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Environment

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.

FERC Ruling a Path Forward on Climate

By | Energy, Environment, General | No Comments

Last week, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) voted 3-1 to authorize theVenture Global Calcasieu Pass project in Cameron Parish, La., a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility. FERC also voted to authorize the accompanying TransCameron pipeline.

The vote was significant because it was preceded by an agreement among three of the four sitting FERC commissioners on how to address greenhouse gas (GHG) and climate impacts in FERC’s analysis of potential LNG projects. The White House Council on Environmental Quality issued guidance in August 2016 on how to consider GHGs in environmental permitting under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA); President Trump withdrew this guidance in March 2017 as part of Executive Order 13783, “Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth.”

The NAM supported President Trump’s decision to withdraw the guidance and has pressed for a revised policy that addresses how to evaluate GHG emissions for projects subject to NEPA. FERC’s handling of GHGs on the Venture Global project is a major breakthrough that, carried forward, will provide the certainty manufacturers need for LNG permitting and hopefully other infrastructure projects before the Commission.

Manufacturers are committed to action on climate change. We need reasonable rules of the road that allow us to reduce emissions while remaining competitive. We commend FERC for stepping up and taking a bipartisan approach to this issue, one we hope will provide certainty for future infrastructure permits before the Commission.

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.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Declined 3 Percent Last Year. It’s a Sign Manufacturers Are Keeping Their Promise.

By | Environment, Presidents Blog, Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

In 2017, manufacturers advocated—and our leaders in Washington delivered—much-needed regulatory relief. Despite what the critics said, we promised that strong economic growth and responsible environmental stewardship can go hand in hand.

There’s no doubt 2017 was a banner year for economic growth and job creation. But now we have proof that it was a good year for environmental stewardship as well: greenhouse gas emissions in the United States declined nearly 3 percent.

The Hill reports the findings from the EPA:

“Harmful greenhouses gases that largely contribute to climate change decreased during President Trump’s first year in office, according to a new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report released Wednesday.”

This is great news for the country. Of course, manufacturers have a track record of improving our efficiency and sustainability while growing the economy. Over the past decade, manufacturers have decreased our greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent while increasing our share of the economy by 19 percent.

Going forward, we will continue to prove the naysayers wrong. We will keep our promise to hire more workers, invest here in America and increase wages and benefits—all while building a future with cleaner air, cleaner water and a healthier environment.

In Supreme Court Brief, MCLA Defends Manufacturers Against Overreaching Investigation

By | Briefly Legal, Environment, Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action, Shopfloor Legal | No Comments

On Thursday, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) continued its fight against state attorneys general targeting manufacturers. The Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action (MCLA) filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing against the misguided efforts of Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey to silence energy manufacturers.

The NAM’s amicus brief asks the U.S. Supreme Court to consider and reverse a ruling by the Massachusetts Supreme Court that upheld the validity of the attorney general’s subpoena, which sought decades of ExxonMobil’s communications relating to climate change. ExxonMobil challenged the authority of Massachusetts courts to enforce the subpoena because ExxonMobil’s limited commercial activity in the state (licensing agreements with independent gas stations) is unrelated to the focus of the subpoena.

The Massachusetts Supreme Court upheld the subpoena despite the tenuous connection between the company’s advertising and the subpoena. That low bar threatens all manufacturers by massively expanding the range of venues through which plaintiffs or government officials may pursue claims against manufacturers. The NAM’s amicus brief argues that subpoenas like this are valid only when the nature of the company’s in-state conduct has a substantial relationship with the focus of the subpoena.

Healey’s investigation is just part of a larger effort nationwide to target energy manufacturers, purportedly over climate change. But as manufacturers have argued, and the Supreme Court has concluded, the courts are not the right venue for setting climate change policy. That work belongs in the legislative and executive branches, and the MCLA, as well as the Manufacturers’ Accountability Project, will continue to work to ensure that attorneys general, trial lawyers and activists do not succeed in their efforts to undermine our judicial system.

NAM Weighs in on the EPA’s Proposed Cost-Benefit Analysis Reform

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

In June, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it would solicit public input on whether and how to change the way it considers costs and benefits in making regulatory decisions. As was first reported in Politico on Tuesday, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) filed comments outlining manufacturers’ priorities for reform and listed numerous examples of flawed and costly rulemaking.

The NAM’s comments included the following recommendations:

  • If costs and benefits will accrue over a 30-year time horizon, the agency should provide cost and benefit estimates for the whole time horizon, not simply a snapshot of what costs and benefits would look like in a given year within the range.
  • When compliance with a rule is based on unknown controls, the EPA must base its calculation of those unknown controls on realistic assumptions.
  • When costs and benefits will accrue to the whole economy, the EPA should model the impact on the whole economy, not just a part of it.
  • The agency should avoid relying on outdated data, studies and methodologies, and it should similarly avoid being overly speculative.
  • The agency can achieve the consistency and specificity it seeks through statute-specific rulemakings that allow for more tailored approaches reflecting the unique statutory requirements.

As I wrote in our filing:

Manufacturers strongly support the EPA’s mission. Moreover, the benefits of appropriate regulations are clear and supported by the public. The issue is how to enable the regulatory system to address legitimate concerns without unreasonably impeding innovation, research, development and product deployment. Too often in the regulatory process, the vital national public policy objectives of international competitiveness and technological innovation are given short shrift due to other competing mandates. To protect public health and the environment, the NAM supports a regulatory process designed to adhere to sound principles of science, risk assessment and robust benefit-cost analysis.…In our view, there are three pillars of effective regulatory cost considerations: transparency, scientific integrity and accountability. In other words, the rule-making process should be conducted out in the open and backed up by objective, unimpeachable science, while being overseen by officials who are held accountable.

The NAM’s full comments can be viewed here.

La Jolla: Anatomy of a Plot, Part I.

By | Energy, Environment, Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action | No Comments

La Jolla: Anatomy of a Plot

La Jolla: Anatomy of a Plot, Part I. Five years ago, at an informal gathering in an exclusive seaside community in San Diego, a small but determined group of activists hatched an ambitious plan: they would bring down some of America’s largest energy manufacturers, which also happen to be some of America’s largest employers.

Operating on hunches and guesswork, the group, comprised of activist academics, wealthy trial lawyers and public relations experts, spun a disparaging narrative about energy companies.

To prove their claims, they needed to gain access to internal energy company documents and that would mean convincing the Justice Department and state attorneys general to begin investigations.

Since that 2012 meeting in La Jolla, California, a lot has changed. What began as a series of informal discussions has evolved into a highly coordinated, far-reaching and well-funded campaign to persuade government officials to embark on taxpayer-funded fishing expeditions.

In recent years, the campaign has attracted the support of billionaires and deep-pocketed family foundations. In the coming weeks and months, Full Disclosure will chronicle the growth of this extensive web of collusion.

We’ll uncover which figures are fueling this costly effort. We’ll document how journalists whose work is funded by an explicit anti-manufacturing agenda are working to create a hostile climate for energy manufacturers and the men and women who work for them.

And we’ll expose the trial attorneys who, motivated by the prospect of colossal contingency fees, are working overtime to put American energy producers out of business and employees out of work.

Energy Brings Us Together

By | Economy, Energy, Environment, Policy Experts, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

As the days get shorter and the months grow colder, we are fortunate to have energy that warms our homes and gives us light to read a favorite book.

What we may forget is that domestic energy is also fueling a manufacturing renaissance. New resource production made possible by technological innovation is supporting millions of jobs, increasing household incomes, boosting trade and contributing to a new increase in U.S. competitiveness around the world. Domestic energy allows us to be productive at home and work. Relying on one-third of the energy used in the United States, manufacturing contributed $2.18 trillion to the U.S. economy in 2016. Renewable sources are growing quickly and diversifying the nation’s energy portfolio; our fleet of nuclear power plants cleanly and efficiently produce a substantial portion of the nation’s electricity; we have abundant supplies of coal, natural gas and oil; and advances in energy efficiency continue to save money.

Unfortunately, some people try to use energy as an issue to divide Americans. But that’s shortsighted.

Rather than picking one energy source over another, we should harness American creativity and competitiveness to drive efficiency from all energy sources. By making use of all of the United States’ domestic energy sources, we can ensure the best environmental outcomes at the lowest costs. Nuclear and fossil energy complement renewables like hydro, solar and wind and help ensure we have a diverse mix of energy resources. While solar and wind can produce varying amounts of energy, other energy is available on demand immediately and provides critical support to our renewable resources. For example, natural gas complements renewables and diversifies our energy portfolio. We are stronger together; together, we can forge long-term energy solutions.

That’s why manufacturers are watching the House Natural Resources Committee. The committee is busy marking up broad bipartisan legislation to strengthen energy policy on federal lands. H.R. 4239, the Strengthening the Economy with Critical Untapped Resources to Expand American Energy Act, or the SECURE American Energy Act, reforms existing regulatory frameworks for energy development on America’s Outer Continental Shelf and the vast onshore acreage that is under federal ownership.

Although energy production has surged in recent years, the vast majority of this new activity has occurred on private lands, while exploration on federal lands has shrunk. As a result, energy production continues to be artificially limited, reducing manufacturers’ potential competitive advantage. The federal government owns approximately 640 million acres onshore, or roughly 28 percent of the land, in the United States. And with 86 percent of our offshore resources unavailable for development or analysis, America could be producing much more. To remain competitive in a global economy, we need access to all kinds of energy—and that includes sharing the riches under our seas and on federal lands.

The onshore provisions of H.R. 4239 would allow for more local control over energy plans on federal land. States that demonstrate they can effectively regulate would also receive the full 50 percent of mineral revenues, helping to fund schools and public services like local police and fire. H.R. 4239 would also stop instances of duplicative federal regulations when a state already has effective requirements. The SECURE America’s Energy Act also strengthens our access to offshore energy, opening new areas to offshore wind energy and giving more states and local communities a chance to reap the benefits of exploration.

Continuing to expand fair access to energy resources allows us to be less dependent on foreign oil and ensure America’s energy independence. Manufacturers will continue supporting measures that promote expanded access to U.S. energy resources that make manufacturers more energy secure, while driving job creation and growth. Energy is an issue that can bring us together.

The NAM Shines Light on Plaintiffs’ Attorneys “Reckless Assault” on Manufacturers

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

We live in an era of lawsuits based more in emotion than fact. In the manufacturing sector, we see litigation costs continuously rising and often at the expense of a better wage for the American worker. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) will shine a light on this concerning trend, beginning with an opinion piece just published in Investor’s Business Daily.

Linda Kelly, NAM senior vice president and general counsel and leader of the Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action, describes in Investor’s Business Daily how trial lawyers seek to extort American workers, consumers and shareholders purely for profit. The piece lays out the widespread ramifications that new lawsuits pose to manufacturers in America, including the 12 million men and women that the NAM proudly represents across the United States.

Since 2005, manufacturers in America have reduced carbon emissions by 10 percent, all the while growing the American economy by 19 percent. Despite this clear commitment to the environment and economic prosperity for the American people, trial lawyers have initiated a disingenuous campaign, backed by well-funded activists, to discredit manufacturers and reap financial benefits at the cost of American workers and their families.

“Manufacturers are committed to climate action and are actively crafting solutions to this complex global challenge.”

One lawyer in particular, Michael Pawa, is a repeat player in this arena. In 2008, he unsuccessfully argued that American manufacturers had created a “public nuisance” in an attempt to set precedent for future lucrative endeavors. U.S. courts resoundingly rejected Pawa’s claims, but his politically motivated legal efforts continue today in cities like San Francisco and Oakland.

“Manufacturers are confident the courts will once again dismiss these efforts and see these lawsuits for what they are—legal attacks aimed at punishing an industry they don’t like. But manufacturers continue to be harassed by politically motivated legal officers operating with impunity beyond the reach of the courts.”

As Kelly points out, “every dollar spent defending against meritless attacks is a dollar not spent on innovation and game-changing revolutions that make our world healthier and communities safer,” and American manufacturers can ill afford to sustain unnecessary costs to their businesses and reputations.

All Americans should be wary of this free-for-all targeting by trial lawyers against the lifeblood of our economy, especially given the remarkable achievements that manufacturers have made toward enriching our environment and economic prosperity. The NAM is proud to support its members facing these frivolous lawsuits and will continue to work on behalf of the millions of American workers, consumers and shareholders that bear the brunt of these misguided legal attacks.

Why Manufacturers Are Cheering Energy Week

By | Energy, Environment, Presidents Blog, Shopfloor Main | No Comments

Later today, I’ll join President Donald Trump, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt for an “Energy Week” event at the Department of Energy headquarters here in Washington, D.C.

President Trump is expected to give a speech on American energy independence and “dominance.” This is the kind of leadership manufacturers want to see.

Access to affordable, reliable and diverse energy sources is essential to growing manufacturing in the United States. It’s about more than keeping the lights on; it’s about powering the heart of the American economy.

Manufacturing accounts for roughly one-third of all the energy consumed in the United States. If you make energy more abundant, you make it easier for companies of all sizes to expand their operations in the United States—and to hire more workers. There is a direct line between American energy access—or “dominance,” as the president puts it—and creating new jobs for Americans.

Over the years, manufacturers have produced the innovative new technologies that have allowed us to harness new sources of energy—and to improve our sustainability and make our energy use more efficient. Today’s access to affordable and diverse energy was unthinkable 20 or even 10 years ago. Now it’s time to build on that success.

Across this country, voters and elected leaders want to see the growth of manufacturing in the United States. If you support manufacturing, then you should support the continued development of American energy. Manufacturers use all forms of energy—oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear and renewables. America should lead the world in the development and deployment of all these energy forms.

Learn more about manufacturers’ energy agenda here.

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