Environment

Policy and Legal

NAM, Partners File Opening Brief in Suit Against EPA

On Thursday, the NAM, joined by other business groups, filed the opening brief in their pending lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency.

What’s going on: In March, the groups petitioned the D.C. Circuit to review the EPA’s reconsideration of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for fine particulate matter (or PM2.5), which lowers the allowable level to 9 micrograms per cubic meter of air from 12, a 25% reduction. The agency handed down the final, tightened rule in February.

  • In their brief, the coalition argues that the EPA lacks the authority under the Clean Air Act—the law that authorizes it to establish the NAAQS—to “reconsider” a decision made in 2020 to not lower the PM2.5 standard; that the agency failed to take into account the cost and feasibility of a tightened standard; and that it failed to give a “reasoned explanation for key aspects of its decision.”
  • The groups participating in the suit with the NAM are the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Chemistry Council, the American Petroleum Institute, the American Forest & Paper Association, the American Wood Council, the National Mining Association and the Portland Cement Association.

Why it’s important: The tighter NAAQS rule could result in many parts of the U.S. being designated as in nonattainment, which would trigger significant new costs for manufacturers and others attempting to obtain air permits in those locations.

  • Many of these areas “are indisputably handicapped in their ability to reduce emissions to meet the new NAAQS” due to factors beyond municipalities’ and manufacturers’ control (i.e., wildfires, which affect most of the contiguous U.S. at some point each year).
  • The new rule could also prevent manufacturers from building or modifying facilities in certain areas, undermining the Biden administration’s own “Investing in America” agenda, as it would stifle investment in manufacturing and kill—not create—well-paying manufacturing jobs.

What should be done: The rule should be vacated as soon as possible, the groups told the court.

Business Operations

Novonesis Lets Nature Guide Sustainability Plans

When it comes to good environmental stewardship, Novonesis takes its cue from the natural world itself.

“We are inherently sustainable because we draw from nature,” said Novonesis Senior Vice President of Planetary Health Biosolutions Rene Garza. “As biology matures, we find that nature has evolved to be an efficient utilizer of every single resource out there.”

Back to basics: It’s the perfect model for the newly formed Lyngby, Denmark–headquartered biosolutions firm, the product of a January merger between two Danish legacy companies: enzyme and microbial technology firm Novozymes and bioscience supplier Chr. Hansen.

  • The portfolio of Novonesis—which is a combination of the Greek words for “new” and “beginning”—includes enzymes, microbes, novel vitamins and other naturally derived offerings.
  • The business has customers across more than 30 industries: food and beverages, animal health and nutrition, energy, fine chemicals, dietary supplements, household care, plastics, plant health and more. 

An early adopter: Legacy firm Novozymes set its sights on sustainable business practices more than two decades ago. In 2002, it became the first company in the world to publish a triple bottom-line integrated report.

  • “We recognized early on that resources are finite, and the need to do more with less is part of ensuring a better quality of life,” Garza said of the company’s decision to undertake the annual report, a method of stocktaking on sustainability activities using three “bottom lines”: profit, people and planet. “We realized we’re not just here to generate money, but also to create an impact on society and our environment.”

Big goals: That’s why Novonesis has set lofty aims for itself (and is meeting them).

  • Firmwide targets include carbon net neutrality by 2050, as well as a 75% reduction in emissions from its own operations and a 35% reduction in emissions from its supply chain by 2030.
  • How is it doing all this? Innovation and persistence, according to Garza. “We want to improve our efficiency by as much as we can, and we do this by making improvement to our hardware—pump replacements, reengineering [of] our microorganisms. We also source renewable energy.”
  • In fact, Novonesis is on track to source 100% of its energy from renewables by next year. Between 2018 and 2022, it reduced absolute emissions by 63% while increasing revenue. 

Water, too: Novonesis knows how important water use is in the overall sustainability picture.

  • The company is piloting a reverse-osmosis filtration system at its North America headquarters in Franklinton, North Carolina, that lets it recycle and reuse water. The program, scheduled for full operationality by next year, is going so well there are plans to replicate it at other Novonesis facilities worldwide.
  • And at the company headquarters in Denmark, “we have been able to recycle 58 million liters [of water]—the equivalent of 23 Olympic-size swimming pools,” Garza reported.

What government can do: Novonesis and other manufacturers are making great strides in sustainability, but having the right policies in place at the federal level would make it easier for them to do more with less, Garza continued.

  • “We need regulatory reform,” he told the NAM. “Federal regulations, if done well, really can drive innovation, particularly in biotechnology. … The government should [also] invest in pilot and demo scale fermentation capacity to allow startups to scale up.”
  • The U.S. has the largest concentration of startup companies in the world, he went on, but there is now a “valley of death” between discovery and commercialization of innovations in biology, which federal funding could help remove.
  • Finally, manufacturing in the U.S. needs the reinstatement of pro-growth policies from the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, including 100% expensing for research and development costs and accelerated depreciation for capital investments.

Stakeholder education: Getting more people aboard the sustainability train is doable—but it will require continued education campaigns.

  • “We need long-term thinking [and] to encourage stakeholders to prioritize the long-term over short-term gains,” Garza said. “Sustainability is about balancing immediate and future needs.”
Policy and Legal

NAM and Allies: PM2.5 Standard Will Hurt Manufacturers, Economy

The EPA’s overly stringent final rule on particulate matter puts continued U.S. innovation and economic growth in jeopardy, the NAM and allied groups told congressional leaders Monday.

What’s going on: In March, the EPA lowered the standard for particulate matter, or PM2.5, in its National Ambient Air Quality Standards rule by 25%, down from 12 micrograms per cubic meter of air to nine.

  • This week, the NAM, along with 58 allied organizations, urged key House and Senate members to act soon to “stop this harmful rule before it takes effect.”

​​​​​​​Why it’s important: The probable negative effects of allowing the change include “making it more difficult to create jobs, build cutting-edge factories and lead the world in the development of products that will shape modern life in the decades ahead,” the groups said.

  • Compliance costs could exceed $1.8 billion, according to the agency’s own estimates.
  • The lowered limit also puts the U.S. at a great disadvantage to global competitors, which “have adopted standards that are less stringent than the EPA rule and are phased in over a much longer time frame.”

What needs to happen: Congress should pass a resolution of disapproval regarding the new standard immediately.

Press Releases

EPA’s Power Plant Rule Is Unachievable Without Substantial Permitting Reform

America’s Energy Security Is Threatened

Washington, D.C. – Following the release of the Environmental Protection Agency’s new regulations on greenhouse gas emissions standards for certain power plants, National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released the following statement:

“Manufacturers appreciate the EPA removing existing gas plants from its new regulation, following manufacturers’ warnings about the initial proposal. However, the rest of the rule causes serious concern because Congress and the president have not enacted permitting reform—making it impossible to achieve the EPA’s highly aspirational mandates. We call on Congress to get serious by enacting significant and meaningful permitting reform this year. That is essential to ramping up the use of renewables, carbon capture, hydrogen and nuclear, for example, to meet future demand.

“The final rule threatens grid reliability because of the unrealistic timeline for power plants to adopt technologies within the next 10 years that have yet to even be proven at scale. Our nation should be doing everything possible to make sure our families, businesses and manufacturers have a modern, strong and reliable electrical grid, especially at a time when global turmoil threatens our energy security. This new rule does the opposite, creating a threat to our national and economic security that literally could leave Americans in the dark and factories offline. In short, the EPA is rolling the dice with Americans’ electricity and therefore with President Biden’s manufacturing legacy.

“Our industry has made transformational investments in these technologies and clean energy solutions, and we are leading the way in their deployment. The EPA should be partnering with us—not undermining this progress. We will continue to press the administration to achieve a more balanced regulatory framework to help reach our climate goals.”

-NAM-

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 nearly 13 million men and women, contributes $2.89 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and accounts for 53% 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 NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.

Business Operations

Making the Business Case for Sustainability

a person standing in front of a car

Ecolab’s mission hasn’t changed much in more than 100 years. It’s still “bringing science to our customers in a way that drives performance, productivity and less water and energy use.”

  • That’s according to Ecolab Chief Sustainability Officer Emilio Tenuta, who says being climate-minded is not only “the right thing to do,” but also at the core of the St. Paul, Minnesota–headquartered water, hygiene and infection-prevention company’s operating model.

A dual purpose: “We make the business case for why sustainability and [profitability] can go hand-in-hand when it comes to driving solutions,” Tenuta told us recently. “It’s why 48,000 Ecolab associates wake up every morning with the feeling, ‘We’re making a real difference in the world.’”

  • Ecolab—which recently announced that 100% of its European operations are now powered by renewable energy sources—helps millions of customers worldwide reduce their environmental impact while promoting food safety, maintaining clean environments and optimizing resource use.
  • “At Ecolab, we talk about eROI—Exponential Return on Investment,” Tenuta explained. “It’s about understanding that we have the ability to deliver on a business outcome—profitability—while also delivering an environmental impact.”

Don’t forget water: Often neglected in sustainability conversations, Tenuta said, is water. For a full picture of the effect of conservation and innovation efforts on climate, water needs to be factored in.

  • “Sometimes we forget the role that water plays in addressing climate change,” he continued. Depending on the type of manufacturing, up to 75% of energy is driven by the water systems. You have to heat it, treat it, pump it, cool it. …Water doesn’t necessarily get the same headlines as climate, but if you follow the water, that’s going to have a lasting impact” on the environment, while also saving you money.

A holistic approach: In addition to being recognized regularly for its environmental stewardship, Ecolab is routinely named to most-ethical-company lists. That’s no accident; to the company, caring for the planet goes hand-in-hand with caring for people, Tenuta told the NAM.

  • “Workplace quality is just [one way of] demonstrating a holistic approach to the world,” he said. “That’s how we think about it at Ecolab. It’s for us as a company but it’s also for society as a whole.” 

A sustainable partnership: In furtherance of its financial and net-zero emissions goals, the firm recently partnered with Ford to electrify its service and sales vehicles.

  • Ecolab—which has “a longstanding relationship dating back almost 100 years” with the automaker, according to Tenuta—has pledged to both halve emissions from its own operations and help its customers reduce their emissions by 6 million metric tonnes by 2030. “To get there, we need to implement initiatives like electrifying our fleet,” he said.
  • Under the program, Ecolab will buy and deploy more than 1,000 Ford F-150 Lightning and Mustang Mach-E electric vehicles for its employees in California by 2025. The company will then move to electrify its entire North American sales and service fleet by 2030. “This allows us to support our associates so they can be more productive in their day-to-day work serving our customers and getting to net zero.”

Advice for manufacturers: Achieving sustainable operations doesn’t happen overnight—but undertaking the efforts to get there is well worth manufacturers’ time, Tenuta said.

  • “Sustainability requires a multifaceted approach that considers all things: social, emotional, economic. It’s about in some ways taking a longer-term view of progress and opportunity. That can be challenging, but by elevating innovation and long-term commitment, companies can build a more sustainable future … and boost profitability.”
Input Stories

Making the Business Case for Sustainability


Ecolab’s mission hasn’t changed much in more than 100 years. It’s still “bringing science to our customers in a way that drives performance, productivity and less water and energy use.”

  • That’s according to Ecolab Chief Sustainability Officer Emilio Tenuta, who says being climate-minded is not only “the right thing to do,” but also at the core of the St. Paul, Minnesota–headquartered water, hygiene and infection-prevention company’s operating model.

A dual purpose: “We make the business case for why sustainability and [profitability] can go hand-in-hand when it comes to driving solutions,” Tenuta told us recently. “It’s why 48,000 Ecolab associates wake up every morning with the feeling, ‘We’re making a real difference in the world.’”

  • Ecolab—which recently announced that 100% of its European operations are now powered by renewable energy sources—helps millions of customers worldwide reduce their environmental impact while promoting food safety, maintaining clean environments and optimizing resource use.
  • “At Ecolab, we talk about eROI—Exponential Return on Investment,” Tenuta explained. “It’s about understanding that we have the ability to deliver on a business outcome—profitability—while also delivering an environmental impact.”

Don’t forget water: Often neglected in sustainability conversations, Tenuta said, is water. For a full picture of the effect of conservation and innovation efforts on climate, water needs to be factored in.

  • “Sometimes we forget the role that water plays in addressing climate change,” he continued. Depending on the type of manufacturing, up to 75% of energy is driven by the water systems. You have to heat it, treat it, pump it, cool it. …Water doesn’t necessarily get the same headlines as climate, but if you follow the water, that’s going to have a lasting impact” on the environment, while also saving you money.

A holistic approach: In addition to being recognized regularly for its environmental stewardship, Ecolab is routinely named to most-ethical-company lists. That’s no accident; to the company, caring for the planet goes hand-in-hand with caring for people, Tenuta told the NAM.

Read the full story here.

Input Stories

EPA Awards $20 Billion in “Green Bank” Funds

The EPA late last week awarded $20 billion to community development banks and nonprofit organizations to combat climate change in disadvantaged communities in the U.S., the Associated Press reports.

What’s going on: Money from the “green bank” initiative “could fund tens of thousands of eligible projects ranging from residential heat pumps and other energy-efficient home improvements to larger-scale projects such as electric vehicle charging stations and community cooling centers.”

  • Previously called the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, the $27 billion “green bank” overseeing the grants was created by the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act. Its aim is “to reduce climate and air pollution and mobilize public and private capital in the communities that need it most.”

Where the money went: At least $14 billion of the funding is reserved for low-income and rural areas, neighborhoods of color and communities with shuttered coal mines, among other locations.

  • One of the bank’s funds is the National Clean Investment Fund. Grants from that pot include nearly $7 billion to help consumers, schools and small businesses and farms, $5 billion to “leverage the existing and growing national network of green banks” and $2 billion for decarbonized, affordable housing, according to Axios.
  • Another fund, the $6 billion Clean Communities Investment Accelerator, is for centers that offer technical help and lending to clean-technology projects.

How it works: “Recipients committed to spending $7 in private sector funding for each $1 from the federal investment money, to ‘reduce or avoid’ 40 million metric tons of carbon dioxide each year and earmark 70% of the money for disadvantaged and low-income communities. These groups are often passed over by commercial banks and investors yet are  disproportionately impacted by climate change.”

Policy and Legal

NAM, Allies File Suit Against EPA Over Air Standard

a sign on the side of a building

The NAM and seven association partners have filed suit against the Environmental Protection Agency to challenge the office’s overly stringent, recently finalized rule on particulate matter, or PM2.5, the NAM said Wednesday.

What’s going on: The eight groups filed suit in the D.C. Circuit to push back on the EPA’s National Ambient Air Quality Standards rule, which last month it lowered from 12 micrograms per cubic meter of air to 9, a 25% reduction and a stifling burden on manufacturers, the NAM said.

  • “In pursuing this discretionary reconsideration rule, the EPA should have considered the tremendous costs and burdens of a lower PM2.5 standard,” said NAM Chief Legal Officer Linda Kelly. “Instead, by plowing ahead with a new standard, the agency not only departs significantly from the traditional NAAQS process, but also gravely undermines the Biden administration’s manufacturing agenda—stifling manufacturing investment, infrastructure development and job creation in communities across the country.”
  • Participating in the suit with the NAM—which has repeatedly urged the EPA against overtightening the standard—are the American Chemistry Council, the American Forest & Paper Association, the American Petroleum Institute, the American Wood Council, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Mining Association and the Portland Cement Association.

Why it’s important: If it’s enacted, the stricter PM2.5 standard would cost businesses and the U.S. economy huge sums, hampering company operations and job growth and forcing tough choices on states and towns nationwide.

  • The total cost of complying with the new acceptable concentration level could be as much as $1.8 billion, according to the EPA’s own estimates—and that number could go up.
  • What’s more, it would make the U.S. less competitive globally. “Europe’s current PM standard is 25; China’s is 35,” NAM Managing Vice President of Policy Chris Netram told the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment, Manufacturing and Critical Materials last month. “If we want the next manufacturing dollar to be spent in America rather than abroad, a standard of 9 is simply not feasible.”

NAM in the news: The New York Times (subscription) covered the lawsuit.

Policy and Legal

SEC Finalizes Scaled-Back Climate Rule

The Securities and Exchange Commission has approved new climate disclosure requirements that have been in the works for the past two years. Changes made to the rule represent progress for manufacturers—though the industry will still face new cost burdens, the NAM said Wednesday night.

What’s going on: The SEC voted Wednesday in favor of requiring public companies to disclose greenhouse gas emissions and other climate-related information. Thanks in part to ongoing NAM advocacy—which Law360 (subscription) covered this week—the agency dropped its onerous, unworkable Scope 3 emissions mandate.

  • That provision would have forced public companies to divulge information about emissions coming from anywhere in their supply chains—including from small and family-owned businesses.

Heeding the NAM: “The NAM demonstrated for the SEC the practical realities of such a sweeping proposed rule, encouraging the SEC to make significant changes to remove inflexible and infeasible mandates, require disclosure only of material information and protect small manufacturers from the impact of these requirements,” NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons said following the vote.

Key changes: In addition to the Scope 3 change, the SEC exempted smaller public companies from Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions reporting and delayed the rule’s effective dates. The final rule also is more narrowly focused on so-called “material” information (data investors need to make informed decisions) than what had been proposed previously.

Keeping a close watch: The final rule “remains imperfect,” Timmons continued. “[A]nd it remains to be seen whether the rule in its entirety is workable for manufacturers.”

  • “The NAM remains committed to ensuring the SEC acts within its statutory authority, prioritizes flexibility and provides much-needed guidance—just as we are committed to providing leadership in addressing environmental challenges. This is why the NAM is keeping all options on the table as we evaluate the rule’s potential impacts on the manufacturing sector.”
Press Releases

Manufacturers Challenge EPA’s Untenable Air Standard in Court

The NAM Legal Center has sued to block the rule

Washington, D.C. Today, the National Association of Manufacturers joined a coalition of other major business trade associations to file suit in the D.C. Circuit to challenge the Environmental Protection Agency’s misguided final rule lowering the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for fine particulate matter (PM2.5) to 9 micrograms per cubic meter.

The EPA finalized this provision—a 25% reduction from the current standard effective on a truncated timeline of 60 days—outside of the Clean Air Act’s normal five-year review cycle, becoming the first administration to redo a promulgated NAAQS.

“In pursuing this discretionary reconsideration rule, the EPA should have considered the tremendous costs and burdens of a lower PM2.5 standard,” said NAM Chief Legal Officer Linda Kelly. “Instead, by plowing ahead with a new standard that is vastly more restrictive than any other national standard, including that set by the EU, the agency not only departs significantly from the traditional NAAQS process, but also gravely undermines the Biden administration’s manufacturing agenda—stifling manufacturing investment, infrastructure development and job creation in communities across the country. The NAM Legal Center is filing suit to protect manufacturers’ ability to obtain permits, expand facilities and pursue long-term investment plans, and defend our country’s competitive advantage.”

Background:

  • The Clean Air Act requires the EPA to review the NAAQS every five years to determine whether the PM2.5 standard should be retained or revised. The EPA’s revised standard was done in an out-of-cycle reconsideration.
  • In December 2020, following a complete review of the PM NAAQS, the EPA decided to retain the PM2.5 standard of 12 micrograms per cubic meter. But in June 2021, the agency announced it would reconsider that decision.
  • The NAM submitted comments urging the EPA to maintain the existing standard. The EPA recently reported that PM2.5 concentrations have declined by 42% since 2000, driven by major emissions reductions from both mobile sources and the power sector.
  • Notably, the EU standard is currently 25, and a proposal there would be to reach 10 by 2030. The UK has a target of 10 by 2040.
  • The EPA itself says that some 70% of particulate matter comes from nonmanufacturing sources, such as wildfires (29%), agriculture and prescribed fires (15%), crop and livestock dust (12%), unpaved road dust (10%), paved road dust (3%) and “dust” (2%).

-NAM-

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 nearly 13 million men and women, contributes $2.85 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and accounts for 53% 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 NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.

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