1. This week, President Donald Trump signed an executive order “Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth.” The order begins a rollback of the Clean Power Plan, an Obama administration policy aimed at combating climate change that was first proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency in June 2014.
NECA’s Look Ahead: The executive order fulfils another campaign promise President Trump made to coal producing states. The Clean Power Plan was widely considered by the coal industry and many utilities as the Obama administration’s war on coal. The Trump administration expects that the deregulation of carbon emission will increase coal production and use throughout the country. The executive order begins what is to be another complex and lengthy legal battle for the Trump administration. It could take years for the EPA administrator to carry out the process of withdrawing and revising the regulations. Additionally, several states including New York and California have already filed lawsuits against the order.
2. Late last week, Rep. Donald Norcross (D-NJ), accompanied by Rep. David McKinley (R-WV), introduced the NECA-supported 21st Century Energy Workforce Act (H.R. 1837) to direct the Department of Energy (DOE) to incentivize training for skilled energy industry jobs. The bill would establish a competitive grant that gives priority to qualified job training programs at universities, community colleges, and recognized apprenticeship programs. In addition to this grant, the legislation would create a DOE advisory board charged with fulfilling the workforce needs of the energy industry.
NECA’s Look Ahead: NECA and the IBEW strongly support introduction of the 21st Century Energy Workforce Act. The approval of this bill is a compelling step in the right direction towards addressing the workforce issues across our industry.
3. The ill-advised and undereducated opposition to PLA’s continued this week with the introduction of Rep. Ross’ (R-FL) bill, the so-called Fair and Open Competition Act (HR. 1552). This bill, and its Senate companion bill, S. 622 sponsored by Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), seeks to roll back the institutional consideration for project labor agreements, disregarding the predictability and long-term cost saving benefits of such agreements.
NECA’s Look Ahead: This bill’s attempt to disrupt the effective and efficient process of project labor agreements is of serious concern to NECA. This bill will find strong opposition as it heads to the House floor and NECA intends to vehemently oppose any measure seeking to degrade project labor agreements.