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Energy

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

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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.

Ozone 70 Infographics (700x350) Read More

Manufacturers Hopeful Senate Energy Bill Will Move Again Soon

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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

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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

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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.”

***

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!

2016 State of Manufacturing - Recap Blog Post Header

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.

2016 State of Manufacturing - Recap Blog Post Social Media

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.

Oil Fee Proposal a Bad Deal for Manufacturers

By | Energy, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

Today, the Obama administration announced the details of a request in its upcoming 2017 budget proposal for a $10 fee on every barrel of oil to fund what the administration describes as “a more sustainable transportation system.” The administration is calling it a fee, but let’s be clear about what this really is: a wealth transfer that will ultimately be paid for by manufacturers at their plants and consumers at the pump.

In today’s global economy, U.S. manufacturers must be assured of an adequate supply of competitively priced oil for industrial and commercial use and for transportation fuels. We are, therefore, very concerned with yet another new policy that increases prices—and particularly a fee of this size, which would increase the price of each barrel of oil by more than 30 percent at today’s prices.‎ The American Petroleum Institute estimates that the president’s fee would cost consumers as much as 25 cents per gallon of gasoline.

Manufacturers support improvements to our nation’s crumbling infrastructure and fought hard to get the $305 billion long-term highway reauthorization successfully signed into law this past December. But the president’s oil fee budget proposal would make manufacturers less competitive.

Pipelines Bolster American Manufacturing

By | Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

As we continue our State of Manufacturing Tour, the National Association of Manufacturers is transforming the perception of manufacturing. Manufacturing creates opportunity and growth, and we see that with the construction and long-term operation of new pipeline infrastructure. To compete in the global market, manufacturers depend on access to affordable energy. Investing in pipeline infrastructure today will ensure the benefits of reliable energy for America’s manufacturing sector for generations to come.

“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.” – Jay Timmons, NAM President and CEO

Manufacturers across the nation benefit from creating infrastructure that delivers energy resources to market. In addition to creating jobs across the construction and manufacturing supply chain, pipelines also strengthen our nation’s energy security and increase access to affordable energy. Read More

From the State of Manufacturing Tour: Texas Association of Business President Highlights Importance of Manufacturing

By | Shopfloor Main | No Comments

2016 State of Manufacturing Social Media Infographics-19

Today, Texas Association of Business President Chris Wallace joined NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons at the Bell Helicopter Training Academy in Fort Worth, Texas, for the 2016 State of Manufacturing Tour. Wallace moderated a Q&A forum between Timmons, Siemens Vice President of Aerospace and Defense Strategy David Riemer and Bell Helicopter Executive Vice President of Integrated Operations Gunnar Kleveland. Read More