|What’s Next for Infrastructure Legislation
Earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said the Senate’s top priority is approving a highway infrastructure bill this year. Current surface transportation law is set to expire in September 2020. The Majority Leader’s statement followed the President’s State of the Union (SOTU) address in which President Trump urged Congress to approve the Senate surface transportation bill (S.2302), although the President did not provide suggestions on how to pay for the proposal.
President Trump promoted the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee bill which would cost $287 billion, as compared to the $760 billion infrastructure blueprint released by the House last week. The bipartisan Senate bill was passed by the committee unanimously last year. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman John Barrasso (R-WY) and Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-DE) also announced that drivers of electric vehicles (EVs) should pay for using the roads, which PMAA strongly agrees should occur. Chairman Barrasso stated that “there isn’t a single answer, but among other solutions, I believe that the electric vehicle, which currently pays no federal gas tax, actually needs to make a contribution and pay into the system as well.” Unfortunately, the Senate EPW committee does not have jurisdiction over finding a “pay for” for the highway bill. The Senate Finance Committee is tasked with finding a “pay for” and has yet to announce any details.
Of concern in the Senate EPW highway bill is Section 1401 which would create a $1 billion grant program for states to deploy electric vehicle, hydrogen and natural gas vehicle charging stations along designated alternative fuel corridors. PMAA is concerned that the grant program does not provide for the equitable distribution of funds or account for other investment required for infrastructure changes that may be needed to accommodate EV and alternative fueling equipment such as upgrades to site utilities, adding land, and expanding paved areas and operating costs. In addition, the focus on alternative fuel corridors will result in a preference for grants to companies that have multiple sites distributed along major transportation routes. As with other grants for alternative fuels, small to medium c-stores will be placed at a competitive disadvantage.
In related news, Reps. Andy Levin (D-MI) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) introduced legislation known as the “EV Freedom Act” (H.R. 5770) that would create a nationwide electric vehicle (EV) charging network within five years by installing high-speed EV chargers along the federal Interstate and highway systems.
EPA Issues Final 2020 RFS Blending Volumes
The EPA this week released the annual renewable fuel blending volume obligations (RVOs) for 2020 as required under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program. The 2020 corn ethanol blending mandate will remain at the 15 billion-gallon maximum statutory limit set by Congress. Biodiesel RV0s for 2021 were set last year at 2.43 billion gallons and remain unchanged. The EPA increased requirements for cellulosic ethanol blending by 9 percent to 590 million gallons, bringing the total 2021 advanced biofuel requirement to 5.09 billion gallons. In addition, the rule, EPA said it would once again use its general waiver authority to lower the volumes of cellulosic biofuels, advanced biofuels, and total renewable fuels below the statutory targets.
Also included in the final rule is a new provision that requires large refiners to recapture blending volumes lost to small refiner exemptions (SREs) from RFS. The EPA issued 85 SREs for the 2016-2018 compliance years, reducing the statutory RVO blend volume by 4.04 billion gallons. Previously, the EPA had no mechanism to recapture and reassign lost volumes. Under the new rule the Agency will not recapture and reassign actual renewable blending volumes lost to SREs in any given year. Instead, the EPA will project an estimated displaced volume based on the Department of Energy’s (DOE) SRE recommendations averaged over the previous three years. The EPA’s calculation will include displaced volume from partial waivers recommended by the DOE in the past even though the agency issued only full waivers to small refiners. Renewable fuel producers oppose the EPA formula because it will result in far fewer recaptured gallons than actually displaced by small refinery exemptions.
In related news, the EPA withdrew a controversial rule that would have reset the statutory RFS blend volumes established by Congress. The EPA has the authority to reset RVOs if it misses the statutory volumes by more than 20 percent for two consecutive years. Renewable fuel producers supported the reset because it opened the possibility to increase the RVO for corn ethanol past the current 15 billion-gallon maximum limit. The EPA gave no reason for withdrawing the reset rule.
House Holds Hearing on Vaping
E-Cigarette Flavor Ban Began February 6
This week, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing titled “Vaping in America: E-Cigarette Manufacturers' Impact on Public Health." The purpose of the hearing was to hear from executives from some of the largest e-cigarette manufacturing companies in the nation. The executives who testified included: K.C. Crosthwaite, CEO, JUUL Labs, Inc.; Ricardo Oberlander, President & CEO, Reynolds American Inc.; Ryan Nivakoff, CEO, NJOY, LLC; Antoine Blonde, President, Fontem U.S.: and Jerry Loftin, President, Logic Technology Development, LLC.
Part of the hearing was focused on the growing problem of e-cigarette use by America’s youth. Many lawmakers used the opportunity to grill the executives of the e-cigarette companies and blame them for the rise in e-cigarette use by children. In his opening statement, House Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) stated that “a large portion of culpability rests with the manufacturers of e-cigarette products.” Chairman Pallone also used his time to tout his bill, known as the “Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act” (H.R. 2339), which seeks to ban menthol cigarettes and would also increase user fees on all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. Chairman Pallone said he expects his bill will be voted on soon.
There is growing concern that since flavored e-cigarettes are now banned, many users will turn to counterfeit products. House Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Greg Walden (R-OR) expressed his concerns about the “counterfeit and black market products that current e-cigarette users, including our youth, may turn to when products they are currently using will no longer be available in the legal and legitimate marketplace.” Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) said that the unregulated black market products have led to the recent health crisis that has created lung illnesses across the nation and that the manufacturers of the legitimate e-cigarette companies need to take steps to address these black market products. Rep. Duncan then proceeded to ask the manufacturers what they will do to address the problem of unregulated counterfeit products.
Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY) focused his time on the flavor ban on fruit and mint flavored e-cigarette products, suggesting that the ban on mint flavored e-cigarettes will now lead to youth users switching to menthol flavored products which are similar in flavor. Other lawmakers at the hearing expressed their frustration that the recent ban on pod-based flavored e-cigarettes does not include a ban on flavored disposable e-cigarettes, which some will say may lead to youth users switching to those products.
REMINDER: The recent Final Guidance that bans the sale of most flavored cartridge-based e-cigarettes other than tobacco and menthol flavoring went into effect yesterday (February 6), meaning that stores must remove these items from their shelves immediately or risk enforcement action by the FDA.
Senate Committee Hearing on the State of the Trucking Industry
On Tuesday, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation Subcommittee on Transportation and Safety held a hearing titled “Keep on Truckin’: Stakeholder Perspectives on Trucking in America.” Specifically, the purpose of the hearing was to examine the state of the trucking industry in the United States, truck safety issues, and the regulatory environment from the stakeholder perspective.
Witnesses at the hearing included: Chris Spear, President and CEO, American Trucking Associations; Jake Parnell, Manager, Cattlemen’s Livestock Market and Director, Livestock Marketing Association; Lewie Pugh, Executive Vice President, Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association; Dawn King, President, Truck Safety Coalition; and Sgt. John Samis, President, Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance.
In her opening statement, Subcommittee Chair Deb Fischer (R-NE) mentioned the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) recent Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that seeks to update the hours of service (HOS) requirements. She said that she was encouraged by the steps FMCSA has taken to make the necessary updates. In addition to the HOS regulations, Fischer mentioned other important regulations that should be discussed including the entry-level driver training rule.
There were multiple important trucking issues discussed at the hearing. In his testimony, Chris Spear spoke about the use of Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs), saying, “Compared to the outdated pen and paper methods of tracking driver hours, ELDs are a modern-day technology that have proven to be more accurate, easier to enforce, more difficult to falsify, and – most importantly – have and will continue to save lives. However, Lewie Pugh discussed in his testimony that the ELD mandate is a failure, is not necessary and should be repealed immediately.
Furthermore, in Spear’s testimony, he specifically mentioned a bill that is needed to address the truck driver shortage. Federal law currently restricts interstate trucking to CDL holders 21 years and older. However, most states allow drivers 18 or 19 and older to operate intrastate. The DRIVE-Safe Act would allow drivers 18 and older to operate across state lines, if they meet rigorous training requirements — at least 400 hours of on-duty time with 240 hours of driving time, with an experienced driver training them. Training would also be restricted to trucks equipped with active braking systems, video monitoring systems and speed limiters set to 65 mph or slower. Although drivers of petroleum would not be covered under the Drive-Safe Act, (since drivers must be 21 to qualify for a hazardous materials certification), PMAA supports the bill because it would expand the overall driver pool.
PMAA recently submitted a letter to the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee urging the committee to include the DRIVE-Safe Act in their title of the upcoming surface transportation reauthorization legislation. Click here to view the letter.
NATSO Teams Up with ChargePoint
This week, NATSO and ChargePoint announced plans to install Level 2 and DC fast chargers at more than 4,000 U.S. locations by 2030 by leveraging $1 billion through public and private funding sources over the next decade to expand EV charging along highways and in rural communities. Click here for the story.
Climate Compromise Bill Likely to be Introduced Soon
Reps. David B. McKinley (R-WV) and Kurt Schrader (D-OR) indicated this week that they plan to introduce common ground legislation to reduce CO2 emissions from power plants by 80 percent by appropriating an enormous amount of government funding for advanced energy technologies. The bill would cancel regulations, however, if federal funding to reduce CO2 emissions does not materialize or if power plant emissions continued to rise, then the Clean Air Act would be reactivated. Both Reps. McKinley and Schrader said that their bill could attract bipartisan support.
Meanwhile, the House Energy and Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change convened a hearing titled “Clearing the Air: Legislation to Promote Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage.” The hearing largely examined H.R. 1166, known as the "Utilizing Significant Emissions with Innovative Technologies (USE IT) Act” that was introduced by Reps. David McKinley (R-WV)) and Scott Peters (D-CA). According to the sponsors of the bill, it seeks to “support the development and demonstration of carbon capture and removal technologies. Furthermore, the bill authorizes $35 million in competitive prize funding for direct air capture technology and allocates $50 million toward research and development of technologies that transform captured carbon dioxide into commercial products. The USE IT Act also facilitates the construction and development of carbon capture, utilization and sequestration (CCUS) infrastructure projects. Finally, the bill promotes emerging net negative emissions technologies, particularly Direct Air Capture (DAC) technology. DAC technology prevents CO2 emissions by removing CO2 directly from the atmosphere.”
In his opening testimony, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) commended his colleagues for introducing the bill but requested that the bill be strengthened to better reduce emissions. Pallone stated that he believed the Department of Energy (DOE) should play a larger role in the process. “Second, while enhanced oil recovery is still the most profitable use for captured carbon, we will not make real progress in reducing climate pollution unless there is significant net storage associated with it. Third, I am concerned that the bill focuses too heavily on streamlining pipeline construction. I would like to see it provide a lot more direction on medium to long-term planning for a time when enhanced oil recovery will not be the dominant use of captured carbon. I also want to work with the sponsors to ensure the bill does more to ensure that captured carbon is safely and permanently sequestered.”
First 2020 PMAA Silent Auction Contribution!
PMAA Small Business Committee (SBC) PAC Co-Chairs Brad Bell and Tim Keigher thank Lea McCollough and the Washington Oil Marketers Association (WOMA) for the first 2020 PMAA SBC PAC Silent Auction contribution!
WOMA donated a beautiful and stylish Citizen EcoDrive Glow in the Dark Blue Band Men’s Watch which includes a 5-year warranty from Citizen!
We want to remind you about our format for the Annual Silent Auction and Raffle. This will be our second year with C2Auctions. They will organize the PMAA SBC PAC Silent Auction and the Raffle during our PMAA Day on the Hill Conference. All PMAA 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 PMAA Association Executives prior to the event.
The purpose of mobile bidding is to make the PMAA SBC PAC Silent 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. The ability to react in real-time means more bids.
Last year, there was tremendous support in contributions for the auction and PMAA SBC PAC Co-Chairs Brad Bell and Tim Keigher urge your participation this year as well! Brad and Tim wish to remind you that donations can include use of personal vacation properties. PMAA also encourages contributions of some low-cost items for the auction so that everyone can bid!
The Auction will take place in conjunction with PMAA’s Washington Conference on May 13 during the welcome reception. If you have items that you would like to contribute for the Silent Auction, please contact Sabrina Pitcher at 703-351-8000.
Federated Insurance Risk Management Academy Webinar
Family Succession Planning Tuesday, February 18, 2019, 1:00 p.m. CT
When most people hear “estate planning,” they think of planning to avoid estate taxes. However, for all but the very wealthiest individuals, the federal estate tax is no longer a concern (although state level estate taxes may still be an issue for some). There is a lot more to “estate planning” than taxes. That’s why “family succession planning” better describes this process, which includes decisions about who will receive which assets, when they will receive them, and who will have authority to make financial, medical and end of life decisions for you if you can’t.
What you will learn:
Advance registration is required.
- Which taxes may impact you and your family at your death
- What will happen if you don’t do any planning
- Impact of property ownership and beneficiary designations on your plan
- Importance of planning for incapacity and end of life decisions
For additional information or to discuss this in further detail, please contact your Federated regional representative or PMAA’s National Account Executive Jon Medo at 800.533.0472.
Federated is a PMAA Corporate Platinum Partner.
January 2020 PMAA Small Business Committee (SBC) PAC Contributions
PAC Co-Chairs Brad Bell and Tim Keigher are grateful for the PMAA Small Business Committee (SBC) PAC contributions from the following individuals during the January 1-31, 2020 time frame:
Alabama: Mack Arrington, Jeff Brown, Jon Bolle, Keith Chambers, Chris D’Amico, Bruce DuMond, Cindy Edwards, James Eidson, Bart Fletcher, Jackie Harbuck, Amanda Hice, Larry Jones, Millard Barnett Lawley, Chris Little, Russell Lord, Jim Mills, John Casey Pipes, Lesley Powell, Tim Shirley, Hollan Smith, Marla Smith, Randy Spence, J Spencer, Jonathan Tang, David Thomas
California: Nathan Crum, Kathleen Hollowell
Connecticut: Chris Herb
Idaho: Brett Adams, Matt Berry, Ron Berry, Derek Brewer, Holly Claiborn, Bob Coleman, Charley Jones, Justin Kerr
Minnesota: John Derichs
Missouri: Mark Abel, Steve Ayers, John Blanton, Ronald Bachman, Brian Baker, Robert Baker, Wayne Baker, Mary Braddock, Paul Cox, Grant Eble, Scott Frazier, James Greer, Anthony Gier, Bradford Goette, Michelle Hoerstkamp, Ron Hughes, Jami Jordan, Thomas Kolb, David Mangelsdorf, Ronald Leone, Steven Madras, James Maurer, Stewart McInytre, Donald McNutt, James McNutt, David Milligan, William Joe Naegler, Chris Patterson, Janice Patterson, lane Patterson, Chad Wallis, Lynn Wallis, Jeff Wood, Laura Younghouse
Registration is Now Open for PMAA’s Washington Conference and Day on the Hill
PMAA’s annual Washington Conference and Day on the Hill will be held in our Nation’s Capital of Washington, DC from May 13-15. Our industry continues to have several important legislative and regulatory issues to discuss and the Day on the Hill continues to be the primary focus of this conference.
The meeting will begin with an Opening Session / Issues Briefing and Region meetings in the afternoon of May 13. Our welcome reception, including our fun and popular PAC silent auction fundraiser, concludes the day! On the morning of May 14, marketers will head to Capitol Hill for visits with their Congressional delegations after a buffet breakfast and issues briefing for those who were not able to attend the opening session. Please make your Congressional appointments NOW.There will be a hospitality suite and luncheon on the Hill. On the evening of May 15, we will feature our 2020 PMAA Chair Aaron Littlefield along with honoring our other Past Chairs in attendance. Our conference will conclude after the PMAA Board of Directors meet on May 15 following a buffet breakfast and committee meetings.
Please click here for our event website for all available details and registration. Invitations were sent out Wednesday afternoon to members and Corporate Partners who have attended PMAA Conferences in the past.
Please make your plans now to attend this important and productive forum to meet with your members of Congress and network with other marketers from across the country!
See you in DC in the spring!
PMAA Corporate Platinum Partner Spotlight Featuring: Federated Insurance
Federated Insurance Employment Practices Network HR Question of the Month
Federated Insurance’s HR Question of the Month focuses on employment-related practices liability issues. This month’s question is: Form WH-382 - Designation Notice Required? If an employee is not eligible for FMLA leave, is the employer required to provide the WH-382 form (Designation Notice)? Please click here to read the response.
For additional information or to discuss this in further detail, please contact your Federated regional representative or PMAA’s National Account Executive Jon Medo at 800.533.0472.
Federated is a PMAA Corporate Platinum Partner.
January 2020 PMAA MDF Contributors
PMAA’s Marketer Defense Fund wants to thank the following individuals for their contributions during the January 1- 31 timeframe:
Arizona: Arizona Petroleum Marketers Association
Connecticut: Richard Connors
Florida: Ed Hinson
Missouri: Missouri Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association
New Mexico: New Mexico Petroleum Marketers Association
New Jersey: Norman Wooley
New York: Denise Brigham, Scott Smith
North Carolina: Wesley Campbell
Oklahoma: Oklahoma Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association
Pennsylvania: Samantha Lantz, Rob Smith
Tennessee: Tennessee Fuel & Convenience Store Association
Washington: Washington Oil Marketers Association
Corporate donations are acceptable. MDF funds have been used for various studies, litigation and disaster relief dedicated to strengthening our lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill. Please click here to donate to the PMAA MDF.
PMAA Member Services Spotlight Featuring: Laborchex
Background Screening and Drug Testing by Ricky Rayborn
Laborchex Inc. provides employment screening and drug testing services nationwide to a varying range of industries, from small businesses to Fortune 500 corporations. We also provide a comprehensive portfolio of employment screening searches, verifications, and compliance tools covering all 50 states including Canada, PR, Guam and US Territories. International criminal searches are available upon request.
We specialize in utilizing a consultative approach to help our clients determine what products and services are best suited for our client’s unique needs. Our extensive experiences and expertise help our clients develop both employment background screening and drug testing programs that meets or exceeds the best practices for their industry.
From employment screening, criminal background checks, drug screening, ATS integrations and more, Laborchex Inc. is fully capable of meeting all your background check and screening needs. New clients never pay any set-up fees and there are no minimum order requirements.
Laborchex, a PMAA Vendor and a PMAA Corporate Bronze Partner who has been serving clients nationwide since 1991, do not have set-up fees or minimum order requirements. PMAA members are offered special pricing. For more information and to discuss your needs, please email PMAA’s Consultant Kym Lewis or call her directly at 800.880.0366 or visit.