Environment

Business Operations

Rio Tinto Copper Seeks to Power the Future

a person wearing a hat and sunglasses

America’s fastest-growing industries increasingly rely on copper.

The critical minerals Rio Tinto produces play an essential role in making modern life work and help power the clean energy transition, said Rio Tinto Copper Chief Operating Officer Clayton Walker. “Think of increasing demand for things like electric vehicles, the copper plumbing in our houses … transmission lines, smartphones, electronic devices—the things you can’t live without all include copper.”

This criticality was brought home to the NAM during a site visit by leadership last Friday to the company’s Resolution Copper mine, an Arizona project with the potential to supply up to 25% of the nation’s copper demand.

Electrifying a revolution: Rio Tinto—which produces more than 10 different minerals and metals around the world—has copper operations in Utah and Mongolia with joint ventures in Chile and Peru and is working to open Resolution Copper and another copper-mining site, in Australia.

  • These operations are going to become increasingly important as the world’s appetite for EVs grows, Walker told the NAM, because EVs require more copper than traditional vehicles.
  • EV charging stations also require the metal, as do wind turbines, which “can contain up to 4.7 tons of copper,” according to Walker.

Speed permitting now: The U.S. consumes about 2 million metric tons of copper per year but produces just more than 1 million metric tons. However, “by 2035, that demand is estimated to be around 4 to 5 million tons of copper a year,” said Walker. “The question is, where are we going to get all that additional copper?”

  • The answer, in his opinion, should be here at home. Once approved, Resolution Copper will be instrumental in making that happen. “The copper produced at Resolution would strengthen U.S. supply chains, reduce import dependency [and] add jobs, while employing world-class sustainability standards.”
  • At that site, “we’ve been working on permitting for the last 11 years,” Walker continued. “The average time to permit [a mining project] in the U.S. is 17 to 20 years. That’s a long time. We’re not asking people to cut corners, but could we speed that process up?”

Critical minerals list: Policymakers could also help bolster copper and other critical materials production by harmonizing the efforts of numerous agencies to spur domestic production.

  • For instance, the Interior Department curates a list of critical minerals that are “essential to the economic or national security of the U.S. and which have a supply chain vulnerable to disruption.” The Energy Department conducts critical materials assessments for materials vital for energy.
  • Harmonizing these lists “would create more avenues for domestic supplies,” Walker said. “That would help projects get permitted faster and let us supply manufacturers with the minerals and materials they need sooner, including copper.” 

Not your grandfather’s mining company: Another task on the company’s to-do list is changing the public’s perception of its industry.

  • “We aren’t using pickaxes and wheelbarrows,” Walker laughed. “We have a control center that would rival NASA. We use drones, AI and autonomous equipment. Rio Tinto has the first fleet of driverless trucks in the world, and our team continues to leverage and benefit from high-tech innovation.”
  • Effectively conveying the sophistication of their businesses is an ongoing task for manufacturers, Walker said. “We need to continue engaging with schools, educating and discussing the various trades and opportunities available while highlighting the potential within manufacturing—a career path that provides a great job with multiple opportunities.”

The last word: “It’s our responsibility to help show the next generation what opportunities are available,” Walker concluded.

Policy and Legal

NAM Election Playbook: Synergies, Not Sides

a person standing in a room

The NAM isn’t playing favorites in an election year. Instead, it’s redoubling its post-partisan approach to advocacy. NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons’ message to manufacturers: the association will leverage its hard-won, bipartisan influence to advance manufacturers’ priorities, no matter who’s in charge.

  • “That’s what we’re about. Policy that helps people. Policy—not politics, personality or process. That’s what will guide us in 2024 and beyond,” Timmons said in a speech that helped kick off the NAM board meeting this week, before more than 200 of manufacturing’s leading executives in Phoenix, Arizona.

Why it’s important: “Both sides want us on their side,” Timmons emphasized while recounting a recent legislative debate. That trust and respect, he said, translates into wins: agencies modifying rules to avoid lawsuits and high-level White House officials acknowledging the impact of NAM campaigns.

Battles loom: But the very system enabling these victories is under threat, Timmons warned, placing the onus on manufacturers to not just build products, but to empower the NAM to utilize their voices and stories to advance policies that strengthen the economy and underpin democracy and free enterprise.

  • Tax showdown: Any new taxes on manufacturers are a nonstarter, Timmons vowed, staking a claim in the looming 2025 tax fight and reiterating manufacturers’ call for immediate passage in the Senate of full capital expensing, R&D expensing and interest deductibility.
  • Regulatory onslaught: From new Environmental Protection Agency air standards to the broader regulatory agenda, Timmons argued that overzealous rules impede manufacturing competitiveness. He specifically criticized the new PM2.5 standards, saying the EPA “set them at a level that is lower than the EU or the UK, and imposed a compliance timeline that is far more aggressive.”
  • LNG halt: Timmons blasted the Biden administration’s liquefied natural gas export permit freeze, calling it shortsighted and detrimental to both manufacturers and broader U.S. energy and climate goals. “They want to address climate change?” he asked. “So they’re going to have other countries buying and burning dirtier energy? They want to support our allies around the world? So they’re going to force Europe and Japan and others to get their fuel from the likes of Russia?”
  • Immigration deadlock: He criticized inaction on both sides of the aisle, saying border security and workforce solutions can—and must—coexist.

Opportunity ahead: Despite considerable challenges, Timmons sees an opportunity for manufacturers to take the lead in promoting American values and sound policies that fuel the industry’s strength.

  • “This election year, manufacturers can help renew a shared sense of purpose,” Timmons told executives. “Remind Americans why our country—our system rooted in God-given human rights and fundamental freedom—is worth celebrating and defending.” At stake is not just the next regulatory win, but the very system that made U.S. manufacturing a global powerhouse, he said.
  • America’s bicentennial celebration helped us see beyond the divisions of the day, Timmons observed. As we approach the 250th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, “it’s manufacturers who are positioned to cultivate that patriotic spirit,” Timmons said. It’s more than just bottom lines. “We can help mend the divides—so that we can promote policy that will strengthen manufacturing in America.”
Policy and Legal

State of Manufacturing: Strong, But Not Guaranteed

a group of people standing in front of a crowd

What’s the state of manufacturing in the U.S.? Strong and resilient—but under threat.

That was the message delivered by NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons and other speakers at the NAM’s 2024 State of Manufacturing Address at RCO Engineering in Roseville, Michigan, on Thursday.

  • Attending the address were nearly 100 RCO Engineering team members—some of whom are second- or even third-generation manufacturing workers—as well as local education leaders, including Macomb Community College President James O. Sawyer IV and Macomb Intermediate School District Superintendent Michael R. DeVault.
  • The address was the keystone event of this week’s launch of the 2024 Competing to Win Tour, an opportunity to visit local manufacturers and report on where the industry stands at the start of 2024. 

A place of strength: “The state of the manufacturing industry depends on the people in it,” Timmons said in remarks covered by POLITICO Influence (subscription). “And we are now 13 million strong—the largest in more than 15 years. If we can continue on this trajectory, this resurgence, imagine what the state of manufacturing might look like in 2030.”

  • Johnson & Johnson Executive Vice President and Chief Technical Operations & Risk Officer and NAM Board Chair Kathy Wengel echoed that sentiment in her opening remarks. “Manufacturers are improving the quality of life for everyone. … Together, we can lead the way.”
  • And Michigan Manufacturers Association President and CEO John Walsh told the audience at RCO Engineering, “You are making parts here that are going everywhere. It’s a phenomenal story for us in Michigan. It not only helps you as employees here, but it helps your families, it helps your communities. It builds our state. It builds our nation.”
  • “Manufacturing … is an industry that is vital to our economic competitiveness,” said Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel. “In Macomb County, we’re not just witnessing the growth of manufacturing; we’re actively contributing to it. What we are doing here is creating an environment where innovation thrives and where manufacturers can grow as well as compete.”
  • RCO Engineering General Manager Jeff Simek agreed. “The manufacturing brand is coming back, and it’s coming back alive—and you guys are a big, huge piece of that,” he said to loud applause. 

Fork in the road: But continued manufacturing strength isn’t guaranteed, Timmons said. Rather, it’s in large part contingent on sound policy decisions by U.S. leaders.

  • “We will head in the wrong direction if Congress lets taxes go up on small businesses when rates expire next year,” Timmons said. “Or if they hit you with even more regulations—regulations even harsher than ones they have in Europe. Or if they fail to solve the immigration crisis because they put politics over good policy. Or choose trade barriers rather than trade agreements, or … abandon our allies overseas and put our national security at risk.”
  • The recent regulatory onslaught by federal agencies—which Timmons discussed with Fox Business earlier this week—must stop and be replaced with sensible rulemaking done in cooperation with manufacturers, he said.
  • He cited the Environmental Protection Agency’s recently finalized, overly stringent standard for particulate matter and the Biden administration’s decision to freeze liquefied natural gas export permits. This “forc[es] our allies, like Europe and Japan, to buy dirtier energy from countries we can’t trust, potentially enriching the likes of Russia … undercut[ting] our most basic national security objectives,” Timmons said.

No new taxes: The NAM’s message to Congress on taxes is simple: “No new taxes on manufacturers in America,” Timmons said. 

  • “And while we’re at it, Congress should bring back some of the tax policies that made it easier for manufacturers to invest in the future.”

On immigration: The U.S. needs a common-sense solution to immigration, and it needs it now, Timmons said.

  • While manufacturers may not like every piece of the bipartisan border deal that was recently killed in the Senate, “here was my test: Does it make us more secure than we are today? Yes. Does it make our workforce stronger than it is today? Yes. And does it help our allies overseas? Yes,” said Timmons.

Come what may: No matter what the November elections bring, manufacturers will continue to do the jobs so many people depend on them to do, Timmons concluded.

  • “Our commitment is to work with anyone, and I truly mean anyone, who will put policy—policy that supports people—ahead of politics, personality or process. We will stand with you if you stand with us in advancing the values that have made America exceptional and keep manufacturing strong.” 
Policy and Legal

NAM to House: Overturn Air Standard

a man wearing a suit and tie

The Environmental Protection Agency’s recently finalized standard for particulate matter (PM2.5) will hamstring U.S. economic growth, job creation and competitiveness—and it must be reversed, the NAM told the House Thursday.

What’s going on: “The EPA’s unworkable PM2.5 standard … of 9 [micrograms per cubic meter of air] is in line with background levels of particulate matter in many parts of the country,” NAM Managing Vice President of Policy Chris Netram told committee members during “Safeguarding American Prosperity and People’s Livelihoods: Legislation to Modernize Air Quality Standards,” a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment, Manufacturing and Critical Materials.

  • “In other words, the standard is now so low that companies will be expected to reduce their emissions below what naturally occurs.”
  • The result of an overly stringent National Ambient Air Quality Standards level: Large swaths of the U.S. will be forced into “nonattainment” status, making permitting for critical infrastructure nearly impossible and all but guaranteeing job cuts, not growth, Netram said in his testimony, which Bloomberg (subscription) covered.

Why it’s important: A particulate matter standard of 8 micrograms per cubic meter of air—only slightly below the newly finalized level—would result in a loss of up to $200 billion in economic activity and almost 1 million jobs, according to a recent NAM study.

  • As far as global competitiveness is concerned, the new limit effectively cuts America off at the knees, Netram continued. “Europe’s current PM standard is 25; China’s is 35. If we want the next manufacturing dollar to be spent in America rather than abroad, a standard of 9 is simply not feasible.”

What should be done: Lawmakers should introduce a Congressional Review Act resolution to overturn the new standard as soon as possible, Netram urged. The NAM also highlighted key NAAQS reform policies Congress is considering:

  • Extend the EPA review period to 10 years.
  • Allow the EPA to count wildfire mitigation as exceptional “rather than holding manufacturers accountable for PM they can’t control.”
  • Require the EPA to consider the economic effects of a tightened standard.
Policy and Legal

EPA Releases Punishing New Air Standard

a sign on the side of a building

In a move that could have a significant negative impact on manufacturing in the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday finalized an update to the federal air quality particulate matter standard.

What’s going on: The EPA announced a significantly stricter National Ambient Air Quality Standard for fine particulate matter (PM2.5), lowering the level from 12 micrograms per cubic meter of air to 9 micrograms.

The background: America’s air is actually cleaner than ever, due in large part to manufacturers’ commitment to innovation.

  • In fact, the EPA recently reported that PM2.5 concentrations have declined by 42% since 2000.
  • Yet, last year, the agency signaled that it was considering lowering the standards even further, to as low as 8 micrograms per cubic meter—and while the NAM and manufacturers spoke out against the move, the EPA moved ahead.

The problem: If enacted, such an aggressive standard would make it far more difficult and costly for manufacturers to operate in the United States.

  • It would put huge swaths of the country in “nonattainment,” meaning that they would not meet ambient air quality standards. Factories in nonattainment areas would be unable to operate. Permitting would become almost impossible, and economic development would grind to a halt.
  • A recent NAM-commissioned analysis by Oxford Economics found that a standard at this level could reduce GDP by nearly $200 billion and cost as many as 1 million jobs through 2031.

Our take: “The Biden administration’s new PM2.5 standard takes direct aim at manufacturing investment and job creation in direct contradiction to the president’s stated goal of strengthening manufacturing in communities all across America,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons.

  • And it will “mak[e] an already gridlocked permitting system further gridlocked” and discourage long-term investments by manufacturers. 

Unfair disadvantage, tough choices: It would put the U.S. at a disadvantage with global competitors, too, Timmons added.

  • “Manufacturers in America will also be hard pressed to make long-term investment plans domestically as our global competitors have set more reasonable goals. 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.”
  • And it would require state and local officials to make difficult decisions about which critical infrastructure projects in their areas move forward, Timmons continued.

High cost, little impact: What’s more, the tightened rule won’t address the greatest sources of particulate matter, according to NAM partners the American Forest & Paper Association and American Wood Council.

  • The “EPA’s rule delivers a devastating blow to U.S. manufacturing and the economy while doing nothing to address the largest sources of particulate matter, including wildfire smoke,” they said in a joint statement. “This unworkable air rule undermines President Biden’s promise to grow and reshore manufacturing jobs.”
  • “This administration has set the PM2.5 NAAQS at near background levels, ensuring permit gridlock for most manufacturing sectors around the country, while failing to address 84% of overall PM2.5 emissions.”

Next steps: The NAM has spoken out repeatedly against this stricter regulation and will continue to call on Congress to reverse it.

NAM in the news: AFP, Associated Press, Fox News, Daily Caller and Newsweek all covered the NAM’s response to the finalized rule.

The last word: “The U.S. already has some of the strictest air standards in the world, and thanks to manufacturers’ innovation and leadership, some of the cleanest air and best environmental records,” Timmons concluded. “Manufacturers will consider all options to reverse this harmful and unnecessary standard, because it is our duty to stand against policies that hold our country back.” 

Policy and Legal

EPA Releases Punishing New Air Standard

a sign on the side of a building

In a move that could have a significant negative impact on manufacturing in the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday finalized an update to the federal air quality particulate matter standard.

What’s going on: The EPA announced a significantly stricter standard for fine soot, lowering the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for fine particulate matter (PM2.5) from 12 micrograms per cubic meter of air to 9 micrograms.

The background: America’s air is actually cleaner than ever, due in large part to manufacturers’ commitment to innovation.

  • In fact, the EPA recently reported that PM2.5 concentrations have declined by 42% since 2000.
  • Yet, last year, the agency signaled that it was considering lowering the standards even further anyway—and while the NAM and manufacturers spoke out against the move, the EPA moved ahead.

The problem: If enacted, such an aggressive standard would make it far more difficult and costly for manufacturers to operate in the United States.

  • It would put huge swaths of the country in “nonattainment,” meaning that they would not meet ambient air quality standards. Factories in nonattainment areas would be unable to operate. Permitting would become almost impossible, and economic development would grind to a halt.
  • A recent NAM-commissioned analysis by Oxford Economics found that a standard at this level could reduce GDP by nearly $200 billion and cost as many as 1 million jobs through 2031.

Our take: “The Biden administration’s new PM2.5 standard takes direct aim at manufacturing investment and job creation in direct contradiction to the president’s stated goal of strengthening manufacturing in communities all across America,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons.

  • And it will “mak[e] an already gridlocked permitting system further gridlocked” and discourage long-term investments by manufacturers.

​​​​​​​Unfair disadvantage, tough choices: It would put the U.S. at a disadvantage with global competitors, too, Timmons added.

  • “Manufacturers in America will also be hard pressed to make long-term investment plans domestically as our global competitors have set more reasonable goals. 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.”
  • And it would require state and local officials to make difficult decisions about which critical infrastructure projects in their areas move forward, Timmons continued.

High cost, little impact: What’s more, the tightened rule won’t address the greatest sources of particulate matter, according to NAM partners the American Forest & Paper Association and American Wood Council.

  • The “EPA’s rule delivers a devastating blow to U.S. manufacturing and the economy while doing nothing to address the largest sources of particulate matter, including wildfire smoke,” they said in a joint statement. “This unworkable air rule undermines President Biden’s promise to grow and reshore manufacturing jobs.”
  • “This administration has set the PM2.5 NAAQS at near background levels, ensuring permit gridlock for most manufacturing sectors around the country, while failing to address 84% of overall PM2.5 emissions.”

Next steps: The NAM has spoken out repeatedly against this stricter regulation and will continue to call on Congress to reverse it.

NAM in the news: AFP, Associated Press, Daily Caller, Fox News and Newsweek all covered the NAM’s response to the finalized rule.

The last word: “The U.S. already has some of the strictest air standards in the world, and thanks to manufacturers’ innovation and leadership, some of the cleanest air and best environmental records,” Timmons concluded. “Manufacturers will consider all options to reverse this harmful and unnecessary standard, because it is our duty to stand against policies that hold our country back.”

Press Releases

Manufacturers: New EPA Rule Directly Undermines President’s Manufacturing Agenda

Washington, D.C. Following the decision by the Environmental Protection Agency to lower the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for fine particulate matter (PM2.5) to 9 micrograms per cubic meter, National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons released the following statement:

“The Biden administration’s new PM2.5 standard takes direct aim at manufacturing investment and job creation, in direct contradiction to the president’s stated goal of strengthening manufacturing in communities all across America.

“The new standard of 9 and the EPA’s paltry 60-day implementation window will guarantee projects currently under permitting review will have to comply with this onerous decision, making an already gridlocked permitting system further gridlocked.

“Manufacturers in America will also be hard pressed to make long-term investment plans domestically as our global competitors have set more reasonable goals. 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.

“Governors and mayors will now have to make difficult decisions under this untenable standard. New manufacturing investments envisioned by the CHIPS and Science Act, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the energy provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act will be subject to these new requirements. This revised standard will force some communities to choose which—if any—investments can proceed without running afoul of the EPA’s decree.

“By implementing such a radical standard here, our country is ceding our competitive advantage with an unforced error. All of these choices could have been avoided with a more sensible standard and a longer implementation runway.

“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%). Before forcing actions that will curtail manufacturing investment and infrastructure development, the federal government should first determine how to deal with what is occurring naturally.

“To be sure, manufacturers proudly stood up for funding in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, CHIPS and Science Act investments and many of the policy provisions outlined in the IRA. But there is no doubt that our country will be unable to realize the benefits of these legislative accomplishments with this new rule in place. As counties and cities find themselves in nonattainment, this grave mistake will drive investment away from the United States, derail permitting and weaken the economy for all.

“The U.S. already has some of the strictest air standards in the world, and thanks to manufacturers’ innovation and leadership, some of the cleanest air and best environmental records. Manufacturers will consider all options to reverse this harmful and unnecessary standard, because it is our duty to stand against policies that hold our country back.”

Background:

Per the EPA: Nonattainment is any area that does not meet (or that contributes to ambient air quality in a nearby area that does not meet) the national primary or secondary ambient air quality standard for NAAQS.

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. As a result, America’s air is cleaner than ever.

-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.

Policy and Legal

NAM to Congress: SEC Must Fix Flawed Climate-Reporting Rule

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The Securities and Exchange Commission’s pending climate disclosure rule would place an enormous, untenable burden on manufacturers—and impose a disproportionate hardship on small businesses, NAM Vice President of Domestic Policy Charles Crain told lawmakers Thursday.

What’s going on: Crain gave testimony before the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations on the damaging effects of the SEC’s proposed climate rule, which would require businesses to reveal large amounts of convoluted (and often sensitive) climate-related data.

  • The plan would force disclosure of so-called “Scope 3” emissions—those that come from companies’ supply chains—and institute new climate-related accounting requirements, among other mandates.

Why it’s a problem: If finalized, the rule would divert funds from manufacturing growth, including at small manufacturers.

  • “Manufacturing pioneers groundbreaking technologies, including the innovations necessary to combat climate change,” Crain said. “The rule would impose tremendous costs on manufacturers of all sizes—while overwhelming investors with immaterial information. And the SEC hasn’t done the work to show that the rule’s benefits outweigh its costs, or that the rule is even within the SEC’s legal authority.”
  • The proposed regulation would, by the agency’s own accounting, “raise the cost to businesses of complying with its overall disclosure rules to $10.2 billion from $3.9 billion, an additional cost of about $530,000 a year for a bigger business,” according to The Wall Street Journal (subscription).

Costs to manufacturers: Crain told lawmakers that the SEC’s analysis likely understates the true costs of the rule, in part because the agency did not consider the impacts on private businesses.

  • “For the larger companies subject to [the Scope 3] requirement, the SEC has admitted that it cannot ‘fully and accurately quantify’ the costs,” Crain said. “But for the small businesses that are swept into large companies’ Scope 3 efforts, the SEC hasn’t even tried. The SEC’s proposal does not include any discussion of the Scope 3 costs that will fall on small and private businesses.”
  • Crain warned lawmakers that these compliance costs would represent a “huge resource diversion” for small manufacturers.

Regulatory onslaught: Crain shared the NAM’s landmark Cost of Federal Regulations study with lawmakers, explaining that the SEC’s proposal would add to the $50,000-per-employee-per-year regulatory burden small manufacturers face.

  • “The SEC’s climate rule is at the center of this regulatory onslaught,” Crain said.

NAM in the news: Bloomberg (subscription), Law360 and Pensions & Investments all covered the NAM’s testimony. 

Policy and Legal

Why the SEC’s Climate Rule Won’t Work

clouds in a blue sky

Next on our list of misguided, burdensome regulations is a Securities and Exchange Commission misstep: climate rules that would force manufacturers to meet impossible deadlines and disclose sensitive information, without doing anything to protect investors.

The background: Last year, the SEC proposed a new rule that would require companies to disclose a massive amount of information, much of it impractical to collect or immaterial to investors.

  • First, the proposed rule requires qualitative descriptions of companies’ climate-related risks and any efforts to respond to those risks, including internal metrics and confidential strategies.
  • Second, it mandates quantitative reporting of companies’ greenhouse gas emissions, while compelling companies to conduct quantitative climate impact analyses within their consolidated financial statements.
  • The result? An unworkable framework that imposes uniform mandates that do not align with manufacturers’ efforts to respond to climate change—but do impose an enormous burden on manufacturers across the country.

The response: The NAM has laid out a series of necessary changes that the SEC must make to reduce compliance costs and limit liability risks associated with the rule’s requirements. Specifically, the NAM is calling on the SEC to do the following:

  • Strike disclosure of Scope 3 emissions, which requires companies to track emissions data from suppliers and customers throughout the supply chain. While some manufacturers are already working to understand these emissions, the data collection, estimation and reporting methodologies are still evolving—and the proposed mandate could have a disproportionate impact on small businesses swept into the reporting regime.
  • Rescind accounting changes that would require climate impact analyses of companies’ consolidated financial statements on a line-by-line basis.
  • Delay annual GHG emissions reporting, granting manufacturers more time to collect and verify data.
  • Adjust the climate-related risk disclosures and Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions reporting requirements to make the provisions less prescriptive and more aligned with existing company practices.
  • Fine-tune the guidelines for reporting on climate-related goals to avoid penalizing companies that set ambitious targets.
  • Remove requirements that companies disclose competitively sensitive information about the internal tools they use to understand and plan for climate risks, scenarios and activities.

NAM in action: Since the SEC first unveiled this attempt at regulatory overreach, the NAM has been on the move.

  • The NAM led more than 50 other manufacturing associations in a letter calling on Congress to insist that the SEC develop a more workable version of the rule.
  • The NAM also urged Congress to exercise stricter oversight of the SEC, push back against the agency’s regulatory onslaught and ensure the SEC’s rules remain within the agency’s statutory authority.
  • NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons made revising the climate rule a focal point of the NAM’s corporate finance agenda.
  • And last, NAM Managing Vice President of Policy Chris Netram testified about the harms to small manufacturers that would result from the climate rule at a House Financial Services Committee hearing.

The last word: “Manufacturers are leaders in responding to climate change and in informing investors about this critical work, but the SEC’s climate rule is simply unworkable,” said NAM Vice President of Domestic Policy Charles Crain. “Given the complex nature of manufacturing supply chains, the rule’s costly mandates will have a disproportionate impact on our industry—and particularly on small manufacturers. The SEC must rescind, or at a minimum significantly revise, its overreaching and impractical proposal.”  

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The NAM is leading the charge in urging the Biden administration to walk back a proposed revision to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for fine particulate matter (PM2.5).

With the release of a letter signed by more than 70 associations representing nearly every sector of the U.S. economy and a new video advertisement, the NAM is highlighting how these regulatory actions would devastate the economy and actively undermine President Biden’s goal to expand manufacturing in the United States.

What’s going on: When the Environmental Protection Agency set forth the tentative new air quality standards earlier this year, manufacturers quickly recognized that if enacted, the new rules would put an undue burden on the industry—and could force companies to move operations overseas.

  • Soon, manufacturers and related associations across the country began to speak out about the harm to their operations and communities, even as they affirmed the industry’s longstanding commitment to a clean, safe environment for all.

The background: The EPA’s proposed changes to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards—currently under review by the White House’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs— would lower the primary annual particulate matter standard from 12.0 µg/m3 to between 8.0 and 10.0 µg/m3.

  • The EPA has estimated the total cost of the controls required for compliance with the proposed standard at up to $1.8 billion—and that figure could go higher, the agency admitted
  • What’s more, some areas in the U.S. are already in “nonattainment” with the current PM2.5 standard, so a stricter standard will only put them further away from compliance and economic growth.

The costs: According to an analysis by Oxford Analytics and commissioned by the NAM, the revisions would:

  • Threaten nearly $200 billion of economic activity and put up to a million current jobs at risk, both directly from manufacturing and indirectly from supply chain spending;
  • In addition, growth in restricted areas may be constrained, limiting investment and expansion over the coming years; if the PM2.5 standard moves to 8 from the current 12, nearly 40% of the country will live in nonattainment areas, putting jobs and livelihoods at risk as factories may no longer be able to operate if located in an area that is in nonattainment, and no new facilities can be built to grow economic prospects; and
  • Hit California’s manufacturing sector hardest, followed by Michigan and Illinois.

Speaking out: Many manufacturers from all sectors, along with related associations, have made their concerns public.

  • Michael Canty, president and CEO of Alloy Precision Technologies of Mentor, Ohio, pointed out that these regulations may force companies to move production to other countries that don’t care about emissions reductions, unlike the U.S.
  • Mark Biel, CEO of the Chemical Industry Council of Illinois, also worries that this regulation could make his state less attractive for manufacturers, despite its many assets.
  • Dawn Crandall, executive vice president of government relations for the Home Builders Association of Michigan, decried the potential knock-on effects for Michigan’s suffering housing market.

The last word: The proposed changes “would risk jobs and livelihoods by making it even more difficult to obtain permits for new factories, facilities and infrastructure to power economic growth,” leadership from approximately 70 industry groups told White House Chief of Staff Jeffrey Zients yesterday.

  • The revisions “would also threaten successful implementation of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the CHIPS and Science Act and the important clean energy provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act. … We urge you to ensure the EPA maintains the existing fine particulate matter standards to [safeguard] both continued environmental protection and economic growth.”
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