• EMA Weekly Review

  • EMA Weekly Review

     
    Energy Marketers of America weekly update on important national industry news
    March 5, 2021  [WR-21-09]
     
    Sponsored by PDI Software
    who generously supports The Energy Marketers of America 
     

    Quick Links to Articles for March 5, 2021

     
    Multi-State Hours of Service Waiver Extended Due to Winter Storms

    Congressional Update 

    House Energy and Commerce Democrats Introduce Climate Change Bill

    New Gas Stations Targeted by Activists

    Healthy Workplaces Tax Credit Act Re-Introduced

    API Considers Support to Put a Price on Carbon Emissions 

    February 2021 EMA Small Business Committee (SBC) PAC Contributions

    Federated Insurance Employment Practice Network Webinar

    EMA MDF Contributors for February 2021

    Federated Insurance Employment Practices Network HR Question of the Month 

    EMA Corporate Partner Spotlight Featuring: Renewable Energy Group, Inc. and National Biodiesel Board

     
    Articles for March 5, 2021
     
    Multi-State Hours of Service Waiver Extended Due to Winter Storms

    On Thursday, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) extended a regional Hours of Service waiver for the following states due to winter storms: KENTUCKY, LOUISIANA, OKLAHOMA, TEXAS, VIRGINIA, AND WEST VIRGINIA through March 19th.

    The emergency declaration applies to all states and jurisdictions listed above. This waiver covers all fuel deliveries (heating fuels, including propane, natural gas, and heating oil, and other fuel products, including gasoline) in the states and jurisdictions listed because they support the "emergency," which in this case is maintaining adequate fuel distribution in those areas.

    Important: The FMCSA waiver covers interstate shipment of fuel in and out of the states and jurisdictions listed in the waiver letter. The FMCSA waiver does not cover intrastate only shipments (deliveries that stay within the boundaries of a single state). State governors must issue waivers for intrastate shipments within their boundaries. State Governors typically issue such waivers as part of their Emergency Declaration, or when FMCSA waivers are put into effect. Most of these states have already issued intrastate HOS waivers. Click here to read the notice. 

    The Energy Marketers of America will continue to work closely with the FMCSA, DOE, DHS/FEMA and other federal agencies to ensure emergency preparedness and response waivers and solutions to problems that arise in response to the recent winter storms.

    Congressional Update 

    Late Thursday, Senate Democrats released their version of the COVID-relief package, the American Rescue Plan Act. The Senate will consider additional amendments Friday afternoon with a final vote expected Saturday. Most, if not all, Senate Republicans are expected to join their House counterparts in voting against the package. Nonetheless, so long as all 50 Democratic Senators vote for the package, Vice President Kamala Harris will serve as the 51st tie-breaking vote. After Senate passage, the House will approve the changes and send the bill to President Biden, who could sign it into law early next week. 

    Key provisions of the package include:

    • Direct payments worth up to $1,400 per person.

    • Extension of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation programs.

    • Extension of the 15 percent increase in food stamp benefits through September, instead of allowing it to expire at the end of June.

    • $880 million for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).

    • Extension of the employee retention tax credit through December 31, 2021.

    • Extension of tax credits for employer-provided paid sick and family leave through September 30th.

    • $4.5 billion for LIHEAP.

    • $19.1 billion to state and local governments to help low-income households cover back rent and utility bills.

    • Expansion of the child tax credit to $3,600 for children under 6 and $3,000 for children under age 18.

    • $15 billion to the Emergency Injury Disaster Loan program.

    • An additional $7 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program.

    • $350 billion to state and local governments, as well as tribes and territories.

    On the infrastructure front, this week President Biden spoke with bipartisan members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The Biden Administration has made it clear that than an infrastructure / highway / clean energy jobs package will be the President’s second major priority after passing the COVID-package. While both parties see infrastructure as a key priority, Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO), the top Republican on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, urged the Biden Administration to focus exclusively on bridges and roads and not clean energy initiatives. 

    A key question for lawmakers is how to pay for an infrastructure package. House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Peter DeFazio (R-OR) believes that an infrastructure package should not go through budget reconciliation due to the restrictions on what types of projects and programs could be funded. Importantly, Congress recently announced a plan to return to earmarks, formally known as congressionally directed spending. Earmarks allow Members of Congress to direct funding to certain projects in their districts and can be used as carrots and sticks for securing votes on key pieces of legislation. Chairman DeFazio is working with members of the Committee on an earmark process for the next surface transportation bill. 

    House Energy and Commerce Democrats Introduce Climate Change Bill

    This week, House democrats reintroduced an expanded version of the “Climate Leadership and Environmental Action for our Nation’s (CLEAN) Future Act,” to reach zero carbon emissions in the areas of power, buildings and efficiency, transportation, and industrial sectors.

    Among the most significant plans, the proposal calls for:

    • Electricity suppliers to provide an increasing supply of clean energy to consumers starting in 2023, rising to 80 percent clean energy by 2030 and 100 percent by 2035

    • A mandate for zero-energy-ready buildings by 2030.

    • Directives to states and federal agencies to develop and implement individual plans to meet the 2050 net-zero emissions target.

    • New stringent vehicle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards alongside incentives to shift to low- and zero-carbon transportation fuels.

    • A "Buy Clean" Program setting performance standards to reduce emissions in construction and manufacturing supported by federal funding alongside incentives for use of low-carbon materials; and

    • A National Climate Bank to finance the energy transition through loans, grants and other mechanisms, particularly for frontline, rural, low-income and communities experiencing environmental injustice.

    • A reauthorization of the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) through FY 2030 as well as the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) through FY 2030. 

    Many environmentalist groups who said last year’s bill did not go far enough since it did not call for a ban on fracking and all new fossil fuel infrastructure embraced the new version. The legislation is likely to pass a Democratically controlled House, however, it will face hurdles in the 50-50 Senate where Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) has been skeptical of proposed clean electricity requirements. Three GOP members of the Energy and Commerce Committee issued a joint statement on Tuesday opposing the legislation. "Just like President Joe Biden’s executive orders, this rush to green with one-size-fits all regulations will force California’s failed policies on the rest of the country," said Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Fred Upton (R-MI) and David McKinley (R-WV)).

    “We can pursue practical policies to innovate a cleaner energy future if we work together," they added. "We urge the Majority to join us in a bipartisan way to unleash innovation, strengthen our supply chains, and capture all the advantages of our abundant resources, which include coal, hydropower, nuclear technologies, and clean natural gas."

    New Gas Stations Targeted by Activists

    This week, the City of Petaluma in California has voted to ban new gas stations (in this case a Safeway Supermarket) and current stations will not be allowed to add new pumps according to a story by Axios. Behind the effort to ban new gas stations is an environmental group called Stand.earth which ran a campaign called SAFE (stand against fossil fuel expansion). "The problem with allowing new gas stations is we don't really need them and they’re putting existing gas stations out of business,” said Matt Krogh, who heads Stand.earth. 

    Click here to read the story.

    Healthy Workplaces Tax Credit Act Re-Introduced

    On Tuesday, Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) reintroduced the bipartisan Healthy Workplaces Tax Credit Act to help all businesses continue to safely stay open during the COVID-19 pandemic while ensuring the safety of employees and consumers. The bill would allow a refundable tax credit against payroll taxes for 50 percent of the costs incurred by a business for increased testing, personal protective equipment (PPE), disinfecting, extra cleaning, reconfiguring workspaces to adhere to social distancing guidelines and training and education on the on the prevention of COVID-19 transmission. U.S. Representatives Tom Rice (R-SC) and Stephanie Murphy (D-FL) plan to introduce this legislation in the House of Representatives. 

    “Energy Marketers of America members have been following all guidance for safely operating their businesses and will continue to do so and the Healthy Workplaces Tax Credit Act will help to defray some of the costs. EMA strongly supports this legislation,” said EMA Vice President Sherri Stone. 

    Click here for more details.

    API Considers Support to Put a Price on Carbon Emissions 

    This week, it was reported that the America Petroleum Institute (API) is considering supporting a market-based carbon pricing policy according to a Reuters report this week. API did not give specifics on whether or when the group would formally endorse a price on carbon but said it has been “focused on supporting a new U.S. contribution to the global Paris agreement,” said API spokeswoman Megan Bloomgren. Click here to read more. 

    Meanwhile, the Biden Administration’s move to the electrify the transportation sector will likely run into hurdles between conservation vs green energy. Biden has vowed to set aside at least 30 percent of federal land and coastal areas for conservation, triple current levels. However, to grow the EV battery market, it will need those areas to mine lithium and other minerals, thereby, putting two environmental constituencies at odds. Unless the Biden Administration changes course, the future of mining will likely depend on China to mine rare minerals even though the Administration has called the reliance on China as a national security threat. Click here for the story.

    February 2021 EMA Small Business Committee (SBC) PAC Contributions

    PAC Co-Chairs Brad Bell and Tim Keigher are grateful for the Energy Marketers of America Small Business Committee (SBC) PAC contributions from the following individuals during the February 1-28, 2021 time frame:

    California: Michael Downs
    Connecticut: Chris Herb
    Kansas: Alison Leiszler Bridges, Chad Kramer, Patrick Lingg
    Missouri: Scott Blank, Paul Cox, Steven Madras, Donavan Stucky
    North Carolina: Dallas Campbell, Larry Jordan, John Strickland 

    Federated Insurance Employment Practice Network Webinar
    Avoiding Harassment, Discrimination, and Retaliation Claims: Tuesday, March 16, 2021, 1:00 p.m. CT

    In this webinar, we will cover simple steps employers can take today to reduce the risk of employee claims of harassment, discrimination and retaliation. We will discuss some typical claims we are seeing today, and what simple steps can defeat them. The key takeaways for this presentation will be practical suggestions your organization can put into practice without additional expense. We’ll end the webinar with live questions and a short list of resources which are available to you through mySHIELD.

    Advanced registration is required for this 1-hour webinar.

    For additional information or to discuss this in further detail, please contact your Federatedregional representative or EMA’s National Account Executive Jon Medo at 800.533.0472. Federated is a EMA Corporate Platinum Partner.

    EMA MDF Contributors for February 2021

    Energy Marketers of America’s Marketer Defense Fund wants to thank the following individuals for their contributions during the February 1- 28 timeframe:

    Arkansas: Steve Turner
    Florida: Florida Petroleum Marketers Association, Inc.
    Minnesota: Brent Staples
    Mississippi: Walton Gresham III
    Missouri: Steve Ayers
    Oklahoma: Oklahoma Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association
    South Carolina: Matthew Greene
    Tennessee: Tennessee Fuel & Convenience Store Association, Tommy Hunt
    Virginia: James Emmart
    Wisconsin: Jonathan Crawford

    Corporate donations are acceptable. MDF funds have been used to create a COVID-19 Situational Update & Resources webpage, to hire experts to cover important regulatory agencies and disaster relief dedicated to strengthening our lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill. Click here to donate to the EMA MDF. 

    Federated Insurance Employment Practices Network HR Question of the Month
    Which Applies – FFCRA or Expanded Family and Medical Leave?

    Federated Insurance’s HR Question of the Month focuses on employment-related practices liability issues. This month’s question is: Can we provide emergency paid sick leave under the FFCRA but not the expanded family and medical leave? Please click here to read the response.

    For additional information or to discuss this in further detail, please contact your Federatedregional representative or EMA’s National Account Executive Jon Medo at 800.533.0472. Federated is a EMA Corporate Platinum Partner. 

    This article is for general information and risk prevention only and should not be considered legal or other expert advice. The recommendations herein may help reduce, but are not guaranteed to eliminate, any or all risk of loss. The information herein may be subject to, and is not a substitute for, any laws or regulations that may apply. Qualified counsel should be sought with questions specific to your circumstances. © 2021 Federated Mutual Insurance Company. 

    EMA Corporate Partner Spotlight Featuring: Renewable Energy Group, Inc. and National Biodiesel Board
    Top 3 Takeaways from the 2021 National Biodiesel Conference

    Six weeks ago, Renewable Energy Group (REG) was proud to sponsor and participate in the first ever virtual National Biodiesel Conference & Expo. REG has been involved in the National Biodiesel Board’s annual event since it was first held in Palm Springs, California in 2004, so it was somewhat surreal to "attend" the conference without leaving our home-offices. However, we were excited to see it all come together virtually, and we look forward to being able to participate in-person once again in 2022.

    We understand that some fuel dealers may not have been able to take time away from the busy heating season to attend the virtual National Biodiesel Conference & Expo. Likewise, some may have only attended a few of the many sessions held online January 18-21. With this in mind, we have compiled an event recap featuring what we see as our top takeaways for Bioheat® fuel dealers and REG blending partners. 

    For additional information about Renewable Energy Group, Inc., please visit or contact Scott NemecRenewable Energy Group is a EMA Corporate Platinum Partner. For additional information about National Biodiesel Board, please visitNational Biodiesel Board is a EMA Corporate Gold Partner.

     
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