• EMA Weekly Review

  • EMA Weekly Review

     
    Energy Marketers of America weekly update on important national industry news
    November 25, 2020  [WR-20-48]
     
    Sponsored by Meridian Associates Inc.
    who generously supports The Energy Marketers of America 
     

    Quick Links to Articles for November 25, 2020

     
    How to Check Status and Expedite Delayed IRS Federal Excise Motor Fuel Excise Claims

    General Motors Drops Out of Trump Lawsuit Seeking to Roll Back Auto Emission Rules

    Biden Nominates Yellen; Creates White House Climate Office

    EMA Joins SIGMA and NACS’s Amicus Brief in Climate Suit 

    EMA and UPMRA Participate in Clear Path VIII

    Vaccines for Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers

    Get Your Holiday Shopping Done December 7-11 on the Online EMA SBC PAC Silent Auction Site

    EMA Corporate Platinum Partner Spotlight Featuring: Renewable Energy Group, Inc.

     
    Articles for November 25, 2020
     
    How to Check Status and Expedite Delayed IRS Federal Excise Motor Fuel Excise Claims

    The Energy Marketers of America is continuing to hear from marketers that their federal motor fuel excise tax (FET) claims for credits or refunds are experiencing lengthy delays. These include claims by registered ultimate vendors of undyed diesel fuel, undyed kerosene, gasoline, aviation gasoline, and kerosene used in aviation (Form 720, Schedule C; Form 8849, Schedule 2) as well as biodiesel fuel and alternative fuel blender claims (Form 720, Schedule C; Form 8849, Schedule 3). EMA has been in close contact with the IRS concerning the processing delays, emphasizing the extreme burden the delays place on small business energy marketers and the need to eliminate the backlog immediately. In addition, EMA has written letters urging action to the IRS Commissioner and key members of Congress sitting on committees with IRS oversite jurisdiction. EMA has also enlisted the help of the National League of State and Municipal Governments and similar associations representing tax exempt users to pressure the IRS to speed up claims processing. 

    According to the IRS, the backlog is due to the extension of the deadline for filing (and subsequent processing) of individual income tax returns to July 15th and employee shortages due to COVID-19. The IRS says it is processing the backlog on a first come first serve basis. Claimants who are experiencing delays can inquire about the status of their claims by faxing the following information to the IRS at (855) 386-5121:

    • Name, company name

    • Taxpayer ID number

    • Type of claim filed and covered period

    • Return fax number and voice number

    The IRS will fax back a status report on the claim, they say. Energy marketers experiencing delays should also contact their members of Congress and request follow up by constituent services staff. Thus far, energy marketer calls to Congress have been the most effective method to expedite payments of claims. Please reach out to EMA Vice President Sherri Stonefor additional assistance. 

    Finally, the IRS is required to pay interest on the amount of paper claims not paid after 45 days of submission and electronic claims not paid after 20 days. Interest payments are compounded daily at quarterly rates established by the IRS.

    General Motors Drops Out of Trump Lawsuit Seeking to Roll Back Auto Emission Rules

    General Motors is abandoning a legal battle between the Trump Administration and California over the state's right to set its own standards for greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy rules. The move signals a recognition by GM that its electrification and zero emissions strategy is more closely aligned with the priorities of the incoming Biden Administration. 

    Last year, GM, Fiat Chrysler, Toyota and 10 other automakers sided with the Trump Administration in a lawsuit filed by environmental groups challenging the Administration's plans to roll back emissions and gas mileage standards and strip California's authority to set its own emission standards. Ford, Honda, BMW and Volkswagen sided with California and cut a separate deal with the state to meet a 50-mpg fleetwide standard by 2026 for all vehicles sold nationwide. In recent years, more than a dozen other states have signed on to California's emissions standards for vehicles. 

    During the campaign, candidate Biden pledged to make major investments in electric vehicles and EV fueling infrastructure through federal financial support to automakers and expanded tax credits for consumers. Now that Biden is president-elect, GM realized that continuing support for the Trump roll-back is no longer a viable way forward. There is no word on whether any of the remaining automakers in the lawsuit plan to follow GM’s move. 

    Biden Nominates Yellen; Creates White House Climate Office

    This week, President-elect Biden announced his national security team leads, Janet Yellen to serve as Secretary of the Treasury, and selected former Secretary of State John Kerry to lead a newly created Special Presidential Envoy for Climate.

    President-elect Biden’s leadership selections thus far are demonstrative of his whole-of-government approach to climate change. As the “Climate Czar,” Kerry will coordinate climate programs across multiple agencies, while leveraging his strong relationships to seek international buy-in to address climate change on a global scale. The White House Envoy for Climate will be housed in the National Security Council (NSC) with a near-term priority of the US rejoining the Paris Climate Accord. In addition, Kerry is expected to oversee Biden Administration efforts related to carbon capture technologies, promoting clean and renewable energy, and messaging climate change as a national security concern. 

    Biden’s climate focus is also represented in his selection of Yellen who, if confirmed, will be the first female Treasury Secretary. Her previous roles as Chair of the Federal Reserve and Council of Economic Advisors prompted positive reaction from the NASDAQ and S&P - jumping hundreds of points Monday and Tuesday. During President Bill Clinton’s Administration, Yellen emphasized the economic benefits of the 1997 Kyoto protocol, which mandated greenhouse gas emission restrictions. In recent years, Yellen joined other economists to champion a carbon-fee program, which would provide cash dividends to the American people in exchange for reduced US greenhouse gas emissions.

    Biden’s selection of Yellen and the creation of a climate focused NSC position provide a view into the President-elect’s desired focus during his first year. Nonetheless, his ambitious climate programs will face significant roadblocks in Congress. For example, if President-elect Biden were to pursue a carbon-tax proposal, liberal Democrats may push back to say the approach is not aggressive enough. Likewise, Republicans are unlikely to support a plan that places an excessive economic burden on industry and small businesses. As we look ahead to President-elect Biden’s first 100 days, we will remain tuned to future cabinet nominees and closely monitor executive action in areas that could affect energy producers, consumers, and marketers.

    EMA Joins SIGMA and NACS’s Amicus Brief in Climate Suit 

    Earlier this week, EMA joined an amicus brief in the climate suit BP P.L.C et al. v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore. In the brief, respondents argue that “The case is part of a second wave of highly-coordinated lawsuits born out of political frustration that Congress and administrations have not adopted specific policies to address climate change. This particular lawsuit seeks to use state tort law to regulate the national production and sale of energy products that have been essential to modern life since the industrial revolution.” 

    In the brief, EMA requested that the Court reverse the judgment that the case be heard at the local level arguing that “trying to turn the production, sale, promotion and use of certain fuels into liability-inducing events undermines the careful balancing of interests that must be done in the political branches when setting national energy policy. Click here to read the brief.

    EMA and UPMRA Participate in Clear Path VIII

    Last week, EMA and the Utah Petroleum Marketers and Retailers Association (UPMRA) participated in Clear Path VIII, a national government wide disaster response exercise. 

    The purpose in such exercises is to enhance policies and procedures, identify areas for collective improvement, and strengthen relationships and cooperation between industry and government energy sector partners in response to catastrophic incidents. Most of all, EMA participates in these events to understand what is needed from our industry, to identify and create solutions for obstacles, and to make certain that the needs of energy marketers are well known among the responders, especially throughout the government departments.

    Each national exercise is linked to the National Preparedness Goal’s Core Capabilities and is in a different part of the country, with this being a 7.0 magnitude earthquake that ruptures the Wasatch fault one mile from Salt Lake City, Utah, while temperatures were in the 20s°F with five inches of snow on the ground. EMA participated to provide national expertise, while Utah’s John Hill served as a state subject matter expert. John has also participated in such exercises in the past, so he was a strong asset which is particularly important since the exercise may also be used as a platform to inform, shape, and prepare the energy sector’s participation in future Wasatch Fault Zone exercises. EMA and UPMRA will participate again in December, on the final day of Clear Path VIII, with public affairs personnel from the energy sector and from government partners. 

    Last week, EMA also participated in a government wide Oil and Natural Gas 2020 Storm Season After Action Report with our observations related to processes to sustain and opportunities for improvement related to how the Federal, State, Industry and regional energy partners were able to support the energy sector during this year’s active storm season. Finally, last Wednesday, EMA served as a presenter in a nationwide oil and natural gas educational webinar for state emergency operation center professionals.

    Vaccines for Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers

    This week, EMA joined other fuel and retail associations in a letter to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) urging prioritization for COVID-19 vaccine distribution to essential workers who are part of the critical infrastructure workforce as part of Phase 1-B of a jurisdiction’s distribution scheme. Phase 1-B would follow behind only those healthcare personnel who are grouped into Phase 1-A. Click here to read the letter.

    Get Your Holiday Shopping Done December 7-11 on the Online EMA SBC PAC Silent Auction Site

    Energy Marketers of America (EMA) SBC PAC Co-Chairs Brad Bell and Tim Keigher want you to know that the new holiday auction will include items for men, women and children with an emphasis on jewelry for women and girls, so this is a terrific opportunity to finish your shopping, especially for the ladies in your life!

    Thanks to the generosity of the Florida Petroleum Marketers Association, Inc. (FPMA) and the Tennessee Fuel & Convenience Store Association (TFCA), the PAC Silent Auction jewelry will include items from Effy, Judith Bright, Le Vian, and Sonatina!

    Information on the auction non-jewelry items will be announced next week along with a list of the available jewelry.

    C2Auction will organize the EMA SBC PAC Holiday Auction which will be held the week of December 7-11. Purchased items will be shipped right away, in plenty of time in advance of your holiday gift giving.

    All EMA members will be eligible to participate from anywhere in the United States as long as they download the C2Auction App on their mobile phone. We will provide a mobile link to all EMA Executives prior to the event.

    The purpose of mobile bidding is to make the EMA SBC PAC Holiday Auction more competitive and fun by notifying bidders the instant they are outbid. A notification informs the bidder that they are no longer winning, and to increase their bid or begin bidding on a new item. EMA knows this new online holiday auction will benefit the PAC and help you with your gift purchases! 

    EMA Corporate Platinum Partner Spotlight Featuring: Renewable Energy Group, Inc.
    How It’s Made: REG Biodiesel

    REG biorefinery tours aren’t only open to sitting senators and state secretaries. Under normal circumstances, we welcome any of our blending partners to come take a look at our facilities so they can see for themselves how REG biodiesel is made. With COVID-19 and social distancing guidelines making travel more difficult, we have posted a virtual tour to our YouTube page. In this five-minute video, you will see, from beginning to end, how REG transforms feedstocks like cooking oil into high-quality biodiesel. You will also learn about our sourcing and distribution processes. 

    Want to schedule a videoconference with a member of the REG team? We’d be happy to meet with you virtually to discuss any of the topics in our monthly newsletter or anything else biofuel-related. To request a meeting, please email Scott Nemec with your questions and availability.

    For additional information about Renewable Energy Group, Inc., please visitRenewable Energy Group is a EMA Corporate Platinum Partner.