WASHINGTON (October 19, 2023) — Chris Jahn, President and CEO of the American Chemistry Council (ACC), yesterday testified before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on the Environment, Manufacturing and Critical Materials. The subcommittee hosted a hearing Wednesday morning on “Exposing EPA Efforts to Limit Chemicals Needed for Life-Saving Medical Devices and Other Essential Products.” Peter Huntsman, ACC’s Immediate Past Board Chairman and President and CEO of Huntsman Corporation, also testified at yesterday’s Subcommittee hearing.
In his testimony to Congress, Jahn stressed the impact of the Biden Administration’s unprecedented regulatory activity on American innovation, manufacturing and competitiveness.
The mounting regulatory challenges we [the chemical industry] face jeopardize America’s economy and our ability to compete with countries like China. The heavy-handed approach the Administration is taking will disrupt the supply chain for critical technologies and everyday products.
American Success Relies on American Chemistry
Jahn noted in his remarks how it is important for “the Biden Administration to see the big picture so regulations are not working against national priorities and the manufacturing economy.” He explained to the Subcommittee how America’s chemistry industry “is innovating to manufacture the crucial ingredients in producing semiconductors, automotive parts, lifesaving healthcare devices, building and construction materials – all critical components of modern life.” There is a way to develop strong science-based regulations that keep Americans safe without banning chemistries outright or regulating them at such low levels that American manufacturing is hindered.
Using data provided by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), ACC has identified more than a dozen proposals specifically targeting the chemistry industry that would impose a collective cost to the U.S. economy of nearly $7 billion dollars annually. “The Administration, and specifically EPA [the Environmental Protection Agency] must put science first and develop regulations that protect health and the environment without killing innovation, weakening supply chain resilience, and sending jobs to countries like China,” Jahn said.
Now is the Time for Congress to Act
Jahn called on Congress to exercise its oversight authority and examine how EPA’s proposed regulations on the chemical industry would restrict access to the critical materials, products and technologies American manufacturers rely upon. “We also urge Congress to consider legislation to improve the regulatory process, streamline permits, and replace overly conservative regulations with flexible, smart, science-based policy approaches.”
A Cautionary Tale on American Manufacturing
Jahn closed his testimony with a cautionary tale on the impact poor regulatory decisions will have on American innovation and manufacturing. “Once a manufacturing powerhouse, Europe’s share of worldwide chemical production is half of what it was only two decades ago. We are witnessing the deindustrialization of Europe across most manufacturing sectors. This is the direct result of ill-conceived regulations and energy policies. The consequences are fewer jobs, less innovation, and higher prices. Do not let America fall into the same trap.”
When Chemistry Creates, America Competes
Last month, ACC launched “Chemistry Creates, America Competes” to help the Biden Administration and Congress understand how vital the chemicals industry is to American manufacturing and the supply chain while achieving a wide range of national priorities, including rebuilding American manufacturing and semiconductor production and clean energy solutions such as electric vehicles, solar panels and replacements for ozone-depleting substances.
It is imperative the Biden Administration, EPA, other federal agencies, and Congress more thoroughly think through the real-world supply chain and whole economy implications of regulatory proposals and outcomes.