The past several years have seen an unprecedented flurry of activity on manufacturing legislation, beginning with the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, continuing with the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (the so-called "bailout" bill), and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA or "stimulus"). All these bills contained important provisions that were intended to encourage greater energy efficiency in manufacturing. Unfortunately, federal agencies have been slow off the mark in implementing these provisions, in large part due to a lack of interest and leadership by the prior administration in meeting the needs of the manufacturing sector. With the arrival of the Obama Administration, we are seeing a major change, starting with the appointment of a manufacturing "czar," Ron Bloom, and the establishment of an interagency working group on manufacturing, for which energy is a key focus.
We are also seeing major new federal legislation developing that will affect the manufacturing sector in profound ways, appearing to offer major benefits. Meanwhile, the impact of broader energy and climate legislation is less certain. This paper will discuss what is contained in the legislation already introduced and will conclude with a discussion of key outstanding issues and how the legislative process could evolve over the coming months.