- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 8, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Seven large Ohio manufacturers formed a new lobbying group Wednesday after scuffling with their trade association earlier this year over the state’s clean-energy standards.

The Manufacturing Policy Alliance will include Alcoa, Ford, General Electric, Marathon Petroleum, Nucor Steel Marion, Timken and TimkenSteel. The companies employ a combined 39,000 Ohioans with $2.5 billion in Ohio payroll and support a network of 9,200 suppliers.

The coalition said its focus will be on energy and environment, tax and budget, tort reform and workforce-related issues and it expects to eventually recruit other members.

Robert Lapp, a retired Timken executive who will serve as president, said member companies have unique interests brought on by the national and sometimes international reach of their operations. He said no one issue prompted creation of the organization, but that they had already been working together on many issues and deciding to formalize those relationships.

The alliance intends to put members’ interests in front of Gov. John Kasich, lawmakers and other key policymakers and share some of their experiences to benefit Ohio’s economic growth, he said.

The trade association for the companies, the Ohio Manufacturers Association, represents some 1,400 Ohio manufacturers from the very tiny to the giant. According to information on its website, fewer than 4 percent of its members employ 1,000 people or more, while 57 percent employ fewer than 50.

During a legislative battle this year, the association supported keeping in place Ohio’s targets for the use of renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind. But the largest manufacturers successfully lobbied for a provision allowing them to opt out of the targets, which were forcing expensive re-tooling especially at older facilities.

The Manufacturers Association ultimately supported a compromise bill that delayed - but didn’t permanently stop - phase-in of the targets while incorporating both temporary and longer term opt-out provisions.

Kasich signed the bill in June. It freezes the benchmarks for two years while their impacts are studied. If the legislature doesn’t act, phase-in of the targets resumes in 2017.

The Environmental Law & Policy Center estimated in 2012 that the mandate was helping support an Ohio supply chain of about 170 wind and solar power businesses, including small manufacturers.


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