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Jobs depend on energy bill says US manufacturers study

15 June 2005 – Nearly two million jobs could be lost in the next decade if the US Senate does not pass comprehensive energy legislation to be debated this week, according to a recently released study by the US National Association of Manufacturers, the Manufacturing Institute and the American Council for Capital Formation.

The study showed that by 2020, 700 000 jobs in the manufacturing sector could be lost without passage of the energy bill, which is designed to increase energy supplies, particularly oil and natural gas, enhance the diversity of the nation’s energy mix, improve energy infrastructure, promote energy efficiency and encourage research, development and deployment of new technologies.

“US manufacturers face the highest natural gas prices in the world,” said Gov. John Engler, NAM President. “If we are serious about jobs, growth, and competing in the global marketplace, the Senate should take its foot off the brake and hit the accelerator on passing this energy bill.”

The NAM opposes a climate change amendment that might be offered by Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) placing mandatory caps on carbon dioxide. The NAM also opposes a similar mandatory cap and trade amendment by Sen. Bingaman. The study showed that such restrictive energy policies would lead to job losses and economic contraction.

Gov. Engler was joined by Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE), as well as manufacturers from Illinois, Colorado and New Mexico, who are part of a nationwide grassroots effort by the NAM to press for passage of the energy bill.

“Energy is the lifeblood of our economy,” said Ron Bullock, President of Bison Gear and Engineering Corp. of St. Charles, IL. “I’m asking Senators Durbin and Obama to support jobs and growth by supporting this bill.” Bullock delivered copies of the study to his Senators, as well as a petition signed by 170 Bison Gear employees. The petition has been sent to 9000 manufacturers by the Illinois Manufacturers Association, which is spearheading the Illinois campaign.

The study showed that manufacturers will pay 148 per cent more for natural gas and 115 per cent percent more for electricity by 2020 if the US does not implement policies to increase supplies of affordable energy. Without policies to expand supply, consumers face a 61 per cent rise in gasoline prices.

In releasing the study, Engler urged Congress to include an amendment that would allow coastal states to pursue gas and oil drilling on the outer continental shelf. “We support allowing states to seek offshore oil and gas,” said Engler. “Each state should be able to address its energy needs and seek the revenue that offshore supplies will generate,” Engler said.