidly we can achieve our environmental goals.

The NAM is excited to share with President-elect Donald Trump and congressional leaders Competing to Win: Sustainability and the Environment, the NAM’s aggressive plan of action to improve the environment for all.

This is, perhaps, a different paper than you might have been expecting from us. We haven’t always seen eye-to-eye with the Obama administration on how best to confront climate change, protect air and water, limit waste, conserve resources and protect biodiversity. But let me be abundantly clear: manufacturers are absolutely committed to confronting climate issues, protecting air and water, limiting waste, conserving resources and protecting biodiversity. We’ve been doing it for decades and getting results. It’s in our DNA. And we want the federal government to work with us, not against us, to drive a more sustainable future for the United States and the world.

  • This plan sets forth concrete steps manufacturers hope our leaders will take to foster new technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address global climate change, so manufacturers can be the solution here and around the world.
  • Our plan sets forth recommendations to strengthen stewardship of water resources and foster local, state and federal cooperation.
  • Finally, our plan sets forth proposals to create more balanced, effective regulations and modernize outdated environmental laws to better address 21st-century environmental challenges.

Now is the time to think big, and that’s what we’re doing—as part of our ongoing effort to be the solution. The election did not make our environmental challenges disappear, and we’re not about to pretend that it did. Manufacturers have embraced sustainability because it’s good business and it’s the right thing to do. We’re confident our leaders in Washington will agree.

To view the blueprint, click here.

This blog is part of the NAM’s 12 Days of Transition series, an effort to provide the presidential transition team and other Washington policymakers with a roadmap to bolster manufacturing in the United States. Read the other blogs in the series here.