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Month: August 2009

Bye-Bye Clunkers

Bye-Bye Clunkers

One of the common threads you'll see in the discussion about "cash for clunkers" is that it was a phenomenal success (see here and here for examples). The program did manage to lift auto sales temporarily by 600,000 units, that much is true. Unfortunately, July and August sales are likely borrowing from future sales as some buyers opted to push forward their purchases to receive the higher trade-in value for their clunkers instead of waiting a few months and settling for residual value. Read more [...]
Nanotechnology Standards Essential for DICOS

Nanotechnology Standards Essential for DICOS

When I learned that NEMA received an award from DHS to write a new Digital Communication in Security (DICOS) standard for airports, I couldn't help but think about the vital role nanotechnology will play in the functioning of critical sensor equipment used in high security facilities.  Yet the reliability of such nano-enabled technology cannot be assured unless there are standard repeatable and reproducible assessment methods.  Enter IEC TC 113.  TC 113 is where standards Read more [...]
More Federal Incentives for NEMA Members…

More Federal Incentives for NEMA Members…

Before leaving on August recess, Senator Bingaman (NM) introduced a bill, S. 1639, the Expanding Industrial Energy Efficiency Incentives Act.  This bill includes the NEMA-advocated advanced motor technology tax credit.  What makes this bill even more promising is that, Senator Jeff Bingaman is the Chairman of the Finance Subcommittee on Energy, so he has the authority to push this bill. This tax credit provides $120 per horsepower to original equipment manufacturers and end-users Read more [...]
Do We Lack the Political Will to Implement a Sound Energy Policy?

Do We Lack the Political Will to Implement a Sound Energy Policy?

Interesting proposal for an energy plan in the WaPo this week. David Crane, head of NRG Energy, observed that while visionary energy plans are nice to ponder -- take, for example, Al Gore's proposal to energize the entire country with 90-square-miles worth of solar panels in the Southwest desert -- Americans want a practical energy plan that will work today.  That means reliable, affordable -- and now more than ever, sustainable -- energy resources. Crane thinks he has a solution, Read more [...]
A Year in the Life of the CPSC

A Year in the Life of the CPSC

On August 14, 2008, former President George W. Bush signed into law the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (Public Law 110-314), landmark legislation to reauthorize and strengthen the the CPSC. At the time, the CPSC was operating with a two-member quorum comprised of one Republican appointee, Commissioner Nancy Nord, and one Democratic appointee, Commissioner Thomas Moore.  The small agency had fallen under attack for failing to fulfill its mission to protect the American people, Read more [...]
Tamper-Resistant Receptacle Requirements in 2008 NEC Adopted in 29 States

Tamper-Resistant Receptacle Requirements in 2008 NEC Adopted in 29 States

With 30 states having completed adoption processes for the 2008 National Electrical Code® (NEC), support for section 406.11, which requires tamper-resistant receptacles to be installed in new homes, has been overwhelmingly positive. Twenty-nine of the 30 states have adopted the 2008 NEC with the tamper-resistant Code intact. These include: Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Read more [...]
Stimulus, Clean Energy, and Democracy

Stimulus, Clean Energy, and Democracy

In my last blog I mentioned Tom Friedman's suggestion that clean energy policy might benefit from a less than democratic policy-making process.  My own opinion was that we did not need to throw out the Constitution for one issue, but within our constitutional framework the legislature could structure the public debate proceedings --- in rulemakings and in the courts --- so that bureaucratic and litigation delay was not the devil we forgot to deal with.  Friedman, in both Read more [...]
More Trouble Brewing on the Home Front?

More Trouble Brewing on the Home Front?

Improving data on new home construction and existing home sales provide the strongest evidence yet that the U.S. housing market is in the midst of a nascent recovery. Unfortunately, concerns are aplenty that several issues could throw a monkey-wrench into things and turn the recovery into a falling house of cards. For example, a big chunk of recent sales activity has been distressed properties (foreclosures or short sales). While this is a necessary part of the market-clearing process, the fact Read more [...]
Health Care Reform We Can Afford

Health Care Reform We Can Afford

Finally, a form of health care reform that will save us money and lives. No, I'm not talking about the massive, complex, and costly bill that passed through the House Energy and Commerce Committee at the end of July.  I'm talking about efforts by the Obama administration -- and a multitude of supporters, including NEMA -- to jump-start the transition to health information technology (HIT).  Yesterday, Vice President Biden announced an infusion of $1.2 billion Read more [...]
It’s Flip-Flop Season

It’s Flip-Flop Season

"I will not be an automatic 60th vote.  And I would illustrate that by my position on employees' choice, also known as card check.  I think it is a bad bill and I'm opposed to it and would not vote to invoke cloture."  -- Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA), in a news conference announcing his switch to the Democratic Party (April 28, 2009) Ari Melber: "...we'll go to the third question. In stitching these three together is it fair to say that on the climate change Read more [...]