Revitalizing American Manufacturing
Scott Paul the Executive Director of the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) was joined by Georgia State Representative Virgil Fludd and Brian Lombardozzi from the BlueGreen Alliance on Friday morning to discuss the potential of clean energy to rebuild America's manufacturing sector.
Over 54,000 manufacturing facilities have closed in the U.S. and millions of jobs have been lost over the past few decades, according to AAM.
The "U.S. Manufacturing in the Clean Energy Economy: State-Level Efforts to Ensure a Domestic Clean Energy Supply Chain" focused on the importance of "Buy America" provisions -- efforts to ensure that American-made products, such as steel, are used for projects paid for by tax dollars, particularly at the federal level -- that he believes will help revitalize the U.S. manufacturing sector.
"There is strong support for this," said Paul. "This serves as an insource incentive."
Paul offered several options to bring this type of policy down to the state level, including adding more transparency to the process. "Sunlight is the best disinfectant," said Paul, adding that simply putting Buy America waiver requests online has resulted in some U.S. companies proving they can build the necessary components, thereby eliminating the need to import them.
State Rep. Fludd focused on efforts to improve the domestic procurement process in the state of Georgia. "If South Carolina can do it, we can do it here in Georgia," said Fludd.
"If we want to increase manufacturing in this country, we need to have a marketplace for it," said Lombardozzi. "There are tools in place to meet the demand."
Lombardozzi spoke about why these sorts of policies are important in the states and how the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership -- a federal agency that helps companies in the U.S. grow -- can help deal with concerns that domestic components or services won't be available by aiding manufacturing companies to transition to creating them.
"We can compete with anyone, anywhere," said Fludd. "This is an opportunity to get good jobs for middle income Americans."
The takeaway from the workshop was that putting America's interests first makes sense for the U.S. manufacturing sector and for American workers.
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