Politico (5/1) reports, “Bowed but not beaten after the Senate failed to overturn a National Labor Relations Board rule shortening the timeframe allowed for union elections, business groups are pledging to fight on. The National Association of Manufacturers said it will still push for the overturn of the so-called ‘ambush elections’ rule, which went into effect today.” President and CEO Jay Timmons said, “These changed rules overturn 75 years of labor policy and unnecessarily upset workplace relations – leaving employers without adequate preparation time before an election and forcing employees to make an important decision without all the information at hand.”

Nemak Buys J.L. French

J.L. French Automotive Castings Inc., Sheboygan, Wis., announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Nemak S.A. de C. V., Monterrey, Mexico.

According to a statement released by J.L. French, the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approval. The purchase price was not disclosed.

“We feel this acquisition will allow J.L. French to thrive under the new ownership of a company that has a high stake in our success,” said Tom Musgrave, J.L. French’s chief executive officer, president and chairman.

“This transaction will provide long-term financial support for J.L. French with an automotive supplier parent company.”

Nemak is a major supplier in the aluminum automotive components business, with a focus on engine blocks and cylinder heads. Nemak operates facilities in Asia, Europe, North America and South America. The company employs nearly 18,000 worldwide.

“This acquisition offers attractive growth opportunities in aluminum transmission components,” said Alvaro Fernandez Garza, president of Nemak parent company Alfa. “Furthermore, J.L. French’s technology will facilitate our entrance into other high-value added products, such as suspension and structural parts.”

J.L. French supplies primarily automobile components to the transportation industry. The company operates six manufacturing facilities throughout the world and employs more than 1,900. Its facilities are located in North America, Europe and Asia.

Toyota To Unveil RAV4 EV

USA Today (5/1, Woodyard) reports, “Toyota now is preparing unveil its fully engineered RAV4 EV at the 26th World Electric Vehicle Symposium and Exposition.” Sometime later in 2012, “Toyota will begin production of the…EV,” jointly devised with Tesla, “at its Woodstock plant in Ontario, where the current RAV4 is built.” The Japanese firm “paid Tesla about $100 million to supply the RAV4 EV’s powertrain, including the battery, motor, gearbox and power electronics.” The RAV4 EV is expected to have a range of 100 miles.

EPA Announces New Source Performance Standards For Oil, Gas Production Operations

The New York Times (4/19, A20, Broder, Subscription Publication) reports, “Oil and gas companies will have to capture toxic and climate-altering gases from wells, storage sites and pipelines under new air quality standards issued on Wednesday by the Environmental Protection Agency.” The Times reports, “Industry groups said meeting the proposed standards would cost hundreds of millions of dollars and slow the boom in domestic natural gas production.”

The Los Angeles Times (4/19, Banerjee) reports that the oil and gas industry expressed concern “that if a national standard went into effect this year, there would not be enough companies providing the green completion technology to meet the increased demand, making the rule more expensive to comply with.” Ultimately, “the rules are expected to affect the approximately 11,000 new wells annually that undergo hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and another 1,200 or so that are re-fracked to boost production,” the Times said.

USA Today (4/19, Vergano) adds that EPA official Gina McCarthy said “half of all new fracking wells already collect gases from the initial drilling of the well…but only Colorado and Wyoming explicitly require such green completions.”

The Wall Street Journal (4/19, A3, Tracy, Subscription Publication) reported that the delay in the implementation of the rules suggests that in an election year, the Obama Administration was cautious about taking any steps that the oil and gas industry may have perceived as an attack.

The Washington Post (4/19, Eilperin, Mufson) also covers the story.

Manufacturers: More Regulations From EPA Will Hamper Job Creation. In a press released, the National Association of Manufacturers (4/19) President and CEO Jay Timmons said, “President Obama continues to tout the importance of manufacturing. However, the Administration’s actions signal the opposite, as these new costly regulations on energy producers hurt manufacturers’ competitiveness and delay job creation.” Timmons also said, “These regulations will add to the cumulative regulatory burden facing manufacturers – making it unnecessarily harder to create jobs. There is no doubt that small energy producers and manufacturers will be disproportionally affected by these new regulations from the EPA. Most unfortunate is that these new rules will only increase energy prices in the long run.”

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