US manufacturers launch campaign against climate bill

28 August 2009 18:00  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS news)--US manufacturers have launched a multi-state and multi-million-dollar advertising campaign to defeat climate change legislation that they said on Friday would raise energy costs and kill industrial jobs.

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) said the television, radio and Internet-based campaign in 13 key manufacturing and energy-producing states is aimed at killing HR-2454, the American Clean Energy and Security (ACES) Act, when it comes up for debate in the US Senate in a few weeks.

The ACES Act was approved by the US House on 27 June with a narrow 219-212 vote that was chiefly along party lines. The measure needed 217 votes for passage, and eight Republicans joined 211 Democrats to approve it.

The bill’s principal feature is a cap-and-trade mandate that would impose increasing limits on US industrial and transportation emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases (GHG) - the cap part of the measure - and sell emissions credits to manufacturers and industries, generating income for the US treasury.

The legislation also is known as the Waxman-Markey bill, so named for its two principal House sponsors, Democrats Henry Waxman of California and Edward Markey of Massachusetts.

Opposition to the ACES Act or similar cap-and-trade measures has grown since the House approval, with chemical producers, refiners and energy companies joining a broad coalition against it. State and local government officials also have voiced opposition to the measure, alleging it will raise energy costs sharply and kill jobs.

NAM said on Friday it will try to drive those points home with its ad campaign in 13 states that are important because of their manufacturing or energy industries: Alaska, Arkansas, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia.

Association spokesman Hank Cox said those states have been targeted by the NAM campaign because “it is likely that senators from states dependent on manufacturing and/or energy are most concerned about the impact of climate change legislation”.

NAM vice president Jay Timmons said that “Our message to senators is that the Waxman-Markey bill is an anti-jobs, anti-energy piece of legislation”.

“It will shrink our nation’s economy, make us less competitive with foreign countries, raise energy costs for consumers and businesses, take away disposable income for Americans and cause significant job losses,” Timmons said. Most of those job losses, he said, would come in the nation’s manufacturing industries.

The NAM campaign and other lobbying efforts against the ACES Act are now focused on the US Senate, where opponents of cap-and-trade think they have a better chance of blocking the bill. 

The bill passed in the House with a very narrow majority vote. However, in the Senate any controversial or major legislation must garner support from at least 60 of the chamber’s 100 members if it is to pass.

Cox declined to say exactly how much NAM is spending on the campaign. Part of the campaign’s funding is being paid for by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), a trade group representing about 350,000 small businesses.

NAM has 14,000 member manufacturers, including many chemical and plastics firms.

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By: Joe Kamalick
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