UpdateUS chemical trade group praises Obama's push for jobs

26 January 2011 22:29  [Source: ICIS news]

Energy industry blasts Obama(adds paragraphs 1-9)

HOUSTON (ICIS)--The head of the American Chemistry Council (ACC) praised on Wednesday Barack Obama's comments about job growth and economic recovery, which the president made during his state of the union address.

“American chemistry is behind many of the innovations and new technologies that will help create jobs, drive economic growth and achieve the goals articulated by the president," according to a statement by Cal Dooley, president of the ACC.

Those goals include more sources for clean energy, better infrastructure and more efficient transportation, Dooley said. Chemistry could strengthen US defence and develop medical advances that could lower healthcare costs.

"All are made possible, in part, thanks to the discoveries of the chemistry industry, and they are goals that we can all agree upon," Dooley said.

However, the industry's ability to achieve these goals is directly related to the government's commitment to striking the right balance in regulations, Dooley said.  

"While we were encouraged that the president again called for a review of the federal rules imposed on businesses, we urge the president and Congress to look beyond individual regulations," he said.

He urged both to reform the process itself - to ensure that regulations are drafted with sound economic analysis and consistent standards for quality, reliability and relevance, Dooley said.

As the president and Congress develop tax, spending and regulatory policies, they need to keep in mind how those policies could affect innovation, employment and future investment in the US - particularly in the nation's manufacturing sector, he said.

“We look forward to learning more about the details of the proposals outlined by the president last night," Dooley said.

In contrast to the ACC response, the US energy sector on Wednesday was sharply critical of President Barack Obama’s “state of the union” address, charging that the president was trying to demonise the petroleum industry and that he would stifle much-needed job growth.

In his annual address to Congress on Tuesday, Obama called for new government spending on biomedical research, information technology “and especially clean-energy technology” to help spur employment.

To pay for that new spending, Obama said, “I’m asking Congress to eliminate the billions in taxpayer dollars we currently give to oil companies”.

The National Petrochemical and Refiners Association (NPRA) charged that Obama was trying to vilify the nation’s petroleum producers and refiners.

“If his attack demonising the petroleum industry succeeds, it will destroy jobs instead of creating them,” said NPRA president Charles Drevna.

He said that in singling out the oil industry for higher taxes, the president would only succeed in “raising costs for consumers instead of lowering them, and require billions in taxpayer dollars to fund unending subsidies for untested technologies unable to survive on their own”.

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