National Association of Manufacturers (NAM)

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Washington DC, United States

Climate Lobbying Overview: The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has engaged negatively with multiple forms of US climate policy while strongly supporting the ongoing role of fossil fuels in the US economy. In addition to legislative lobbying, the association has an active legal program for influencing court cases in its members' interest. In 2019-2020, the NAM evolved its messaging on climate change, supporting certain forms of policy action while emphasizing the need to identify and enable future technological developments to achieve climate goals.

Top-line Messaging on Climate Policy: In September 2021, during negotiations over the Build Back Better Act, the NAM opposed the revenue provisions likely needed to pay for the climate provisions in the bill, as reported by Politico. Previously, In 2017, the NAM supported the US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. In verbal testimony to US Congress in 2019, the NAM appears to have evolved this position, calling on policymakers to take action on climate and supporting a binding and fair global climate treaty. The testimony supported government regulation to respond to climate change with the caveat that any new approach precludes climate liability suits and replaces the “current patchwork” of existing climate regulations across the country.

However, communications from the NAM in 2019-20 strongly oppose the US Green New Deal in favor of what it terms “actionable solutions,” emphasizing the proposal’s unrealistic 10-year timeframe for decarbonization. In 2019, the NAM instead supported bipartisan legislation to identify technological pathways to net-zero emissions by 2050. The group frequently emphasizes long-term climate pathways that rely heavily on new technologies to reduce emissions from GHG-intensive energy sources.

Engagement with Climate-Related Regulations: The NAM has opposed various forms of climate policy in the US, particularly GHG emissions regulations. In January 2022, the NAM submitted a comment to the EPA supporting new methane regulations but with major exceptions, including the need for maximum state flexibility in standard-setting and compliance. In June 2021, the NAM urged the EPA in a formal comment not to rescind the Benefit-Cost rule, a rule that obstructs the enactment of GHG emissions regulation. Previously, the NAM supported the Obama-era climate policy rollback between 2016-2019. In 2018, it took legal action in favor of expanding coal infrastructure while opposing federal regulation to phase out coal power generation units. That same year, it opposed California's vehicle standards in favor of the less stringent federal equivalent. In 2019, however, the NAM supported legislation aimed at phasing down hydrofluorocarbons, though seemingly as a preferred alternative to other forms of GHG reduction policies.

Positioning on Energy Transition: In 2018, the NAM intervened in a legal case with the Colorado Supreme Court in opposition to a rulemaking that would have banned oil and natural gas development in the state. In 2019, the NAM filed several additional amici curiae highlighting the importance of oil and natural gas infrastructure, such as the now-canceled Atlantic Coast Pipeline, to the national economy.

In 2020, NAM CEO Jay Timmons supported the Trump administration’s decision to roll back the National Environmental Policy Act in the interest of reducing “burdensome delays.” Briefings offered by the NAM between 2018 and 2019 demonstrate a strong interest in ensuring that NEPA cannot be interpreted to require analysis of potential greenhouse gas emissions in its review process. In 2018, the NAM’s Legal Action Center was established as a campaign to oppose corporate legal liability on climate change. In the same vein, Timmons opposed measures in 2019 that would have enabled shareholders to hold companies accountable for failing to act on climate change.

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