In this Capitol Report:
- Seats Still Available for October 23rd CACI Annual Meeting Luncheon & Gubernatorial Debate
- Double Whammy: Proposed Greenhouse Gas and Ozone Regulations Poised to Hammer Colorado Economy
- NLRB: Starbucks Can’t Fire Cursing, Pro-Union Worker
- EPA Announces Extension of Comment Period for 111(d) Existing Plant Carbon Rules
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State Policy News
Seats Still Available for October 23rd CACI Annual Meeting Luncheon & Gubernatorial Debate
The CACI Annual Meeting Luncheon, which features a debate between the two gubernatorial candidates, is one of CACI’s flagship events. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to dine with CACI members and hear the two candidates, who are seeking to be elected Colorado’s next governor, debate critical business issues:
The debate will be moderated by Shaun Boyd, CBS 4 statehouse reporter.
Although tables and individual seats are still available, CACI members should act quickly.
The Oct. 23rd program will begin with registration at 11:00 a.m. The program will run from 11:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m., including the gubernatorial debate.
October 23, 2014, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Location: The Hyatt Regency at the Colorado Convention Center
Address: 650 15th St, Denver CO 80202
Registration: 11:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Program: 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Fees/Admission: Corporate Table: Members $1,500, Potential Members $2,500; Individual Tickets: Members $150, Potential Members $250. To purchase tables or tickets, contact Tricia Smith at 303.866.9629.
Double Whammy: Proposed Greenhouse Gas and Ozone Regulations Poised to Hammer Colorado Economy
Colorado businesses have long relied on access to affordable, dependable energy to stay competitive and keep their operations growing. In recent years, Colorado has witnessed an energy boom at both the state and national level that has helped sustain favorable price conditions that have helped fuel America’s long-awaited manufacturing resurgence.
With world-leading supplies of coal and natural gas, the U.S. has nearly every tool it needs to ensure that these conditions remain and that manufacturers remain on pace with ever-growing global competition.
Unfortunately, businesses also know all too well how quickly advantages like these can be lost. This is the case now, as job creators in Colorado and nationwide look down the barrel of a pair of new regulations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that, if implemented, would undo the gains that America has made in energy affordability and reliability and drastically undermine the positive progress that manufacturing has made in recent years.
The EPA is in the process of mandating greenhouse gas emissions cuts from both new and existing power plants across the U.S. Achieving these reductions would require the installation of extremely expensive technology, much of which is not even broadly available yet. In short, the cost of producing energy will increase dramatically under these proposed rules, which will render the construction of new coal-fired power plants nearly out of the question.
Meanwhile, research commissioned by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) reveals that the separate new ozone regulations proposed by the EPA could cost $270 billion per year and place millions of jobs at risk, which would make it the most expensive regulation ever imposed on the American economy.
What does these twin threats mean for businesses? In short, it means that the energy advantages that have helped to drive recent growth will fly out the window. In their place will be significantly increased power costs that will reduce profit margins, restrict expansion, and provide an immediate leg up to competitors working every day to meet and beat the prices of American goods.
And if the costs weren’t a big enough concern, the expected power plant closures would call into question something that has long been a given: power reliability. As plants close, power reserve margins inevitably decrease. This means that there is less margin for error and more potential circumstances leading to rolling brownouts. Anyone with experience in keeping to schedules and budgets knows the challenges that can arise from such stoppage of work.
Businesses in Colorado and around the nation have worked tirelessly in recent decades to develop and implement technologies and best practices that have led to drastically and steadily improving air quality. They are eager to continue this work. But businesses can’t support onerous Federal regulation that threatens to do so much economic harm.
The EPA is still taking comments on the carbon rule; it recently extended the comment period by 45 days after being urged to do so by a diverse group of stakeholders that included 53 U.S. Senators.
Federal Policy News
NLRB: Starbucks Can’t Fire Cursing, Pro-Union Worker
Although this final ruling was released earlier this summer, it is still worth bringing to the attention of CACI members because it is the second time the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has said profanity is protected speech in the workplace, particularly when union affiliation is known by management, and even if profanity is offending customers or against business rules.
This case was originally brought before the NLRB in 2010 and decided against Starbucks. The case was re-opened by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in 2012, and the NLRB was ordered by the Court to specifically reconsider whether National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) protections were terminated because the worker’s conduct was so egregious in front of customers that the worker’s conduct lost protected speech status. The NLRB disagreed.
Given precedent set by this case in both rulings, legal experts on both sides warn businesses to take precaution when terminating an employee during a union campaign. In this case, the worker was asked to remove union paraphernalia (which is against Starbuck’s dress code), and, prior to this altercation, the worker had previous, profanity-laced confrontations with the Brooklyn, New York, manager. Because the manager was not reprimanded in the terminating incident and the manager was aware of the worker’s union ties, however, the firing was ruled in the second decision to be motivated in small part by the worker’s union affiliation.
The June 16, 2014, ruling reaffirmed the NLRB’s position that an employee cannot be fired for his or her speech. As part of remediation, the worker’s previous reprimands have to be removed from his employment file, and he must be reinstated as a Starbuck’s employee.
EPA Announces Extension of Comment Period for 111(d) Existing Plant Carbon Rules
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy and the Obama Administration last week announced a 45-day extension of time for public comment on the Clean Power Plan, a.k.a. existing power-plant carbon rules. In McCarthy’s press statement, she said that, although the comment phase had been extended to this December 1st, the EPA will maintain the June 2015 timeline to announce next steps and framework for carbon-emission caps. The Administration cited the number of stakeholder concerns and a Congressional letter as reason for the extension. The announcement also came one week ahead of the President’s participation in the United Nations Climate Summit.
CACI members, to submit comments (general business concerns and/or technical suggestions) can go to the EPA’s eRulemaking portal for more information on submitting comments, or choose from the following comment submission options:
- E-mail: [email protected]. Include docket ID number HQ-OAR-2013-0602 in the subject line of the message.
- Fax: Fax comments to: 202.566.9744. Include docket ID number HQ-OAR-2013-0602 on the cover page.
- Mail: Environmental Protection Agency, EPA Docket Center (EPA/DC), Mailcode 28221T, Attention Docket ID No. OAR–2013-0602, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington DC 20460.
- Hand Delivery or Courier: Deliver comments to: EPA Docket Center, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington DC 20460. Deliveries are only accepted during the Docket’s normal hours of operation, and special arrangements should be made for deliveries of boxed information.