JEFFERSON CITY — It’s a sad day in Southeast Missouri with the recent announcement by Noranda Aluminum in New Madrid that two of their three potlines have gone offline due to a catastrophic loss of electrical supply. Therefore, in the upcoming weeks Noranda announced reduction of employees at the New Madrid Smelter to adjust for operating only a single potline instead of three. This is a tragedy for all of the workers and their families who depend on Noranda and their good paying jobs. The local communities and subsidiary companies that supply Noranda will also be affected.
Manufacturing companies across the United States have been struggling due to burdensome regulations and unfair trade laws passed by the federal government. The reluctance of USA custom agents and other government officials to enforce our country’s trade laws has resulted in foreign countries like China to continue dumping cheap, inferior products, and manipulating currency exchange rates.
Coal-fired power plants over the past several years have also come under attack by the federal government, making it harder for families and businesses to pay their electric bills, especially in the Midwest. Affordable and reliable electric rates are vital to businesses remaining open and providing jobs.
We need Washington D.C. to quit passing burdensome regulations and defend our homegrown manufacturers from unfair government subsidized trade practices by foreign competitors. The combination of rising electrical costs, lack of enforcement of our trade laws, and job killing regulations is destroying manufacturing and businesses across our country. Many of Noranda’s domestic competitors have been going out of business in recent years because of these very same issues. It is very difficult to remain in business without affordable electrical rates. USA manufacturers cannot afford to continue producing products and selling below manufacturing cost.
Until our federal and state governments change their ways, we will continue to see more American companies struggle or close. I will continue to do everything I can in Jefferson City to assist Noranda and its employees through this stormy period. My prayers and sympathy goes out to the workers and families of Noranda already affected by the layoffs, and those who may be in the future.