Tag: Energy

LNG exports take center stage in House, Senate

Today, both the House and Senate will hold committee hearings relating to liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports. Both hearings will focus on not only the economic impact but also the increasingly-relevant geopolitical aspects of exporting energy. The House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing will focus on a specific piece of legislation: H.R. 6, the Domestic Prosperity and Global Freedom Act. H.R. 6 would provide expedited processing of all new LNG export applications to the Department of Energy (DOE), and would approve all applications pending in the DOE’s queue as of March 6, 2014.

Like any major infrastructure project, LNG export terminals must run the gauntlet of a long, drawn-out permitting process. One of the earliest steps in the permitting process, a license from DOE, has become a regulatory choke point for LNG exports. Some applicants have been waiting years for a decision, with no end in sight. At DOE’s current pace, some of the applications in the queue could be waiting until 2016 or later before they can move to the next step in the process.  While the national interest determination requirement by DOE isn’t itself a problem–we support a process that is open, transparent and objective–the way it’s been carried out is creating a major barrier to free trade and open markets in the area of LNG exports. It also may be running afoul of our international obligations: a recent report by former World Trade Organization (WTO) Appellate Body Chairman James Bacchus, who is testifying before the House today, concluded that the delay by the DOE to issue licenses to export LNG to foreign countries likely constitutes, in and of itself, a violation of our international obligations under the WTO. (He reached the same conclusion for coal export permitting delays.) As the United States leads the world in enforcing global commitments to prevent export restrictions, such as those that China has placed on raw materials and rare earths to the detriment of U.S. industry and workers, we should not ourselves be in violation of those same commitments.

The NAM was founded over 100 years ago to promote open markets and free trade for American manufacturers. In the context of all exports, including those of energy, the NAM fundamentally supports open markets and promotes exports of all products. We believe the market, if allowed to work, will provide equilibrium.  For the past year, we’ve called on DOE to speed up its licensing process to provide applicants an up-or-down decision as expeditiously as possible. In recent weeks, the editorial boards of the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and others have called for similar action.

As part of our commitment to exports and free trade, the NAM supports H.R. 6, the Domestic Prosperity and Global Freedom Act. H.R. 6 would put the United States in compliance with its own international obligations under the WTO, and would and help bolster U.S. efforts to eliminate other countries’ export restrictions. H.R. 6 does not impact the economic, environmental or safety studies that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and other agencies are required to conduct, nor does it remove any other regulatory requirement. It would promote the development of infrastructure to allow the export of a product–a principle that manufacturers support.

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Increased LNG Exports Benefit Manufacturers and the United States

Increasing LNG exports will benefit manufacturers, their workers and the entire American economy. Arguments by opponents to free trade like Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) that energy exports would do otherwise have been disproven in studies by every credible economist in the country. Again and again, experts find that granting licenses to export LNG would result in a net economic gain, including the official study done by the Department of Energy.

Just last week, NERA Economic Consulting, the firm that performed the analysis for the Department of Energy, updated its original study with the most current data available. It found that “LNG exports provide net economic benefits in all the scenarios investigated, and the greater the level of exports, the greater the benefits.” NERA concluded, “There is no support for the concern that LNG exports, even in the unlimited export case, will obstruct a chemicals or manufacturing renaissance in the United States.”

We are, indeed, in the midst of a manufacturing comeback, fueled by our abundant energy resources. Exporting LNG is a critical part of this comeback, with each $10 billion export facility creating manufacturing jobs across the supply chain during construction and operation. In addition, experts have found not only will we have enough natural gas at stable prices to fuel domestic manufacturing while also supporting LNG exports, but we will also still come out on top.

Furthermore, Sen. Markey’s proposal to restrict U.S. exports is contrary to the international rules that the United States helped establish some 40 years ago. Export restrictions, like those on LNG, are prohibited by World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, and according to a recent report by former WTO Appellate Body Chairman James Bacchus, these delays and restrictions may be running afoul of our treaty obligations.

A New York Times editorial recently made a strong point about the importance of energy in fostering the United States’ national security. We are deeply concerned about recent events overseas as manufacturers have employees across the globe, including in Eastern Europe. We are working closely with policymakers on both sides of the aisle to safeguard manufacturing employees and manufacturers’ investments around the world.

Getting our energy policy right is not just a domestic imperative, but it also has important national security implications. Like the New York Times and many policymakers on Capitol Hill, the NAM believes that it is in our national interest—and in the interest of our allies—that the United States immediately accelerates the review process of pending LNG export terminal applications. With an expedited review, the Administration would send a strong signal to the Russian Federation, our NATO allies, our trading partners and the rest of the world that energy exports matter and are a critical tool of American foreign policy.

Aric Newhouse is Senior Vice President of Policy and Government Relations for the National Association of Manufacturers.

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Manufacturers Submit Keystone Comments to State Department

Today, the NAM submitted comments on behalf of manufacturers to the Department of State regarding the National Interest Determination for the TransCanada Keystone Pipeline. In the comments, the NAM notes manufacturers’ strong belief that the project should be approved: “based upon the totality of the evidence in the record, the Keystone XL Pipeline is clearly in the national interest and should receive a Presidential Permit as rapidly as possible.”

Manufacturers aren’t alone when it comes to Keystone. Recently, NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons joined Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) President Terry O’Sullivan in calling for approval of the pipeline. LIUNA represents nearly 500 local union chapters in the United States and Canada, and according to O’Sullivan, “the Washington politics behind the delay of the Keystone XL pipeline are of little concern to those seeking the dignity of a good, high-paying job.”

Business leaders from sectors across the U.S. economy also recently sent a letter to President Obama noting that “we are at an inflection point in our economic recovery. Whether economic growth will remain modest or pick up speed will depend on maintaining investor confidence and strengthening America’s competitiveness. The decision on Keystone XL will affect both.” And just today, a new poll released by Washington Post and ABC showed that over 65 percent of the American public say the project should be approved.

The NAM concluded by highlighting the major impact that approval of the project would have: “Manufacturers are poised to move forward and lead this country’s economic recovery. Infrastructure projects like the Keystone XL Pipeline will play an important role in getting our economy on track. When projects of this magnitude are undertaken, the economic impacts are substantial, invigorating a supply chain of companies of all sizes and all manufacturing sectors throughout the country. It is time to move forward and build. Manufacturers call on the Department of State to find that Keystone XL is in the national interest and promptly issue a Presidential Permit so that the project may commence construction.”

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Manufacturers Urge Administration to Include Energy Exports in 2014 Trade Agenda

This week, the Obama Administration released its annual Trade Policy Agenda that highlighted the importance of trade and investment in promoting economic growth in the United States.  This year’s report focused substantial attention on the Administration’s efforts to “open markets for U.S. exports and ensure a level playing field for U.S. producers and workers to compete,” including through seeking new Trade Promotion Authority legislation and negotiating substantial market-opening agreements in the Asia Pacific and with Europe that have the potential to eliminate major barriers to U.S. exports and set in place strong standards of key issues from intellectual property to investment and transparency. Manufacturers’ welcome these initiatives and are working with the Administration to secure successful outcomes that will grow manufacturers’ opportunities around the globe.

Missing from this extensive report on 2014 priorities and 2013 activities, however, is any focus on a growing area of American export strength – the export of our energy resources including coal and liquefied natural gas (LNG).  America’s energy renaissance has changed the equation for manufacturers big and small, providing greater access to our nation’s manufacturers to affordable energy supplies.  America’s abundance of energy resources is also an important export opportunity – but for the fact that the United States is putting its own restrictions on energy exports through slow approval and permitting processes that are limiting U.S. exports of LNG and coal.  Those restrictions are out of line with America’s economic interests and, as detailed in a recent NAM-commissioned report by former WTO Appellate Body Chairman James Bacchus, out of line with the United States’ own international obligations in the World Trade Organization (WTO).

From the Constitutional ban on export taxes to the President’s 2014 Trade Policy Agenda, the value of exports to America is clear. Exports of energy and other goods support American jobs and economic growth. In the case of energy, exports also play a vital role in promoting broader global goals. Manufacturers continue to urge the Administration to stand up for exports – all exports including those from our energy sector – to advance America’s economic and broader interests.

Manufacturers are pleased to see legislation introduced this Congress that would expedite processing of our LNG exports. Such legislation would put America’s actions in line with its international obligations and advance America’s exports and economic interests.

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House to Vote on Bill to Improve EPA Greenhouse Gas Regulations

This week, the House will vote on H.R. 3826, the “Electricity Security and Affordability Act.” The NAM strongly supports this bill, which I testified in support of back in November, and which the Partnership for a Better Energy Future, a coalition of roughly 100 business and labor organizations, recently showed ts support for. H.R. 3826 would would place some reasonable limits on EPA’s new greenhouse gas (GHG) regulations and get us back to an all-of-the-above energy strategy.

Recently, the EPA proposed a GHG regulation for new power plants that would greatly limit the sources of energy available to power U.S. manufacturing. The first of several coming GHG regulations, this rule would effectively ban the construction of new coal-fired power plants in the United States by requiring them to be equipped with carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) systems. While CCS is a very promising technology, it is too expensive and is not in use at a single commercial-scale power plant in the country. To remain competitive in a global economy, manufacturers need an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy to ensure they have access to affordable and reliable energy.

If the EPA continues down this regulatory path, it will lead to even greater uncertainty and costs for U.S. manufacturers as we wait for the next similar regulations. It’s time for the EPA to consider a more reasonable path forward. H.R. 3826 would do that by drawing some clear lines around what EPA can and cannot do as it crafts these regulations.

To help ensure manufacturers have continued access to safe, reliable and low-cost energy, click here to contact your Representative and ask them to support H.R. 3826.

Click here to Take Action Now!

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Keystone Suppliers Pen Op-Ed

The Keystone XL pipeline represents a lifeline for American workers and the U.S. economy, and the longer we wait for approval, the longer the creation of thousands of high-paying manufacturing jobs for American workers is put on hold. That was the message from NAM Members Albert Huber of Patterson Pump Company and Peter Bowe of Ellicott Dredges in a recent op-ed.

The op-ed, published by Forbes Magazine, is just one of numerous calls from across the country for the President to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.

Manufacturers know what is at stake with this project, which is why the NAM has joined over 165 CEO’s and one of the country’s largest labor unions in calling for approval.

NAM Vice President of Energy and Resources Policy Ross Eisenberg also recently addressed this issue at a panel hosted by Politico, saying “it’s time for the President to keep his promise to cut red tape and approve this job-creating infrastructure project.”

The first permit application for the Keystone XL pipeline was submitted to the State Department on September 19, 2008—nearly five and a half years ago.


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NAM’s Eisenberg Headlines Politico Panel

NAM Vice President of Energy and Resources Policy Ross Eisenberg participated
in an event hosted by Politico which brought together House and Senate members
along with industry leaders to discuss energy policy.

Photo by David Bohrer, NAM

Photo by David Bohrer, NAM

The event, entitled Energy Policy and the 113th Congress, included discussions
on energy independence, national energy security and international trade of

During the panel, Eisenberg highlighted manufacturers’ support of the
Portman-Shaheen energy efficiency legislation and called on Congress to act on
the measure.

He also touched on the President’s Climate Action Plan, specifically his
proposal to regulate greenhouse gases (GHGs) under the Clean Air Act.

Recently,the NAM announced a coalition of over 80 organizations and 26 states who are
coming together to advocate for a commonsense approach to GHG policies in order
to ensure the continued availability of affordable and reliable energy for
American families and businesses.

When asked about the Keystone XL Pipeline, Eisenberg stated plainly that it’s
time for the President to keep his promise to cut red tape and approve this
job-creating infrastructure project.

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Ambassador Kirk Joins CASEnergy Coalition

Earlier today the CASEnergy Coalition introduced Ambassador Ron Kirk as the new co-chair. Ambassador Kirk’s experience as the U.S. Trade Ambassador will provide the coalition with important insights on job-training programs, careers in the nuclear industry and the importance of access to global markets.  CASEnergy’s mission is to work with its partners and member to better help education the public on the benefits and importance of nuclear power.

Nuclear energy plays an important role in our country’s energy mix by providing almost 20 percent of electricity. Nuclear energy is clean, sustainable and will be an integral part of our energy portfolio for years to come. Nuclear energy jobs are good jobs and we need to train the next generation of nuclear workers.

Ambassador Kirk understands the need to create jobs and the role that expanding our overseas markets will play in that job creation process. He will be a strong, respected voice with the Obama Administration and Congress. The NAM is excited to have him as part of the nuclear energy team and looks forward to continuing to work with Governor Whitman, Ambassador Kirk and CASEnergy on all of these issues.

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Time for a True All-of-the-Above Energy Policy

Forbes contributor David Blackmon wrote an article recently entitled “The Best Energy Policy Is the Least Energy Policy.” In the article, Mr. Blackmon makes many interesting points in regards to the federal government’s energy policy.

The President has focused a great deal of energy trying to pick winners and losers in the energy sector, yet during his State of the Union address, he singled out the natural gas revolution the country has enjoyed while highlighting his administration’s positive role in this boom.  This claim is remarkable given the administration’s effort to regulate hydraulic fracturing and their hesitation to expand oil and gas exploration on federal lands, both on shore and off shore. It is important to note that most of the exploration and production of natural gas has taken place on private and state lands where the federal government’s regulatory arm cannot reach.

The President made a great show of claiming to support all-of-the-above energy policy and, as Blackmon points out, the administration continues to ramp up emissions regulations on coal fire power plants and soon others.  The President has denied that there is a war on coal and yet scores of power plants have either been closed or have announced that they will close within the next couple of years.

Mr. Blackmon goes on to point out that the President claims he wants to continue to work with the oil and gas industry to make sure production and job growth continue, yet he talks about using his Presidential authority to put more federal lands off limits and increase the tax burden on the energy sector.

If our economy is going to grow and become energy self-sufficient we need the federal government to work with the energy industry to find ways to explore, produce and transport energy in a safe and reliable way. We don’t need the federal government to throw up roadblocks and hurdles and to drive up the cost of energy. As my dad would say, “If you are not part of the solution then you must be the problem!”

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President Makes Bold Promises on Energy; Must Balance Commitment to All-Of-The-Above Strategy with Reasonable Regulations

The President wisely made energy a focus of tonight’s State of the Union address. As well he should: energy is a bright spot in our economy, and with the right policies our competitive advantage on energy can only grow.

Some of the ideas proposed by the President tonight make a lot of sense. The unconventional oil and gas boom has unlocked millions of jobs–many of these in manufacturing in sectors like iron, steel, fertilizer, cement, chemicals and plastics–and the President appears ready to commit real resources to making sure this renaissance continues. He makes strong commitments to energy efficiency–initiatives like a $1 billion performance contracting initiative that comes on the heels of a very successful $2 billion program from 2011-2013 that created manufacturing jobs and saved energy. Perhaps most importantly, the President seems ready to finally make the kind of changes to the permitting process for infrastructure projects that will speed these projects up, get shovels in the ground, and reduce red tape.

That said, it’s hard to reconcile the broad, sweeping promises in speeches like this one with the aggressive–and often conflicting–regulatory agenda put into place by the Administration. Regulations like the greenhouse gas standards praised by the President, which threaten to phase out many of the fuels driving our energy renaissance. Or Ozone, a regulation that by the Administration’s own estimate would cost as much as $90 billion per year. Or the calcified permitting process that continues to plague the Keystone XL pipeline, energy exports and countless energy and infrastructure projects across the country.

And so much will depend on execution. The President has promised to fix permitting and red tape before, but many of the reforms fell short. He’s repeatedly called for an all-of-the-above policy, but in practice it’s really been some-of-the-above. Coal, nuclear, hydropower and others deserve to be part of the equation, alongside oil, gas, renewables and energy efficiency. Yet many of these words were not uttered in tonight’s speech.

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