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Energy

Manufacturers File Brief Supporting Energy Access

By | Energy, Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action, Shopfloor Legal, Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

Yesterday, the Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action (MCLA), the legal arm of the National Association of Manufacturers, along with eight other business and manufacturing trade groups, filed an amicus brief supporting Constitution Pipeline in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. After extensive environmental, safety and economic review, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) had approved the critical energy infrastructure project. However, the state of New York attempted to block the project, undermining the collaborative approval process. Constitution is challenging New York’s denial of its Section 401 water permit for construction of the new natural gas pipeline.

For manufacturers, who use one-third of our nation’s energy, access to abundant and reliable energy sources are essential to our continued growth and ability to compete globally. While states play an important role under the Clean Water Act, they should not be allowed to use their permitting processes, including the issuance of water quality certificates, to unreasonably delay, exact concessions from, or scuttle federally approved projects.

“As some of the largest producers, transporters, and users of natural gas in the country, many of amici’s members are directly affected by the decision under review, which denied a certification necessary for the construction of an important interstate pipeline,” said parties in the brief.  “Further, amici are concerned by the broader impacts of certification denials like this one on the development of much-needed natural gas infrastructure.  Total natural gas demand, driven in particular by manufacturing and power generation, is poised to increase by 40 percent over the next decade, and the U.S. supply is expected to increase by 48 percent over the same period. Further, explosive growth in shale gas requires the construction of new pipeline capacity.  Amici thus have a strong interest in the effectuation of Congress’s policy for the efficient, transparent, and predictable approval of natural gas pipelines.”

Earlier this year, the NAM released a new comprehensive study that reveals how natural gas has strengthened manufacturing and encouraged U.S. manufacturing growth and employment. This study underscores the need for critical energy infrastructure.

“Over the next decade our nation’s demand for natural gas is only going to grow, and much of that growth is from manufacturing,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “Our study unequivocally shows that if our growing demand is not taken seriously by policy makers, we will have a serious lack of infrastructure that will jeopardize our growth. Natural gas is responsible for millions of jobs, tens of thousands in manufacturing alone. We can’t afford to let misguided policies rob us of this valuable domestic resource.”

The MCLA serves as the leading voice of manufacturers in the courts, representing the more than 12 million men and women who make things in the United States. The MCLA strategically engages in litigation as a direct party, intervenes in litigation important to manufacturers, and weighs in as amicus curiae on important cases. To learn more about the MCLA, visit our website.

Driving a Global Movement to Zero Waste

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

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This guest blog post is authored by John Bradburn, GM global manager of waste reduction. It is the inaugural blog post in the National Association of Manufacturers’ (NAM) Manufacturing a Sustainable Future blog series. 

It’s an exciting time to be working in the automotive industry. Our chairman and CEO, Mary Barra, believes the industry will change more in the next five years than it has in the last 50. GM is restructuring its portfolio to maximize vehicle efficiencies, electrifying vehicles and providing connectivity solutions that promote sustainability. All of this transformation includes our operations and how we make our products. We are committed to responsible manufacturing that conserves our industry’s vital resources. Read More

Will You Stand with Us to Reform Regulation?

By | Presidents Blog, Shopfloor Main | No Comments

35,000. That’s the cost of federal regulations endured by a small manufacturer with fewer than 50 employees—per year, per employee!

I think we can all agree: this isn’t the way our regulatory system should work. It is time for real reform.

That’s why the National Association of Manufacturers, in partnership with the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, is launching a project called Rethink Red Tape to bring the regulatory issue to life for lawmakers in Washington and provide real momentum for reform.

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Regulations are important, but the constant churn of new and misguided rules leads to regulations that are counterproductive, contradictory and next to impossible to understand. That’s especially hard for small business owners who don’t have the resources to keep pace with new regulations and absorb their higher costs.

Layers of excessive regulations hurt manufacturers’ ability to invest in new innovations, and our entire economy suffers as a result.

To correct this and enable American manufacturers and small businesses to grow and create jobs, regulatory reform has to be a bipartisan priority. Transparency, accountability and honest evaluations of small business costs need to be part of our government’s regulatory calculus. Too often, this is the exception and not the rule.

Through Rethink Red Tape, we’re working to change that, but we need your help to make this work. We need you to stand with us.

Rethink Red Tape will bring personal viewpoints and real-life stories to the conversation to explain the impact regulations have on small firms and the hours and opportunities manufacturers lose because of them.

As our program grows, we’ll identify and advance bipartisan solutions that will change the way regulations are written and give small businesses a stronger voice in the process.

Join us at www.RethinkRedTape.com and on Facebook and Twitter.

Environmental Impact Statement Released for Washington State Export Terminal

By | Energy, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

On Friday, Cowlitz County, Wash., and the Washington Department of Ecology (WDOE) released a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for Millennium Bulk Terminals – Longview, a planned export terminal for coal and other bulk commodities along the Columbia River in Cowlitz County. Today’s EIS was produced by the state and county under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA), which is essentially Washington’s version of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the federal environmental policy statute that requires environmental impact analysis of major federal actions affecting the environment. Disputes over the scope of the EIS for this terminal among Cowlitz County, WDOE and the Army Corps of Engineers has led to the production of dual EIS analyses: one produced by the Army Corps, which analyzes site-specific impacts as is traditional practice, and today’s SEPA analysis, which broadens the scope dramatically to include cumulative, lifecycle impacts not only of the terminal but the commodities being shipped through that terminal. It’s an unusual practice to say the least and has had manufacturers concerned for a long time, given the potential precedent that could be set for all exports of manufactured goods.

We’re just now digging into the hundreds (thousands?) of pages making up the SEPA analysis. One area that immediately gives us concern is how the WDOE and Cowlitz County evaluate the greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint of the facility and the mitigation measures recommended. This is largely uncharted territory from both a legal and policy standpoint, and one that could have a significant impact on similar analyses in Washington and other states. Manufacturers depend heavily on exports, and conditions placed on one exported product could cascade to other products as well. If those conditions get in the way of trade or unduly delay exports, it could also violate U.S. international treaty obligations under World Trade Organization agreements.

A 45-day comment period is now underway for the Millennium Bulk EIS; comments can be submitted here.

Manufacturers Need Flexibility in EPA Risk Management Plan Proposal

By | Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

Chemicals are an essential part of our everyday lives, and manufacturers prudently engage in risk management planning and invest in security as a necessary component of their business operations and to assure customer confidence. Manufacturers are committed to protecting the environment and the health and safety of their workers and communities. We are growing concerned, however, with some of the new requirements in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed revisions to its Risk Management Program, which deals with onsite storage of chemicals at manufacturing facilities.

The new standards will impact manufacturers in numerous sectors, including pulp and paper; refining; chemical manufacturing; wholesalers; iron and steel; pharmaceuticals; fertilizers; coal products; food manufacturing; plastics; cement; and energy producers and utilities. Read More

On Ozone, Hickenlooper Gets It

By | Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

Manufacturers are encouraged by the statements made by Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-CO) regarding the need for relief from the Environmental Protection Agency’s October 2015 ozone standards. The governor made the following statement yesterday:

“So I think it would be a great idea if they suspended the standard. I mean, just with the background [ozone], if you’re not going to be able to conform to a standard like this, you are leaving the risk or the possibility that there will be penalties of one sort or another that come from your lack of compliance. Obviously, no different than any business, states want to have as much predictability as possible, and I think if they suspend the standards, it’s not going to slow us down from continuing to try and make our air cleaner…

You know, we’re a mile high. Air quality issues affect us more directly than they do at lower elevations. So we’re going to keep pushing it, we’re not going to back off, we’re going to continue to improve the air quality in the state every year if I have anything to say about it, but at the same time, those standards, you know, to be punitive when you’re working as hard as you can … to get cleaner air as rapidly as you can, it seems like it’s not the most constructive stance.”

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Manufacturers Encouraged by Ozone Implementation Bill

By | Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

We often say that clean air and a strong economy can go hand-in-hand. Underlying that belief is a recognition that we need the right policies in place to ensure both goals are achieved. Just five months after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued its strictest ozone regulation ever, throwing hundreds of counties into noncompliance with the standard, manufacturers are encouraged to see leaders from the House Energy and Commerce Committee (E&C) offer legislation that would restore some much-needed flexibility to this policy.

Since 1980, ozone levels are down nationwide more than 30 percent—and down nearly 20 percent in just the past decade. With new investments coming online utilizing the best and cleanest technologies available, these trends will continue. Modern manufacturing has evolved into a sleek, technology-driven industry, and air quality has improved vastly as a result. But many of our environmental policies, such as the ozone rule, have failed to keep pace.

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Manufacturers Hopeful Senate Energy Bill Will Move Again Soon

By | Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

The Senate’s consideration of S. 2012, the Energy Policy Modernization Act, has been stalled for weeks over how best to address the ongoing water challenge in Flint, Mich. Early this week, it appeared an agreement on Flint aid had been reached that would allow S. 2012 to move forward. Unfortunately, just a few hours later, the story broke that the bill is now being held up over an amendment that allows revenues from oil and gas exploration off the Atlantic coast to be shared by the federal government and the states where the exploration would occur. The NAM supports this amendment and would like to see it get a vote.

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Manufacturers Find Little to Celebrate in President Obama’s Last Budget

By | Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

At its core, the final budget blueprint released today by the Obama administration represents just another “tax and spend” plan that would increase federal spending while imposing a wide range of tax increases on businesses, making it harder for manufacturers to create jobs and compete in the global economy and do nothing to stimulate much-needed economic growth. Read More

State of Manufacturing Tour Day 6 Wrap: Timmons Travels to Texas; Highlights Energy, Environment and Infrastructure Policy Goals

By | Shopfloor Main | No Comments

NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons traveled to Texas on Thursday for the sixth stop in the 2016 State of Manufacturing Tour. With co-host Bell Helicopter’s training facilities in Fort Worth as the backdrop, Timmons delivered a speech focused on shedding light on the perceptions of modern manufacturing as well as calling for action from elected officials and candidates alike to improve our nation’s energy, environment and infrastructure policies as part of the NAM’s detailed “Competing to Win” 2016 platform. Below are some excerpts.

On Access to Energy Resources:
“With our abundance of diverse resources, the United States is uniquely positioned to chart an energy future that raises the standard of living for all Americans. To do so, however, we must utilize every source of affordable, secure energy available. This will mean expediting the permitting process for onshore and offshore energy exploration, opening more federal lands to responsible development, building new pipelines and energy delivery infrastructure and removing regulatory barriers that hamper energy projects of all types. It will also mean maintaining and improving our power grid and ensuring manufacturers can access energy from all sources when they need it, even as we work for cleaner air and lower emissions.”

On Environmental Regulations:
“Too often, our environmental agenda works at cross-purposes with these goals. Two recent examples come to mind. Together they will add a serious weight to our economy, on top of the $330 billion our environmental regulations already cost. The first is the EPA’s new greenhouse gas regulations for power plants, which could, in many areas of the country, raise electricity costs for consumers and manufacturers and compromise energy reliability.

“That’s why the NAM filed hundreds of pages of comments with the EPA on how to better craft this regulation, and why we have asked the EPA to go back to the drawing board and fix this rule before moving forward. We have also asked the Supreme Court for an implementation delay until the many lawsuits challenging the rule have been resolved.

“The second troubling action was the creation of an even tighter standard for ozone. Experts say this could be one of the most expensive environmental regulations in history. At a time when air quality is better than it’s been in decades and billions in investments are being made that will further that progress, many jurisdictions could essentially be closed for business under this new rule if Congress or the courts don’t step in to restore some balance. Otherwise, manufacturers will face restrictions on construction, equipment use and more.”

On Infrastructure:
“Those very same standards could affect transportation infrastructure as well. Areas that cannot meet the overly stringent limits could lose federal highway dollars and be forced to sideline needed projects…ones that would ultimately reduce gridlock and result in cleaner air.”

“Clearly our nation needs to stop viewing energy, environment, infrastructure and the economy through separate lenses. They are all interconnected, and our policies must treat them as such.”

Timmons also touched on the United States’ partnership at this year’s Hannover Messe and the work the NAM is doing in partnership with Siemens Software and the U.S. Department of Commerce to rally manufacturers in the United States to participate and demonstrate our global leadership.

“Now, this leadership is already on display across America, as 12 million people are building our future,” Timmons said. “Manufacturers contribute more than $2 trillion to the national GDP. Here in Texas, manufacturers have a total output of more than $230 billion. If manufacturing in the United States were its own country, it would be the ninth-largest economy in the world.”

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Prior to his speech, Timmons toured the Bell Helicopter Training Academy. Fun fact: The Bell X-1 was the first to break the speed of sound!

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Timmons and the team then traveled to Lockheed Martin for a systems demonstration and tour of the facility, led by Don Kinard, senior technical fellow and one of Lockheed’s lead engineers. Kinard and his team demonstrated laser maps and white technology. Read more about these technologies in Kinard’s guest blog here.

Joint Op-Ed: Choose Leaders Who Would Strengthen Manufacturing
The following op-ed by Jay Timmons and Texas Association of Business State Board Chair Sara Tays ran exclusively in today’s Fort Worth Star-Telegram:  

With less than a month left until Texas votes in its Super Tuesday primary, only a short time remains to size up the candidates seeking to lead our country.

For those who care about the U.S. economy and believe in American exceptionalism, there is only one choice: Vote for candidates who will strengthen manufacturing in the United States.

The U.S. is a nation of makers and doers. When manufacturing succeeds, America succeeds.

In Texas, manufacturers add more than $230 billion to the state economy and employ more than 860,000 people.

Manufacturing has the largest multiplier effect of any industry. A dollar invested in manufacturing adds $1.40 in economic activity.

Manufacturers are helping the United States remain the world’s economic leader. But we cannot continue to compete and win in the global marketplace without the right policies here at home. Read the full op-ed here.

Social Media Wrap Day 6

Check out the highlights from our social media and don’t forget to follow @shopfloorNAM on Twitter and Shopfloor on Facebook for the latest updates from the road.

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Don’t forget Shopfloor is on Instagram. Check out a special Throwback Thursday post from the tour:

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One more stop to go! Check back in tomorrow for what’s happening at our final stop in Baltimore, Md. Stay in touch real time by following us on Facebook, Twitter @shopfloorNAM and online at www.nam.org/stateofmfg. Be sure to share your tweets and pics with #stateofmfg and #weareMFG.