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Laura Berkey-Ames

Energy Efficiency Legislation Paves the Way for Smart and Sustainable Manufacturing

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

This week, Senators Jeanne Shaheen from New Hampshire and Lamar Alexander from Tennessee introduced the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Act (S. 715), a bipartisan bill that would support manufacturers—particularly small- and medium-sized manufacturers—in adopting advanced technologies to increase their sustainability by improving the energy efficiency and productivity of their facilities and operations. Representatives Peter Welch from Vermont and Tom Reed from New York also introduced companion bipartisan legislation (H.R. 1633) in the House. The National Association of Manufacturers has been a longstanding proponent of The Smart Manufacturing Leadership Act and looks forward to working with Congress as these measures moves forward.

The legislation would leverage existing Department of Energy programs and resources at the National Labs to ensure that advanced technologies are being considered to reduce energy consumption. Additionally, the measure would establish a competitive grant program for states to assist small- and medium-sized manufacturers in implementing smart manufacturing practices. Manufacturers have taken the lead in making energy efficiency a priority and remain committed to reducing their energy intensity while producing more energy efficient products. Manufacturers already implement energy efficiency solutions to reduce their costs, become more competitive and help lessen environmental impacts. The industry continues to lead the way in deploying sensible efficiency and waste reduction measures and embracing the importance of utilizing state-of-the-art energy efficient technologies. In fact, manufacturers contributed 19 percent more value to the American economy over the past decade while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent.

Manufacturers are committed to increasing their productivity, expanding their businesses and doing so in a way that is sensible, smart and sustainable. During the 115th Congress, the NAM supported the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Act, and we applaud Senators Shaheen and Alexander and Representatives Welch and Reed for reintroducing the bill this Congress. Their leadership continues to demonstrate a strong commitment to policies that promote energy efficiency to improve manufacturing and benefit the environment—and we will urge Congress and the administration to enact this legislation into law.

Congress Must Reauthorize CFATS for the Sake of National Security

By | Environment, General, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

The countdown clock has begun for the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program, as it will sunset on January 18, 2019—unless Congress acts first to reauthorize it. Unfortunately, with Congress set to adjourn in a matter of weeks and a limited number of days remaining on the legislative calendar, manufacturers are becoming increasingly concerned that CFATS will lapse and our nation’s security will be at risk. This is an issue of critical importance to the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM): our members operate 2,152 CFATS-regulated facilities spanning a range of major industrial sectors—such as oil and gas refining; chemical production and distribution; mining; agricultural goods and services; and electrical utilities—and they are counting on Congress to act expeditiously and reauthorize this program without delay.

Operated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the CFATS program relies on a multitiered risk assessment process to identify and regulate high-risk facilities. DHS ensures that CFATS-regulated sites have appropriate security measures in place to mitigate, prevent and protect against terrorist exploitation. Since its inception in 2007, CFATS was tied to short-term appropriations measures, which prevented Congress from making statutory improvements to the program. However, the four-year congressional authorization of CFATS in 2014 was a pivotal moment for the program’s longevity. Manufacturers were provided with the regulatory certainty needed to make long-term security investments, and it enabled DHS to run the program more effectively. Now is the time to pass a full reauthorization once more for this vital program—and there are multiple different proposals already introduced in both chambers of Congress to do so:

Securing the homeland requires strong partnerships among government at all levels, the private sector and concerned citizens across the country. Action to support these partnerships is needed now. CFATS reauthorization is and should continue to be a bipartisan issue that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle work on together to achieve. Security will remain a top priority for manufacturers, and they are dedicated to protecting their facilities and the communities in which they live and serve. Manufacturers call on Congress to reauthorize the CFATS program without delay for the sake of our nation’s national security.

Manufacturers Are Paving the Way as Environmental Stewards

By | Shopfloor Main, Sustainability | No Comments

Manufacturers take environmental stewardship seriously. As outlined in an op-ed that ran just this morning, manufacturers are looking to the future and leading by example through the implementation of sustainable practices and reducing their environmental footprint.

With the National Association of Manufacturers’ (NAM) most recent economic outlook survey—released last week—underlining the industry’s strong economic optimism, manufacturers are taking the opportunity to not only invest more, grow their workforces and increase salaries but also embrace practices that protect the environment. One way this commitment is being demonstrated is through the NAM’s Sustainability in Manufacturing Partnership with the Department of Energy’s Better Plants Program. Launched on April 10, this partnership has provided a national platform for manufacturers to highlight their company’s projects, encourage the adoption of energy-efficient and sustainable practices and explore emerging technologies and evaluate future challenges that need to be addressed.

Moreover, when the NAM recently surveyed its member companies on sustainability, the numbers came back overwhelmingly positive. Not only do 93.8 percent report tracking energy usage and 81 percent report tracking water consumption, but 74 percent report they have a recycling program in place to do something about it, and 72 percent of manufacturers report they have a sustainability policy in place to do something about it (another 8.3 percent have programs under development). What are they doing? Well, as the op-ed notes, you can check out Manufacturing a Sustainable Future to see many different examples. The op-ed contains a few examples itself, for instance:

“When wallboard waste comes back to USG Corporation’s Rainier, Ore. plan, a machine separates the gypsum core from the paper. The paper is then sent to a local dairy farm, where it’s used for bedding, while the recovered gypsum goes back into the manufacturing process to be recycled into new wallboard . . . ”

“Union Pacific reduced its energy consumption by 3.8 million kilowatt hours in 2017—enough to power more than 400 American homes for a year.”

With an eye toward the future, the NAM is once again proving that modern manufacturing in America is synonymous to innovation, investment and environmental stewardship. We know that manufacturers will continue to keep their promises, too, because they remain committed to safeguarding the health and longevity of our planet and its people.

The BRICK Act Moves Forward, and Manufacturers Gain Regulatory Certainty

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

Today, the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee held a markup and approved the Blocking Regulatory Interference from Closing Kilns Act of 2018 (S. 2461), a bipartisan bill that would permit a full legal review of national emissions standards for brick, clay products and clay ceramics manufacturing before the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires regulatory compliance. On March 7, the House passed similar legislation (H.R. 1917) that was strongly supported by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM).

The NAM fully supports the ongoing national effort to protect our environment and improve public health through appropriate laws and regulations. However, manufacturers need policies that provide regulatory certainty and ensure a sustainable environment and economy. In September 2015, the EPA issued final National Emissions Standards for Brick, Structural Clay Products and Clay Ceramics Manufacturing, often referred to as Brick MACT. It is estimated that this rule will collectively cost the brick industry, which is made up of predominantly small and medium-sized manufacturers, more than $100 million per year.

When regulations stretch beyond what the law allows, manufacturers and other stakeholders must turn to the courts for relief–a lengthy process that can take months, if not years. Under the Blocking Regulatory Interference from Closing Kilns Act of 2018, if a final rule under this Act is challenged in court, the compliance date extension would be limited to December 26, 2020. However, if the court refutes the EPA’s rule, the legislation requires the agency to issue new regulations within one year. This bill is a commonsense approach, as it ensures that manufacturers will have the certainty that the investments they make are based on laws that the courts have determined are appropriate and legal.

Manufacturers support reasonable environmental policies but need regulatory certainty to make necessary, long-term investments, and they believe both goals can be achieved through S. 2461. With the committee’s approval of the bill today, the measure will now proceed to the Senate for consideration.

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