WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced today that legislation he authored, the Investments for Manufacturing Progress and Clean Technology (IMPACT) Act, has been included in sweeping clean energy change legislation being considered today in the U.S. House of Representatives. Brown applauded U.S. Rep. John A. Boccieri (OH-16) and U.S. Rep. Zack Space (OH-18) on their efforts to include the IMPACT Act in the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009.
“This confirms that clean energy legislation is an opportunity for Ohio manufacturing,” Brown said. “I applaud Rep. Boccieri and Rep. Space for fighting to include the IMPACT Act in the House bill. By creating a funding source to help Ohio manufacturers retool, we can revive Ohio manufacturing through investments in clean energy. This will go a long way toward making Ohio the Silicon Valley of clean energy manufacturing.”
“This legislation represents the next step toward freeing our nation from its dependence on foreign resources and it will help fuel our economic recovery,” Boccieri said. “This is about creating jobs right here at home that cannot be outsourced, protecting our national security, and helping our manufacturers retool to thrive in a new green economy. This is about making America stronger.”
The House is expected to vote on the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 as early as this afternoon. The bill includes all major provisions of Brown’s IMPACT Act, which he announced earlier this month.
Brown’s IMPACT Act would help small and medium-sized manufacturers transition to the clean energy economy. Brown’s bill creates a $30 billion Manufacturing Revolving Loan Fund to provide these manufacturers with much-needed access to credit. The fund, distributed by each state, would allow small and medium-sized manufacturers to improve energy efficiency, retool for the clean energy industry, and expand our nation’s clean energy manufacturing operations.
The IMPACT Act would also bolster and modernize the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), the federal-state partnership, to include specific supports for clean energy retooling.  Currently, our nation’s 59 MEP centers receive slightly more than $100 million in federal funds each year, with states matching the federal contribution two-to-one. Brown’s bill would provide the MEP program with $1.5 billion in federal funds over five years to help manufacturers diversify to clean energy markets and adopt innovative, energy efficient manufacturing technologies. Under the bill, the federal share of MEP funding would increase to 50 percent. Based on the MEP’s current average cost per consultation, the additional federal funding in this bill could enable MEP to reach at least 10,000 additional U.S. manufacturers each year.
Our nation’s traditional manufacturing industry, which helped build our nation’s middle class and is critical to national security, currently faces significant challenges. Although the manufacturing sector accounts for 12 percent – $1.6 trillion – of the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) and nearly three-fourths of the nation’s research and development, the domestic manufacturing industry has been struggling. Since 1987, manufacturing’s share of GDP has declined more than 30 percent.
The economic crisis exacerbated existing problems within the U.S. manufacturing industry, and manufacturers continue to face a reduction in demand and a lack of capital. A May survey found that more than 70 percent of manufacturers anticipate difficulties securing credit to purchase raw material and rehire workers as business conditions improve. For the past 16 consecutive months, U.S. manufacturing has contracted. According to the Federal Reserve Board, manufacturing output fell 2.7 percent in January 2009 to a level 13.1 percent below that of only 12 months earlier. Last month, nearly half of the nation’s job losses were tied to manufacturing.
Brown’s IMPACT Act is designed to address these challenges by providing critical access to capital and support for our nation’s small and medium sized manufacturers, which have been especially hard-hit by the economic downturn. By providing manufacturers with much-needed resources, Brown’s bill would enable broader participation in the clean energy sector that is emerging as one of the fastest growing segments of the economy.
The IMPACT Act is supported by the Apollo Alliance, Alliance for American Manufacturing, Blue Green Alliance, Campaign for America’s Future, Environmental Defense Fund, Green For All, High Road Strategies, International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Manufacturing Skill Standards Council, MAPA Group, Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center, Natural Resources Defense Council, Policy Matters Ohio & Ohio Apollo, Precision Metalforming Association, Shepherd Advisors, Solar Energy Industries Association, United Steelworkers, and United Automobile Workers.
# # #