Washington, D.C. – National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released the following statement after joining President Donald Trump at the White House as he announced proposed updates to the National Environmental Policy Act implementing regulations.
President Trump is once again taking action to power our industry—and our economy—forward. The NAM’s Building to Win infrastructure plan called for exactly this type of modernization—because our efforts should be used for building the infrastructure Americans desperately need, not wasted on mountains of paperwork and endless delays.
We thank the administration for listening to manufacturers—and working to ensure that the 21st-century highways, bridges, power lines, cell towers and more that we rely on get built. Our hope is that these improvements will modernize infrastructure permitting so we can get more shovels in the ground and even more manufacturers to work. Manufacturers will continue keeping our promise to reduce our environmental footprint through innovation and sustainable practices—because we know that economic growth and environmental stewardship can and must go hand-in-hand.
The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12.8 million men and women, contributes $2.38 trillion to the U.S. economy annually, has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for more than three-quarters of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the Manufacturers or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.
The Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action is the voice for manufacturers in the courts, fighting to advance policy objectives and advocate for strategic manufacturing interests. National Association of Manufacturers Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary Linda Kelly leads the MCLA. Here she breaks down manufacturers’ biggest victories in 2019 and what is ahead for 2020.
What were the key legal issues for manufacturers this year?
Manufacturers face all sorts of issues in the courts. And even though only one company’s name may be on a case, the outcome can have profound effects across the entire industry on everything from project permitting to free speech.
This year, we filed amicus—or “friend of the court”—briefs in 74 cases. These address issues like regulatory overreach, product liability, labor and employment law, environmental issues, arbitration, class actions, free speech of manufacturers, ERISA, Alien Tort Statute, tax and international issues. If it matters to manufacturers, we’re on it.
We are also part of a dozen ongoing cases, including ones related to tax incentives, regulatory certainty and the manufacturing workforce. In the environmental space, the NAM has intervened in several cases to protect sensible pro-manufacturing regulatory reforms.
What legal wins did manufacturers accomplish in 2019?
We saw big wins this year invalidating the onerous Waters of the United States rule, preserving energy infrastructure projects, protecting Clean Air Act permitting reforms, securing manufacturers’ rights against government compelled speech, reversing overbroad collective bargaining interpretations by the National Labor Relations Board and more.
What does the invalidation of the 2015 Waters of the United States rule mean for manufacturers?
In two words: clarity and certainty. The 2015 rule was bafflingly unclear and uncertain. It left manufacturers to wonder whether wet areas on their property required a federal permit for any commercial activity there—at the risk of fines of $50,000 per day or more for the “wrong” interpretation. Two federal courts invalidated the rule in response to NAM litigation, which followed a NAM-led win in the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018 that allowed those cases to move forward. Soon thereafter, the EPA formally rescinded the rule.
What legal issues should manufacturers pay attention to in 2020?
Federal agencies will continue their regulatory reform efforts, and groups opposed to those reforms will continue to sue to block them. The MCLA stands ready to intervene in those cases or file briefs to provide the manufacturing perspective to the courts.
We are likely to see appellate court rulings next year interpreting whether making and selling energy products is a “public nuisance” for which companies can be held liable. We are confident the courts will apply the law fairly and reject these groundless lawsuits. But if a court finds in favor of the plaintiffs, we could see the U.S. Supreme Court again weigh in on the scope of public nuisance law.
Plaintiffs’ lawyers will keep trying to twist legal precedent to profit at the expense of manufacturers, and the MCLA will fight them every step of the way to benefit the people who make things in America.
To advance its efforts as a leader in sustainability, General Mills set a goal to reduce absolute greenhouse gas emissions across its full value chain by 28 percent by 2025. To achieve this, the global food company identified three key opportunity areas: implementing sustainable agricultural processes, streamlining production operations and optimizing the consumer experience.
First, the company is addressing sustainability at its roots. General Mills’ work to reduce emissions across their full value chain starts at the farm level. The company works with suppliers and farmers to implement practices like regenerative agriculture, dairy management and reforestation.
Second, it is optimizing production operations—processes like mixing, cooking, toasting, freezing and packaging—that generate the bulk of production-related greenhouse gas emissions. The supply chain team significantly reduced this impact by consolidating some production operations and reducing the average emissions intensity of electricity the company purchased.
Finally, it’s improving the customer experience. On the consumer end, activities like shopping, preparing, eating and disposing of food products also generate greenhouse gas emissions. General Mills’ portfolio has shifted to more products that do not require cooking or refrigeration, which cuts down on related consumption emissions. Recycling was also emphasized on pack.
“The biggest way General Mills can impact climate change is within our supply chain,” said General Mills Chief Supply Chain and Global Business Solutions Officer John Church. “By using our global scale, we work to create value and reduce our footprint for the benefit of consumers, supplier partners, communities and the planet.”
Understanding food waste in landfills creates greenhouse gas emissions, the food company provides philanthropic support to leading nonprofits that make it possible for food companies, grocers, restaurants, distributors, trucking companies and other organizations to donate surplus food so it can be distributed to people in need, while bettering the environment.
“Over the past year, our global investments in food recovery technology with our nonprofit partners have enabled the recovery and redistribution of more than 4 billion pounds of surplus food and our food donations enabled 29 million meals for food-insecure people around the world,” Church said.
“Manufacturers are taking meaningful steps to lead sustainability efforts across the nation,” said Laura Berkey-Ames, NAM’s director of energy and resources policy. “General Mills’ efforts are an excellent example of manufacturers putting sustainability plans into action that make an immediate difference in the lives and communities of their customers.”
In September, the National Association of Manufacturers called on Congress to take action to address climate change. NAM Vice President of Energy and Resources Policy Ross Eisenberg testified before the House Energy & Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Environment & Climate Change and shared what the manufacturing sector is doing to reduce emissions.
Manufacturers are making environmentally conscious improvements because their customers, employees and shareholders have prioritized it — and because it’s the right thing to do, Eisenberg said in his testimony. Over the past decade, manufacturers have reduced the carbon footprint of their products by 21 percent while increasing their value to the economy by 18 percent, according to International Energy Agency data.
The last major congressional debate about how to address climate change was more than a decade ago. To solve this problem, manufacturers must think big, and Eisenberg told the committee that the industry is ready to work with Congress on solutions.
See the highlights from Eisenberg’s testimony below.
At the National Association of Manufacturers’ headquarters last week, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works R.D. James and NAM CEO Jay Timmons announced a major victory for manufacturers. The EPA has decided to withdraw the 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule that was finalized during the Obama administration.
Manufacturers and others have criticized the rule since 2015, arguing that it was overly broad and went much further than the Clean Water Act allowed. In some cases, the rule—which was supposed to regulate places covered in water—was used to control land that is not wet. Opponents of the rule warned that it threatened manufacturing jobs while failing to adequately protect clean water, and a patchwork of legal challenges created uncertainty across the country and paralysis among the businesses and landowners affected.
“The EPA and the Department of the Army finalized a rule to repeal the previous administration’s overreach in the federal regulation of U.S. waters and recodify the longstanding and familiar regulatory text that previously existed,” said Wheeler. “Last week’s Step 1 action fulfills a key promise of President Trump and sets the stage for Step 2—a new WOTUS definition that will provide greater regulatory certainty for farmers, landowners, homebuilders and developers nationwide.”
“This decision by the EPA clears away a vague and onerous rule that put impossible burdens on manufacturers and other landowners nationwide,” said Ross Eisenberg, Vice President of Energy and Resources Policy at the National Association of Manufacturers. “Americans deserve clean water, and that requires smart water policy that is practical and effective.”
Over the past four years, the NAM submitted multiple sets of comments regarding the 2015 WOTUS rule to better inform policymakers. In addition, the NAM supported President Donald Trump’s 2017 executive order instructing the EPA to rescind the rule, and the NAM’s Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action has been in active litigation against the rule since July 2015. The legal battle included a unanimous victory for the MCLA at the U.S. Supreme Court on a key procedural issue, and earlier this year federal judges invalidated the rule.
With the 2015 WOTUS rule now rescinded, the NAM is continuing its work to provide policy insight and expertise for a new version of the rule that is consistent with the Clean Water Act and protects American waters while providing certainty for manufacturers and landowners around the country.
“Manufacturers will continue to fight for fair and clear regulations that empower us to be responsible stewards of the environment while growing the U.S. economy,” said Eisenberg. “Our industry represents more than 12.8 million employees in communities across the country, and we are committed to ensuring that the environment in which they live and work is safe, clean and well-protected.”
This week, the National Association of Manufacturers helped move the manufacturing industry forward on three major fronts.
- The NAM’s workforce and education partner, the Manufacturing Institute, announced it will expand Toyota North America’s successful FAME apprenticeship program nationwide. The MI’s Executive Director Carolyn Lee, the NAM’s CEO Jay Timmons, Special Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump, TMNA’s Executive Vice President Chris Nielsen and Ingersoll Rand CEO Michael Lamach shared this news during a roundtable with FAME apprentices.
- At the NAM’s headquarters, Export-Import Bank President and Chairwoman Kimberly Reed participated in a roundtable with manufacturers to discuss the critical bank reauthorization.
- Also at the NAM’s headquarters, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler and Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works R.D. James joined Timmons to announce the finalization of a rule to repeal the controversial 2015 Waters of the United States rule and clear the way for a new rule to protect America’s water resources without overstepping the bounds of the law.
Washington, D.C. – Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler and Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works R.D. James joined National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons at NAM headquarters to announce the finalization of a rule to repeal the controversial 2015 Waters of the United States rule and clear the way for a new rule to protect America’s water resources without overstepping the bounds of the law. Manufacturers sought this action from the EPA and for decades have advocated for clear rules to protect clean water and provide long-term certainty for economic growth.
Today, EPA and the Department of the Army finalized a rule to repeal the previous administration’s overreach in the federal regulation of U.S. waters and recodify the longstanding and familiar regulatory text that previously existed, said Administrator Wheeler. Today’s Step 1 action fulfills a key promise of President Trump and sets the stage for Step 2—a new WOTUS definition that will provide greater regulatory certainty for farmers, landowners, homebuilders and developers nationwide.
America is now one step closer to smart and balanced regulation that protects our nation’s precious water resources, said Timmons. Courts already declared the 2015 rule illegal, following years of litigation that included a 9-0 victory for the NAM at the Supreme Court, so manufacturers are pleased to see it officially struck from the books. The old water rule, which sought to regulate dry land, was confusing and counterproductive. Manufacturers are committed to environmental stewardship, so now we look forward to a new, more effective rule to protect clean water.
The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12.8 million men and women, contributes $2.38 trillion to the U.S. economy annually, has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for more than three-quarters of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the Manufacturers or to follow us on Shopfloor, Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org
At the Council of Manufacturing Associations summer conference last week, National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons called on the business community to lead in today’s political climate.
At @namcma‘s summer conference, I had the pleasure of speaking with top business advocacy leaders. Our country feels more divided than united. Manufacturers have to be advocates for individual liberty and equal opportunity.
— Jay Timmons (@JayTimmonsNAM) August 12, 2019
Timmons urged business leaders to show Americans the good that their companies are doing in communities, rejecting discrimination and bigotry and doubling down on free enterprise and individual liberties.
The solution is not to go on the attack or get defensive, nor is it siding with one party over the other. There’s dangerous thinking on both sides of the aisle. We have to show Americans the good our companies do every day. We’re changing and saving lives.
— Jay Timmons (@JayTimmonsNAM) August 12, 2019
If we aren’t advocates for individual liberty and equal opportunity, Americans will be drawn to those voices that don’t share our values of free enterprise and competitiveness. We have to take the lead.
— Jay Timmons (@JayTimmonsNAM) August 12, 2019
In a recent National Association of Manufacturers survey, 80 percent of manufacturers said they had a sustainability policy in place or were developing one. Freight railcar equipment designer and manufacturer The Greenbrier Companies is making strides through innovative sustainable design—from reducing railcar tare weight to efficiently building marine vessels.
“At Greenbrier, we pride ourselves on manufacturing among the most environmentally friendly forms of transportation while simultaneously improving our production processes and engineering designs,” said Jack Isselmann, Senior Vice President, External Affairs & Communications. “This promotes long-term sustainability across the transportation and shipping industries.”
These innovations present exciting opportunities for long-term progress. Greenbrier has introduced innovative railcar designs since 1985, beginning with the double-stack intermodal unit. Prior to its inception, the number of trailer-equivalent units per train maxed out at 120. With the ability to stack two units per railcar, that number quickly grew to over 200 units per train, saving space, time and money.
In addition, Greenbrier aims to make its operations more efficient by minimizing the weight and length of an individual railcar while simultaneously increasing its volume, allowing for more railcar units per train. Through a process called articulation—which reduces the weight of one railcar by making it share axles with another—Greenbrier is decreasing the space between railcars, ensuring that more may be included in trains and allowing for greater efficiency through a larger volume of transported products. Additionally, articulation increases braking efficiencies, which reduces fuel usage and greenhouse gas emissions.
“Manufacturers across the country are making operational changes that promote sustainability and prioritize our environment,” said Laura Berkey-Ames, Director of Resources and Energy Policy at the National Association of Manufacturers. “With 12 million employees throughout all 50 states, the manufacturing industry understands the positive impact our sustainability efforts can have—and we are committed to setting an example for other industries nationwide.”
For more information on Greenbrier’s approach to corporate responsibility, see its inaugural Environmental, Social and Governance report.
In the eyes of manufacturers, the need to act to preserve our environment and protect our planet is beyond question. That’s why, for years, manufacturers across the country have taken steps to reduce pollution, invest in sustainable operations and protect the environment in their communities and across the globe.
Continuing in that effort, the National Association of Manufacturers unveiled a new strategic initiative designed to fight climate change, promote environmental sustainability and promote U.S. leadership in the development and deployment of new, transformational energy solutions. The recently announced Energy Advance Center will lead a multi-pronged effort to educate policymakers in Washington, D.C., and to advocate at the federal and state levels on the technical, economic and regulatory issues affecting the widespread deployment of technologies that help to capture harmful pollutants.
These methods and technologies, known collectively as Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS), are critical to reducing carbon dioxide emissions, enhancing U.S. energy security and competitiveness and maintaining U.S. leadership in the development and deployment of new, transformational energy solutions. With a footprint that is not just national, but global in scope, manufacturers are dedicated to developing, deploying and advancing technologies that promote carbon capture utilization, which is designed to collect and store waste carbon dioxide to mitigate global warming.
“The launch of the Energy Advance Center (EAC) is yet another example of manufacturers keeping our promise to drive economic growth while building a future with cleaner air and water and a healthier environment,” said NAM Vice President of Energy and Resources Policy Ross Eisenberg. “CCUS is one of the most promising tools to address global climate change, and we’re dedicated to developing this technology here in the U.S.—and to ensuring America continues to lead on this issue.”
The NAM has previously supported wide-ranging, common sense solutions to support environmental protection, while also promoting economic growth. In addition to protecting and improving the environment, these technologies are expected to support the U.S. manufacturing sector and create jobs, demonstrating that productivity and sustainability are fully compatible with one another.
“We are excited to launch this new platform and continue to show that strong economic growth and responsible environmental stewardship can go hand in hand,” said Eisenberg.
EAC expects to expand its efforts through additional strategic partnerships with other industrial sector groups that are working to promote smart, effective carbon management policies, using NAM’s convening authority to collaborate on critical new programs and initiatives. And as manufacturers across the United States find new ways to improve their local and national environment, partnerships will become more useful and more effective.
“Manufacturers are leading the way on climate change,” said Eisenberg. “This new initiative is just the latest opportunity to expand opportunities for the 12 million men and women who make things in America while also creating a more sustainable future.”