Manufacturers Need Level Playing Field in Clean Energy Legislation Says Senator

March 10, 2010
Senator Sherrod Brown points out 70% of clean energy components are made outside of U.S.

At a meeting with President Obama and Cabinet members to discuss climate change legislation, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) urged that "done right, clean energy legislation can be a jobs bill."

He pointed out however that the bill needs to promote the "competiveness of U.S. manufacturing through targeted retooling assistance and border equalization measures. A great risk of a weak bill is that U.S. industries incur increased costs, and as a result, cheaper products would be imported from abroad. Thats unacceptable and wont create jobs or reduce emissions.

"When 70% of the clean energy components are manufactured outside the U.S., something needs to change. I've talked with manufacturers and workers across Ohio, and I am worried about our long-term manufacturing competiveness. We can't trade our dependence on foreign oil for Chinese-made wind turbines. The right investments in domestic manufacturing and energy policy will help rebuild our nation's manufacturing base and create jobs."

Brown is calling for the establishment of a national manufacturing policy. And that means "ending Chinese currency manipulation. It means leveling the playing field so that manufacturers in America who are becoming more efficient aren't put out of business from Chinese manufacturers who dont face comparable standards. If we do this the wrong way, energy-intensive and trade-exposed industries will ship both their jobs and their carbon emissions overseas. And that would be a loss -- for the environment and the economy."

Last month, Brown joined a group of eight senators in writing to the EPA to express economic and energy security concerns regarding the potential regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources. Following the letter, the EPA agreed to delay regulating greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources such as manufacturing facilities.

About the Author

Adrienne Selko | Senior Editor

Focus: Workforce, Talent 

Follow Me on Twitter: @ASelkoIW

Bio: Adrienne Selko has written about many topics over the 17 years she has been with the publication and currently focuses on workforce development strategies. Previously Adrienne was in corporate communications at a medical manufacturing company as well as a large regional bank. She is the author of Do I Have to Wear Garlic Around My Neck? which made the Cleveland Plain Dealer's best sellers list. She is also a senior editor at Material Handling & Logistics and EHS Today

Editorial mission statement: Manufacturing is the enviable position of creating products, processes and policies that solve the world’s problems. When the industry stepped up to manufacture what was necessary to combat the pandemic, it revealed its true nature. My goal is to showcase the sector’s ability to address a broad range of workforce issues including technology, training, diversity & inclusion, with a goal of enticing future generations to join this amazing sector.

Why I find manufacturing interesting: On my first day working for a company that made medical equipment such as MRIs, I toured the plant floor. On every wall was a photo of a person, mostly children. I asked my supervisor why this was the case and he said that the work we do at this company has saved these people’s lives. “We never forget how important our work is and everyone’s contribution to that.” From that moment on I was hooked on manufacturing.

I have talked with many people in this field who have transformed their own career development to assist others. For example, companies are hiring those with disabilities, those previously incarcerated and other talent pools that have been underutilized. I have talked with leaders who have brought out the best in their workforce, as well as employees doing their best work while doing good for the world. 

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