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Congress approves bill affecting Marshalltown Lennox plant (updated)

by: desmoinesdem

Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 11:10:00 AM CST


This week the U.S. House and Senate both approved a bill to relax some federal energy regulations, including those on refrigerated display cases manufactured in Marshalltown.

UPDATE: President Barack Obama signed the bill on December 18.

desmoinesdem :: Congress approves bill affecting Marshalltown Lennox plant (updated)
The House passed the American Energy Manufacturing Technical Corrections Act by 398 to 2 on December 4. All five representatives from Iowa voted yes. The Senate passed the bill by unanimous consent yesterday. Ramsey Cox reported for The Hill,

Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Al.) introduced the American Energy Manufacturing Technical Corrections Act, H.R. 6582, which combines several proposals that the House and Senate have approved this year, including language that would allow manufacturers of walk-in coolers to use different standards to meet energy efficiency goals. It also eases rules for water heaters and over-the-counter refrigerators. [...]

The bill includes parts of a bill from Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio), S. 1000, the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act. That measure would updates national building codes to be more energy-efficient.

Representative Bruce Braley has been pushing for a portion of this legislation for a long time. U.S. Department of Energy regulations on refrigerated cases would have affected the Lennox Industries plant in Marshalltown. Braley highlighted those efforts in television commercials during his re-election campaign. His office released the following statement on December 4 (emphasis in original).

Bipartisan Braley Effort to Protect Marshalltown Jobs Again Included in House-Passed Bill
Marks second time Braley has passed language through US House

Washington, D.C. - Language written by Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) and Republican Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (GA-03) that would remove burdensome government regulations on refrigerated deli-style display cases that threaten the future of their manufacture in the United States passed the US House today with a vote of 386 - 2 as part of a larger measure, HR 6582, the Energy Manufacturing Technical Corrections Act.

It marks the latest step forward for the bipartisan effort led by Braley.  Earlier this year, Braley and Westmoreland successfully attached an amendment that would lift the regulation to another bill, but the legislation stalled during negotiations between the House and Senate.

Lennox Industries, Inc., which makes the deli-style display cases covered by the regulation, has a manufacturing facility in Marshalltown, Iowa, that employs about 1,000 people.  The adoption of the amendment will help protect Iowa manufacturing jobs.

"This government regulation simply defies common sense and puts jobs needlessly at risk," Braley said.  "The Department of Energy has effectively outlawed refrigerated display cases found in grocery stores and delis all over America.  The regulation is unfair and harmful to manufacturing in Iowa.

"We've worked for months to reverse this misguided regulation.  I'm hopeful that the legislation passed today will be approved by the Senate and quickly signed into law by President Obama."

The problem remedied by the legislation stems from the federal government's interpretation of a 2005 law that increases energy efficiency standards for appliances.  The Department of Energy believed it was required by the law to include refrigerated deli display cases in the same category as standard refrigerators.  However, the inherent design of such display cases makes it impossible for the equipment to reach the minimum efficiency standards set forth for refrigerators in the 2005 law, effectively outlawing their manufacture in the United States.

Braley's continued efforts would create a new energy efficiency category for refrigerated deli-style display cases, effectively reversing the regulation and safeguarding the product's continued manufacture in the United States.

In May, Braley and Westmoreland introduced the Better Use of Refrigerator Regulations Act.  The legislation was added as an amendment to HR 4480, the Strategic Energy Production Act of 2012, which passed the House in June.  The language was also included in a bill that passed the Senate in October, HR 4850, the Enabling Energy Saving Innovations Act.

A photo of the refrigerated deli-style display cases manufactured by Lenox can be viewed below:

UPDATE: Braley's office released this statement after the president signed this bill into law on December 18.

Washington, D.C. - A bill that includes language written by Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) and Republican Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (GA-03) was signed into law by President Obama today.  The language removes burdensome government regulations on refrigerated deli-style display cases that threatened the future of their manufacture in the United States.

The bipartisan bill, HR 6582, the Energy Manufacturing Technical Corrections Act, advanced through the House and Senate earlier this month.

Lennox Industries, Inc., which makes the deli-style display cases covered by the regulation, has a manufacturing facility in Marshalltown, Iowa, that employs about 1,000 people.  The new law will help protect Iowa manufacturing jobs.

"Today marks the successful conclusion of months of bipartisan work to fix a misguided government regulation that needlessly put American jobs at risk," Braley said.  "It shows what we can accomplish if we put our party differences aside and work together to find common ground.  This is great news for workers in Marshalltown and across the country, and I applaud President Obama for signing this bill into law."

The problem remedied by the legislation stems from the federal government's interpretation of a 2005 law that increases energy efficiency standards for appliances.  The Department of Energy believed it was required by the law to include refrigerated deli display cases in the same category as standard refrigerators.  However, the inherent design of such display cases makes it impossible for the equipment to reach the minimum efficiency standards set forth for refrigerators in the 2005 law, effectively outlawing their manufacture in the United States.

With the bill signed into law, the regulation is effectively reversed, safeguarding the product's continued manufacture in the United States.

Braley and Westmoreland have worked for months to reverse the regulation.  In May, Braley and Westmoreland introduced the Better Use of Refrigerator Regulations Act.  The legislation was added as an amendment to HR 4480, the Strategic Energy Production Act of 2012, which passed the House in June.  The language was also included in a bill that passed the Senate in October, HR 4850, the Enabling Energy Saving Innovations Act.

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