Tag: Regulations

Manufacturers Push for Regulatory Reform

NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons and Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry President and CEO Glenn Hamer recently co-authored an op-ed in the Arizona Daily Star, emphasizing the direct impact federal regulations have on local energy prices, consumers, and manufacturers.

Though these policy discussions take place on the national level, Timmons and Hamer note the implications are often most felt on the local level.  According to the authors, “Arizona manufacturing has rebounded to levels beyond pre-recession output. Thanks to hard work and smart investments, manufacturers in the state now employ almost 6 percent of Arizona’s workforce. But those gains could be put at risk by misguided federal energy policies.”

RegReform EventAs manufacturing continues to grow jobs and expand nationwide, the NAM has made a concerted effort, partnering with the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), to advance common sense regulatory reform. A month ago on Capitol Hill, the NAM co-sponsored a “State of U.S. Regulations” event with the NFIB, during which both groups announced they “will utilize the full weight of their grassroots networks in an effort to engage with Congress and the Administration on the need for regulatory improvements.”

Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the NAM, said of the partnership, “This will be a strong and effective partnership because manufacturers and small businesses face a disproportionate burden of all regulatory costs. While manufacturers recognize the need for regulation, the scope and complexity of rules have made it harder to do business and compete in recent years. This is a trend that simply cannot continue and is easily solved with common-sense reforms. We can achieve a streamlined regulatory process with increased accountability and transparency that will protect businesses, manufacturers and consumers.”

The event, which coincided with Congressional debate on regulatory reform, included a keynote address by U.S. Representative Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), House Majority Whip, and opening remarks from Jay Timmons, President and CEO of the NAM, and Dan Danner, President and CEO of NFIB. Following the opening remarks, a panel of policy experts, which included former Governor George Allen (R-VA) and former U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), discussed the complications within the federal regulatory system, noting how complexities create unintended consequences for manufacturers and small business.

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Ask an Expert: What’s the deal with the NLRB?

When the Senate confirmed nominees to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) late last month, it marked the first time that all five seats had been filled since 2003. It also marked a turning point in labor policy. Recently, decisions rested with an unbalanced configuration that almost never had a dissenting view. That did not seem right. After all, the NLRB is an extension of a government founded on the belief that tyranny of the majority is just as undemocratic as dictatorial rule.

Although the National Association of Manufacturers does not tend to agree with NLRB on a lot of its more recent opinions, we welcome a fully-staffed board ready to engage in the kind of robust debate of the issues that should take place before making decisions that impact our labor law system. Dissenting opinions are an important part of litigation. They often help to clarify a ruling, even when the overall outcome leaves something to be desired. A dissenting opinion could become the basis for why a law should change or why a previous ruling should be overturned.

Completing the NLRB roster brings the agency’s legitimacy back into play. Manufacturers are hopeful that the board’s members will avoid partisan politics as they carefully weigh all the options and opinions at hand. Our democracy depends on a healthy dose of dissent to properly function. So does our labor law system.

Amanda Wood is the director of employment policy for the National Association of Manufacturers.

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NAM Member Pens Column on Cost of Environmental Regulation

Do the benefits of environmental regulation outweigh the costs? It’s a question as old as the Environmental Protection Agency, and one that Marlin Steel President and NAM Member Drew Greenblatt addresses in a recent column on INC.com.

Small and medium size manufacturers across the country face a never-ending onslaught of complex federal regulations and obstacles to reaching new foreign markets. These regulations require enormous amounts of paperwork and staff time, and often keep small businesses from focusing on providing good service and expanding their customer base. The true impact of these costs often go unmeasured.

In an effort to illustrate the severity of the problem, Greenblatt photographed a few employees standing beside their files to respond to government regulations, and noted that “the stack was three feet taller than they were–and would be even higher today.”

Manufacturers across the country agree with Mr. Greenblatt and would like the federal government to re-examine regulations that harm the economy and make us less competitive.  We can balance environmental protection with a regulatory structure that doesn’t bog down companies with endless mounds of paperwork.  Simply piling on more costly regulations is not the answer.

Mr. Greenblatt is President of Marlin Steel Wire Products, a U.S.-based builder of steel wire baskets and sheet metal material handling containers.

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New EPA Administrator will be Tested Early

Today, the Senate confirmed Gina McCarthy to be the next Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Administrator McCarthy will almost immediately have the opportunity to show how she intends to run the Agency for, perhaps, the remainder of President Obama’s second term. Will she pursue a reasonable approach to regulations, ensuring they are designed with care, input from stakeholders and without unnecessarily harming the economy? Or, will we have more of the same partisan-driven regulations, unattainable standards and astronomical compliance costs that so often occurred during the President’s first term?

One of the very first tests will be the Agency’s “re-proposal” of the carbon standards for new power plants pursuant to the President’s Climate Action Plan. In their first crack, the Agency proposed a rule that would have required all power plants irrespective of fuel to meet the same standard, effectively mandating plant design and fuel-type for all new plants. Strongly opposed by this organization and many others, the one-size-fits-all approach would have been an unprecedented attempt at using an environmental statute to set U.S. energy policy. After substantial input from several entities (and direction from the President), it is now widely believed that the Agency will try again and reissue the proposed power plant rule in September, setting separate standards for different fuels. A step in the right direction? Maybe. The answer will lie in the details.

EPA can set a separate emission standard for every fuel-type, unit design, and plant size, but if those standards cannot be achieved through existing, commercially viable technologies, the result will be the same as the last proposal: energy policy, not environmental regulation; one-size-fits-all, not all of the above. We stand ready to work with Administrator McCarthy in her new role, one that we hope will lead to a reasonable and balanced approach to environmental regulations.

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House Subcommittee Holds a Hearing on EPA Bill

Today, the House Energy and Power Subcommittee held a hearing on a discussion draft legislation from Representative Ed Whitfield (R-KY) that would require increased transparency regarding the economic impacts of EPA regulations. Since 2009, EPA has issued or proposed an unprecedented number of regulations which increase the cost of energy, limit fuel diversity and place tremendous economic burdens on manufacturers. In a 2012 study released by NAM, it was estimated that, by conservative estimates, the cost of just six EPA rules would cost roughly $100 billion annually and more than 2 million jobs. In a worst-case scenario, the regulations could mean the loss of $630 billion, 4.2 percent of GDP and more than 9 million jobs.

The Energy Consumers Relief Act of 2013 would require EPA to submit a report to Congress projecting energy cost increases and employment effects on any EPA rule estimated to cost more than $1 billion. In addition, the discussion draft would prohibit EPA from finalizing any of these billion dollar rules if DOE, in consultation with FERC and EIA, determine that they would cause significant adverse economic effects.

As manufacturers await rules regulating everything from water used for cooling systems to greenhouse gas emissions, we need more transparency in rulemakings, and checks and balances to ensure we are not regulating the economy back into recession.

Greg Bertelsen is director of energy and resources policy, National Association of Manufacturers.

 

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Senate Committee Holds Confirmation Hearing on EPA Administrator

Today the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works held a confirmation hearing for the EPA’s Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation Gina McCarthy, President Obama’s nominee for EPA administrator.

Several senators had questions about the EPA’s proposed regulations and their impact on the economy as well as the continued act of what is known as “sue and settle” by the agency. Senator Vitter (R-LA) asked McCarthy if the EPA would change its process regarding “sue and settle” and alert other stakeholders when legal action is taken.

The NAM sent a letter yesterday to Acting EPA Administrator Bob Perciasepe asking the agency to please provide some sort of alert system for each time a lawsuit is filed against the agency or if they receive a notice of legal action.

Senator Inhofe (R-OK) asked McCarthy if the EPA planned to make any changes to the proposed greenhouse gas rule on for new power plants and she did not provide any information on the agency’s plan for the rule. This rule would essentially prevent the construction of any new coal burning power plants and several types of new gas-fired power plants. Manufacturers believe we should continue to take advantage of all sources of energy, including but not limited to coal, natural gas, oil, nuclear, renewables, and energy efficiency. Lower energy prices help manufacturers better compete and taking some sources off the table  will only hurt our long term competitiveness.

Moving forward we would like the EPA to take into careful consideration the cost and economic impact of all regulations proposed by the agency.

 

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Manufacturer Testifies Before House Panel on Regulations

Yesterday, NAM Executive Committee Member Drew Greenblatt, president and owner of Marlin Steel Wire Products in Baltimore, testified before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law. The focus of the hearing was on the impact of regulations. In his testimony Mr. Greenblatt examined the negative impact of regulations on jobs and the global competitiveness of U.S. businesses.

Manufacturers are facing a growing number of burdensome regulations from various government agencies making it harder to compete today’s global marketplace. Mr. Greenblatt stated:

“To compete on a global stage, manufacturing in the United States needs policies that enable companies to thrive and create jobs. Growing manufacturing jobs will strengthen the U.S. middle class and continue to fuel America’s economic recovery.”

We need to find ways to reduce the cumulative burden of regulations on manufacturers so they can focus on getting Americans back to work.

 

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“Settling” Itself Up To Fail

Over the past week, EPA announced that it would reconsider parts of the “Utility MACT” air toxics regulation on power plants and that it needs even more time to finish it’s reconsidered “Boiler MACT” regulation to get it right. In doing so, EPA implicitly admitted that it moved too fast and underestimated the challenges present in crafting each regulation.

There is a very unsettling common thread in both the Utility MACT and Boiler MACT rules: both regulations were born from litigation, and the deadlines for issuing the regulations came from judicial settlements EPA entered into.

In both cases, EPA agreed to a schedule providing little time to review and respond to comments before entering a final rule. In both cases, the judicially-enforced consent decree EPA entered into prevented the agency from issuing a final rule that was free from errors. And in both cases, EPA now finds itself in the midst of a messy reconsideration process to correct those errors.

These are not isolated events. In fact, EPA recently entered into a consent decree for its PM2.5 National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) that gives the agency barely 100 days to review comments, a dramatically shorter time frame than EPA has given for any new or revised PM or Ozone NAAQS since 1971. If the Agency receives 100,000 public comments on the rule—a conservative estimate—EPA staff would have to review over 1,000 comments and draft 4-5 pages of responses per day, every day, including weekends. (continue reading…)

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California Manufacturers Concerned with Proposed Air Quality Regulations

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to pile on complex  regulations that impact manufacturers. Just last month, the Agency proposed more stringent air quality standards for fine particulate matter (i.e. PM2.5 NAAQS). Business groups are already starting to speak out. At an EPA public hearing yesterday in Sacramento, CA, the California Manufacturers & Technology Association (CMTA) urged the EPA to maintain the current PM2.5 standards.

“This proposal will unnecessarily burden the economy at a time when the country and California, in particular, are struggling to overcome the recession,” stated Mike Rogge, Policy Director at the CMTA. Rogge’s testimony highlighted the serious and immediate consequences for areas that do not attain the air quality standards established by the EPA. For example, companies building new facilities or performing major modifications to certain existing facilities in, or near, a non-attainment area will be required to install the most effective emission reduction technology regardless of cost. The EPA’s actions will cause many manufacturers around the country to think twice before expanding their operations.

We encourage all manufacturers to urge the EPA to retain the existing PM2.5 standards during the comment period which ends on August 31, 2012. You can learn more about the EPA’s proposal here.

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Study Shows Fracking Emissions Lower than EPA Estimates

API and ANGA released a study today calling into serious question the methane emissions data EPA has been using for unconventional gas wells.  According to the API/ANGA survey, methane emissions from hydraulic fracturing of unconventional gas wells are, in fact, 50 percent lower than EPA’s estimates.

When is EPA going to correct this flaw?  Today’s study is not even the first time EPA’s hydraulic fracturing emissions data has been contradicted by real-world evidence.  The agency has been sitting on an open Request for Correction under the Information Quality Act (IQA) since December 19, 2011. 

That request (filed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, available here) included a survey by URS Corp. of approximately 1200 wells, showing that actual gas emissions from the completion of unconventional shale gas wells were more than 1200% lower than EPA’s gas emission estimate.

A coalition of environmental groups filed a detailed opposition to the IQA correction request, complaining that URS had relied on too small a sample.  Well, today’s API/ANGA survey (also conducted by URS) is of 91,000 wells.  That should be more than enough.

Here’s why this matters: researchers, financial analysts and other governmental bodies are relying on EPA’s flawed estimates of natural gas emissions from unconventional shale gas well completions in a number of research reports and policy consideration. And policymakers are ultimately taking into account these potentially flawed numbers when designing regulations.

Read the API/ANGA study here.

Ross Eisenberg is vice president of energy and resources policy, National Association of Manufacturers.

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