Sens. Kennedy And Carper Introduce Bipartisan Bill To Create Job Certainty for Louisiana Chemical Plants And Their Workers
Feb 16 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.) this week introduced a bill, the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act, to provide much-needed certainty for businesses in Louisiana and other states on the worldwide transition towards next generation coolants. The legislation represents a bipartisan effort that brings together the manufacturing industry and environmental groups to preserve jobs in Geismar, St. Gabriel and the rest of the nation. Action is needed to ensure that the U.S. remains competitive as businesses embrace new innovations.
Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) joined Sens. Kennedy and Carper as original cosponsors.
At issue are hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) that are used as coolants in refrigerators and air conditioners. The hydrofluorocarbon industry employs 593,000 workers in the U.S. and generates annual sales of $206 billion. Because of changing global policy, countries are moving away from using hydrofluorocarbons. The legislation will ensure that the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to ensure a smooth phasedown of the manufacturing of hydrofluorocarbons in the U.S. in order to support the next generation technologies.
There are two plants, Honeywell in Geismar and Mexichem Fluor Inc. in St. Gabriel, in Louisiana that are impacted by the evolving technology. This legislation will preserve Louisiana jobs at Louisiana plants.
"On the surface, this bill seems more complicated than high school chemistry, but really it’s pretty simple. It’s about jobs. And it’s about protecting the investment by Louisiana companies in new technologies and protecting Louisiana jobs,” said Sen. Kennedy. “This bill gives a $206 billion U.S. industry the clarity it needs to invest, transition and protect American jobs. It’s not often that Democrats, Republicans, industry and environmental groups come together to agree on anything, but we are all in agreement on this one.”
“Our bipartisan AIM Act continues support for American development and manufacturing of next-generation HFC-alternatives, while also protecting our environment and helping the U.S. meet its obligations under the amended Montreal Protocol – a true win-win,” said Senator Carper. “After more than a decade of work to support domestic manufacturing of HFC-alternative products, our efforts are clearly paying off with American companies leading the world in this growing industry. While we’ve been creating jobs right here at home, we’ve also been helping our country, and the world, phase down HFC products and limit their contribution to human-caused climate change. As other nations start making similar investments, now is not the time to pull on the reins and stymie the economic growth being created by American ingenuity. I am proud to work with Senator Kennedy and my other bipartisan colleagues to continue to build on our successes and work across the aisle to provide a cleaner planet for the generations to come.”
“American manufacturers are leading the way in using new technologies to develop environmentally-friendly substitutes for hydrofluorocarbons,” said Dr. Cassidy. “This legislation helps workers in Louisiana and creates jobs here at home.”
“I am glad this bipartisan effort will take a real step towards addressing climate change,” said Senator Coons. “Phasing down hydrofluorocarbons will not only have a positive impact on the environment, but will also benefit U.S. companies that have invested in developing environmentally friendly alternatives by providing market stability for their next generation products. This is proof that we don’t have to choose between protecting the environment and growing the economy, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure the bill is signed into law.”
“America’s manufacturing industry is an integral part of our economy and has long been a source of pride as well as quality, good-paying jobs,” said Senator Collins. “This legislation will accelerate the phasedown of harmful pollutants with next-generation, environmentally safe coolant alternatives while boosting job growth, increasing innovation, and attracting future investments.”
“HFCs are a serious threat to our environment that the world must come together to take on,” said Merkley. “With this bipartisan proposal, we can bring a commonsense approach to phasing out HFCs and boost our efforts to avoid climate chaos.”
“The Louisiana Chemical Association commends Sen. Kennedy for his leadership and we look forward to working with him on this important legislation,” said Greg Bowser, President of the Louisiana Chemical Association. “Investments in manufacturing of the next-generation solutions have resulted in hundreds of long-term, sustainable jobs in Louisiana, as well as thousands of manufacturing jobs during the construction of these large-scale manufacturing plants. I encourage leadership to take action on the phasedown of HFCs by passing the AIM Act, and support continued innovation in this growth sector.”
“We commend Sen. Kennedy and Sen. Cassidy for their leadership in introducing the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act,” said Rajeev Gautam, President and CEO, Honeywell Performance Materials and Technologies. “Honeywell strongly supports HFC phasedown as an essential initiative for American competitiveness. Decisive action at the federal level is critical to supporting economic growth and job creation at home and the success of exporting U.S. innovation abroad.”
Statement released by Mexichem Fluor, Inc.- “Mexichem Fluor, Inc. supports the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act (AIM), which provides for EPA to adopt a hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) phasedown in accordance with the schedule in the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer. This bill will help achieve the important and sustainable objectives of this international environmental agreement.”
“Because other nations are already forging ahead on the HFC phase-down, it is important for the United States to maintain its leadership in the development of climate-friendlier alternatives and for American industry to seize the global economic opportunity in the market for alternative chemicals and products. Your bill is a critical step in that direction,” said David Doniger, Senior Strategic Director for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).