In an open letter to President-elect Barack Obama on behalf of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, NEMA President and CEO Evan Gaddis has offered the association as a resource for addressing unprecedented challenges facing the U.S. economy. A copy of the letter and its 28 recommendations is available at http://www.nema.org/BarackObama.
“NEMA is the nation’s largest association representing 430 companies that manufacture electrical and medical imaging equipment. Our members serve a domestic market in excess of $100 billion annually, export $20 billion in goods, and represent about 350,000 U.S. jobs,” Gaddis said in announcing the availability of the letter and its recommendations.
According to Gaddis, NEMA maintains a leadership role in creating a more energy-efficient society and its efforts to develop a modernized “smart” electrical grid for the country. Deployment of energy-efficient technologies and products must be incented in climate change legislation, along with funding for advanced technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
On the energy supply side, he recommends support for a long-term production tax credit, research for renewable supply sources (wind, solar, geothermal, and ocean), expanded nuclear energy use, accelerating clean coal technology development, and ending the moratorium on oil and gas exploration in the outer continental shelf. On the transmission grid side, he calls for funding of Smart Grid provisions in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, enactment of a 10-year accelerated depreciation for distribution equipment purchases, and changes to the rate recovery formula for transmission facilities to include power electronics and high-voltage direct current technologies.
The letter also calls for resources at the Department of Energy (DOE) to ensure promulgation of product energy-efficiency rules, incentives for states to adopt and enforce energy building codes, funding for the High Performance Green Building and Commercial Building Initiative, and increased funding for DOE research on advanced solid-state (LED and OLED) lighting technologies. On the environmental front, he notes the industry initiative to reduce and eliminate certain hazardous substances from electrical products and urges the administration to support legislation that would codify the industry’s commitments by establishing a national standard in specified electrical products.
“Rising health care costs are one of the biggest challenges facing manufacturers,” Gaddis said. “A comprehensive approach to healthcare reform is vital to our long-term economic progress and future job growth. The Medical Imaging and Technology Alliance (MITA), a division of NEMA, represents manufacturers of medical imaging technologies that play a critical role in early diagnosis of disease, improvement in patient care and outcome, and keeping people healthy and productive.”
On the international trade front, Gaddis identifies the important role trade agreements have played in opening markets to manufactured goods and removing barriers to export. He recommends that the President seek renewal of expired trade promotion authority, enhance the effectiveness of the Trade Adjustment Assistance programs, and pursue all avenues (bilateral, regional, or multinational) for advancing free trade in electrical and medical imaging goods.
Gaddis further stated that counterfeit electrical equipment is a growing problem and represents a serious threat to public safety. Public policy must be one of zero tolerance for those who manufacture and traffic in counterfeit products. NEMA’s recommendations focus on prompt implementation of the Intellectual Property Rights Act of 2008, including the naming of a White House Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator and providing sufficient resources to protect national borders.
In the areas of consumer and workplace safety, Gaddis calls for full funding and staffing of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, in line with the Consumer Product Safety Improvements Act of 2008, and for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to reaffirm the current U.S. approach to electrical safety by maintaining the nationally recognized testing laboratory (NRTL) program and rejecting EU effort to change our system of safety.
On border and homeland security issues, Gaddis urges the administration to fully fund and support the standards development of Digital Imaging and Communication in Security (DICOS) and to promote the adoption of DICOS for baggage screening in airports, with further expansion to ports and mass transit.
“NEMA will work with the new administration and the 111th Congress,” Gaddis pledged, “to enact a pro-growth, pro-competitive agenda that addresses energy policy, the environment, health care, taxation, consumer safety, work force issues, and international trade.”
NEMA is the trade association of choice for the electrical manufacturing industry. Founded in 1926 and headquartered near Washington, D.C., its approximately 450 member companies manufacture products used in the generation, transmission and distribution, control, and end-use of electricity. These products are used in utility, medical imaging, industrial, commercial, institutional, and residential applications. Domestic production of electrical products sold worldwide exceeds $120 billion. In addition to its headquarters in Rosslyn, Virginia, NEMA also has an office in Mexico City.