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Environment

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 tax-payer 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.

More Relief for Manufacturers: EPA Grants Flexibility on Ozone Regulations

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

This afternoon, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) informed governors that the agency will grant states an additional year for initial compliance designations under the 2015 ozone standard. This is welcome regulatory relief for manufacturers, who are working hard to comply with the 2008 and 2015 ozone standards but run the risk of falling into no-grow zonesif their states do not reach the 2015 levels quickly enough.

The 2015 ozone regulation could be one of the most expensive regulations ever issued by the U.S. government. The 2008 standard of 75 parts per billion (ppb)—the most stringent standard ever—was never even fully implemented, while emissions are as low as they have been in decades and air quality continues to improve. The EPA itself admitted that implementation of the previous standard of 75 ppb, when combined with the dozens of other regulations on the books that will reduce ozone precursor emissions from stationary and mobile sources, will drive ozone reductions below 75 ppb (and close to 70 ppb, the current standard set in 2015) by 2025.

Throughout the 2015 ozone rulemaking, hundreds of governors, mayors, local development officials, manufacturers and other leaders warned the EPA that they could not comply with a tighter standard under the strict timelines the EPA requires. Air quality officials from cities and states across the country have testified before Congress that they may run out of controls before they even reach the levels mandated by the EPA. Manufacturers appreciate that the EPA is acknowledging this very real problem.

The EPA also announced it would continue to look into three issues the NAM raised in its comments on the 2015 rule and in subsequent requests to the agency: (1) how the EPA calculates background ozone; (2) the impact of emissions from outside the United States on local ozone levels; and (3) timely consideration of exceptional events designations. Fixing these issues will go a long way toward more flexibility for manufacturers as they continue to reduce their emissions.

Senate Panel to Focus on Ozone Implementation Challenges

By | Environment, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

This afternoon, the Senate Environment and Public Works‎ Committee will hold a hearing to examine the implementation of the 2015 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ozone standard and to discuss legislation to improve the challenges this new regulation has created for manufacturers. In late 2015, in the face of overwhelming opposition from governors, mayors, economic development councils, transportation authorities and all segments of the industry, the EPA tightened the ozone standard to 70 parts per billion (ppb), down from 75 ppb. This move was certain to place counties across the United States into nonattainment, essentially turning them into no-grow zonesthat businesses typically avoid.

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) didnt like the new standard—in fact, we were forced to enlist our own Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action to litigate the final rule—but if that standard is to stay in place, we certainly need help implementing it. More importantly, we need help now, since the 2015 rules deadlines are still running. For many areas, the pain could start very soon.

For instance, the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District told a House subcommittee last year that, to reduce ozone, it already has taken such extreme steps as banning residents from using their fireplaces in most winter months and implementing regulations that limit the amount of time lids can be off paint cans. Even with these measures, they will not meet the current ozone standard even if they eliminate emissions from all stationary and area sources, off-road equipment, farm equipment, passenger vehicles and heavy-duty trucks. It’s not just California that has these problems. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources noted in its 2015 comments to the proposed rule that there were no effective control measures left available to the state, beyond those already identified and being implemented, to reduce ozone levels in the Atlanta nonattainment area.

The committee will examine two bills ‎designed to address Ozone implementation issues: the Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2017 (S. 263) and the ORDEAL Act of 2017 (S. 452). Both would create a more flexible glide path for manufacturers to comply with the 2015 standard, allowing reductions to continue through 2025 without the unnecessary economic pain of ozone nonattainment. Both would also change the five-year review cycle for new standards to a more reasonable 10-year cycle, which is the typical time the agency needs to complete these reviews. S. 263 also takes positive steps to address manufacturers’ permitting challenges as they pertain to ozone standards and requires real examination of the impact of international air pollution on domestic ozone levels.

The NAM looks forward to working with the committee to fix the implementation challenges related to the 2015 ozone standards.

PRESS RELEASE: President Trump Hits the Reset Button on Auto Emissions Rule

By | Environment, Shopfloor Main, Transportation | No Comments

Timmons: Let’s Get CAFE Correct for Manufacturers and Consumers

Today, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) commended President Donald Trump for announcing that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Transportation (DOT) would reconsider an EPA midnight regulation impacting automobile fuel economy requirements and emissions standards, or the program known as the corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards. In doing so, the president committed to restoring the midterm review of emissions standards that uses the best available data. This has been a key manufacturing priority outlined in the NAM’s “Competing to Win” agenda, to ensure smart, balanced and effective regulations with input from a range of stakeholders. Read More

NAM Key-Votes Congressional Resolution of Disapproval on Methane Rule

By | Environment, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

National Association of Manufacturers Senior Vice President of Policy and Government Relations Aric Newhouse issued the following key-vote letter in support of H. J. Res. 36, providing for congressional disapproval of the rule submitted by the Bureau of Land Management relating to waste prevention, production subject to royalties and resource conservation.

KVL H.J.Res 36

 

Manufacturers Support Rollback of RMP Rule

By | Environment, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

Manufacturers strongly support Rep. Markwayne Mullin’s (R-OK) Disapproval Petition under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Accidental Release Prevention Requirements: Risk Management Programs under the Clean Air Act (RMP rule). The National Association of Manufacturers has long expressed concerns over the EPA’s proposed and, ultimately, final approach in this rule, which will create significant additional burdens without any safety benefits. The EPA’s RMP rule will overlap and conflict with other federal programs designed to promote safety and security, meaning that the EPA’s proposal will be duplicative and add regulatory burdens for manufacturers—and likely inconsistencies—with no additional benefits. In addition, the disclosure requirements raise concerns related to sensitive business and security data, which could actually threaten facility security.

Manufacturers support the CRA Disapproval Petition offered by Rep. Mullin and look forward to working with him, the other cosponsors and the rest of Congress to ensure this legislation makes it to the president’s desk for his signature.

 

 

Energy-Efficiency Bill Introduced in House and Senate to Promote Public–Private Partnerships

By | Energy, Environment, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

Yesterday, Sens. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Chris Coons (D-DE) as lead sponsors, Rob Portman (R-OH) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) as original cosponsors and Reps. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and Peter Welch (D-VT) introduced the PublicPrivate Partnership Act of 2017, a bill that would encourage the increased use of energy-efficiency tools, services and products in federal facilities. Improving the energy efficiency of federal facilities is a win-win-win. It’s a win for manufacturers who make and supply the equipment; a win for taxpayers who will see their government spend less money on energy bills and directed more toward other public uses; and a win for environmental protection, as greater energy-efficiency deployment often equates to a smaller environmental footprint for buildings and other facilities. Read More