|EPA Final Rule Establishes Criteria for Designating Ozone Non-Attainment Areas
Recently, the EPA issued final requirements establishing criteria for state and local air agencies to implement the 2015 National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone. These requirements apply to states with non-attainment areas. Ozone is formed from NOX and VOC in the presence of sunlight. Cars, trucks, buses, engines, industries, power plants and products, such as solvents and paints, are among the major man-made sources of ozone-forming emissions. Ozone standards and attainment criteria are important to petroleum marketers because they could lead to the introduction of RVP and RFG requirements in non-attainment areas depending on the severity of the ozone pollution they establish.
In October 2015, the EPA strengthened the ozone NAAQS from 75 parts per billion (ppb) to 70 ppb, a significant change that will make it more likely that RFG and RVP could be mandated in many of newly designated nonattainment areas. After the EPA establishes or revises an air quality standard as it did in 2015, the agency, with input from the states, establishes area designations (i.e., as nonattainment, attainment, or unclassifiable) to the EPA. The EPA then evaluates air quality data and other factors prior to making its proposed and final determinations regarding area designations. The EPA also classifies non-attainment areas by the severity of their air quality problem based on air quality monitoring data with five classification categories ranging from “Marginal” to “Extreme.” In the recent final rule, EPA established the air quality thresholds that define each of the five classification categories and attainment deadline associated with each classification.
The final air quality thresholds and attainment dates for the 2015 ozone NAAQS for each classification are:
In addition to setting these thresholds, the agency also set forth deadlines by which states that do not meet the 2015 ozone standard must come into compliance. The rule is effective May 8, 2018.
- Marginal – from 71 ppb up to 81 ppb with 3 years from nonattainment designation to comply.
- Moderate – from 81 ppb up to 93 ppb with 6 years from nonattainment designation to comply.
- Serious – from 93 ppb up to 105 ppb with 9 years from nonattainment designation to comply.
- Severe – from 105 ppb up to 163 ppb with 15 or 17 years from nonattainment designation to comply.
- Extreme – from 163 ppb and above with 20 years from nonattainment designation to comply.
In addition, on Monday, Federal judge Haywood Gilliam, Jr. of the U.S. District Court for Northern California ruled that the EPA broke the law when it did not meet the October 1, 2017 deadline to announce which areas of the country are not in compliance with the ozone standards set in 2015. Consequently the Court ordered the EPA to comply by April 30 instead of the August 10, 2018 date that the agency had said it required.
PMAA will continue to monitor and report on ozone nonattainment area designation and compliance measures as they become available.
Oversight Committee Shines Light on Regulatory Process
Committee Releases Recommendations
On Wednesday the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing entitled: "Shining Light on the Federal Regulatory Process" in order to assess federal agencies’ processes for and compliance with rulemaking and guidance procedure requirements.
Hearing witnesses were: Kris Nguyeun, Government Accountability Office; Paul Noe, American Forest and Paper Association; Karen Harned, NFIB; Professor Nicholas Pirrillo, Yale; and Amit Naarang, Public Citizen.
Agencies are issuing a significant quantity of regulatory directives through guidance documents that are difficult to track and have few procedural standards. To better understand the scope of guidance, Committee Republicans requested information on guidance documents issued from 46 agencies. The responses show agencies routinely fail to comply with the Congressional Review Act’s (CRA) requirements and the Office of Management and Budget’s 2007 “Good Guidance” Bulletin. Administrations tend to increase regulatory activity towards the end of presidential terms and a significant number of “midnight rules” and guidance documents are not compliant with the CRA. Republicans released a staff report detailing findings from the Committee’s oversight of federal agencies’ regulatory guidance documents. Particularly problematic for petroleum marketers is that agencies generally do not keep a complete inventory of guidance documents.
Report recommendations are: all agencies should submit their covered guidance documents to Congress and the Government Accountability Office (GAO); agencies should make their guidance documents available in an online library; and Congress should consider legislation to codify existing requirements in executive directives to improve Congressional oversight of agency regulatory activity.
Republicans and Democrats Far Apart on SNAP Requirement Talks
Any day now, a draft Farm bill will likely be released. One supposed provision in the farm bill would raise the work requirement for SNAP recipients from age 60 to 65. During a podcast last week, House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-MN) confirmed that the provision to raise the age to 65 was included in the draft bill that he read. Rep. Peterson has spoken out against cuts to the SNAP budget and any attempt to change the work requirements for SNAP recipients.
Although many Democrats believe this change would be unreasonable, some Republicans feel that it does not go far enough. One Republican believing the proposed work requirement does not go far enough is Jason Turner who leads Secretaries Innovation Group, a group of conservative state officials who manage SNAP on the state level and support reduced welfare. Although Turner has not seen the language in the farm bill, he is concerned that the proposal floating around “might not go in the right direction on work." He added that the language in the bill is “diametrically opposite from what we would encourage." However, on Wednesday, while testifying at a Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee hearing, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said that he supported the proposed work requirement age change for SNAP recipients from 60 to 65. Perdue stated that “with the aging of America and the ability for us to live longer, I think certainly we want to be healthy and we want to be continuing to work.”
A committee markup of the farm bill is scheduled for next week, but due to ongoing disputes over the proposed SNAP requirement, it will likely be rescheduled. Chairman Conaway and Ranking Member Peterson have stated that they would like to come to a bipartisan agreement and pass the farm bill.
House Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Expired Tax Provisions
Biodiesel Blenders’ Tax Credit Discussed
On Wednesday, the House Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Tax Policy held a hearing titled “Post Tax Reform Evaluation of Recently Expired Tax Provisions” during which lawmakers and witnesses discussed some of the recently expired tax provisions, known as “tax extenders,” and whether some of them should be extended under the newly reformed tax code. The hearing included twenty-one witnesses representing various organizations that were organized into four different panels.
In his opening statement, Tax Policy Subcommittee Chairman Vern Buchanan (R-FL) stated that after last year’s comprehensive tax reform, “we need to turn our focus to maintaining it and making further refinements and enhancements” and said, “it should not be business as usual with respect to the tax extenders.” He added, “Now is the time to examine each of these provisions one-by-one to determine whether and how they fit into the new tax code.”
Michael McAdams, president of the Advanced Biofuels Association, offered testimony on behalf of a coalition of groups including PMAA, ATA, ABFA, NATSO, NACS and SIGMA. In his remarks, McAdams expressed support for an extension of the $1-per-gallon biodiesel blenders’ tax credit and opposition to converting the biodiesel blenders’ credit to a producers’ credit. Recognizing that the Ways and Means Committee decided to phase out other tax incentives instead of immediately terminating them, McAdams stated, “While we believe the biodiesel and renewable diesel tax incentives should be made permanent, we understand that there may not be a consensus to do so.” He added, “Handled responsibly, our coalition believes that a multi-year phase out of the tax incentive can achieve the same economic and environmental benefits that the $1 credit has achieved for more than a decade. We are eager to work with the Committee on identifying a responsible path forward in this respect. Although our coalition would support phasing out the credit over a period of years, it is imperative that the credit be extended at $1 per gallon for 2018. Given that Congress has frequently extended the credit retroactively, including most recently in February 2018 for all of 2017, market participants have come to reasonably rely on the credit being retroactively extended when undertaking business and investment decisions. This includes decisions made already in 2018. To protect these market participants from unanticipated changes in policy, the existing provisions should be extended in full for at least this year.”
PMAA, along with other members of the coalition, submitted comments for the hearing record to the House Ways and Means Committee urging for an extension of the existing biodiesel and renewable diesel tax incentives and have expressed support for H.R. 3264, known as the “Biodiesel, Renewable Diesel, and Alternative Fuels Extension Act of 2017.” The legislation, introduced by Reps. Diane Black (R-TN) and Ron Kind (D-WI), would extend the biodiesel blenders’ tax credit and phase it out over five years.
Historic Infrastructure Hearing with Five Cabinet Secretaries
On Wednesday the Senate held a hearing on “Administration Perspectives of Rebuilding Infrastructure in America,” and heard from: Secretary Elaine Chao, Department of Transportation; Secretary Wilbur Ross, Department of Commerce; Secretary Alexander Acosta, Department of Labor; Secretary Sonny Perdue, Department of Agriculture; and Secretary Rick Perry, Department of Energy.
The goal of the President’s proposal is to stimulate at least $1.5 trillion in infrastructure investment and includes a minimum of $200 billion in direct Federal funding. Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-SD) expects some legislation to move this year, but Congress must identify how to pay for the plan. Furthermore, Thune agreed with a statement that Speaker Ryan (R-WI) made last week that several bills could emerge due to the multiple committees of jurisdiction. In any case, a slow process is likely ahead for an infrastructure bill to move forward.
2018 Silent Auction Items Needed
Following very closely after Lea McCullough, Brad Bell, and the Washington Oil Marketers Association (WOMA) provided this year’s first PMAA Small Business Committee (SBC) PAC Silent Auction items are contributions from Ron Leone and the Missouri Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association.
The Auction will take place in conjunction with PMAA’s Washington Conference on May 16 during the welcome reception. 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.
Men are going to love the Missouri Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association contribution of a Jack Spade anchor credit card holder crafted from vegetable-dyed leather, and embossed with a burnished anchor pattern, designed to gain character in time. In addition, the Missouri association contributed a Kate Spade Cameron Street Karolina wristlet, a favorite new wallet that is practical thanks to the zippered pocket and credit card slots, yet still chic enough to carry on its own.
The Auction will take place in conjunction with PMAA’s Washington Conference on May 16 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 AcademySM Offered April 24-26, 2018
Federated Insurance is offering complimentary risk management training for petroleum marketers on April 24-26, 2018. Through this valuable session, you will discover methods you can use immediately to help protect profits by reducing risk at your business.
Companies that are the most successful at controlling losses and protecting profits have integrated risk management into their overall company culture. Many have designated a key person as their risk manager. This person is supported by top management and is both responsible and accountable for identifying loss exposures and implementing risk management solutions.
These seminars are designed for individuals in positions of risk leadership including owners, operations management, service management, risk management, or human resources. The key to a successful business is implementing and leading a strong risk management culture, so attendees should be in a position to take action!
Class size is limited to 25. For more information or to reserve your spot in the upcoming session, please contact Royetta Spurgeon at Federated Insurance by calling 507.455.5604, or e-mailing email@example.com. Federated is a PMAA Corporate Platinum Partner.
Worldpay Urgent Alert: SSL 3 and TLS 1.0 Decommissioning Effective May 1, 2018
Over the past year we have been communicating this information and now the end of life for SSL3 and TLS 1.0 is being sunset April 30, 2018. What that means is if you have not acted on this in the past and are still using SSL3 or TLS 1.0 after the sunset date, you will no longer be able to process transactions.
This is a mandatory PCI request for ALL credit card processors and merchants accepting payments such as Worldpay. Please take the time to read the attached alert in its entirety as there is also a Q&A section at the end which essentially tells you how to go about getting compliant. If you are using a VeriFone VX510, VX570 or 3750, you will need to upgrade your equipment as these will NOT support the new TLS 1.2 version.
Should you have any questions, please reach out to your designated Worldpay Account Manager or PMAA’s Worldpay Executive Client Manager, Glenda Preen at 972.325.1801. Worldpay is a PMAA Corporate Silver Partner and Vendor.
Federated Insurance Employment Practices Network Webinar of the Month
Hidden Dangers of Retaliation on March 20, 2018 AT 2:00pm EST
We will identify the unexpected ways in which you, as an employer, may find the tables turned— that is, an employee claims retaliation after you've taken action to address a problem, such as performance, attendance, leave, or market conditions that have nothing to do with a particular employee or your decisions. We will identify the common elements of these claims and will give you some easy tools and ideas you can use to avoid or defend against retaliation claims.
Advance Registration is required. A recorded version of the webinar will be available here for 60 days approximately one week after the live session if you are interested, but unable to attend.
For additional information or to discuss this in further detail, please contact your Federated regional representative or PMAA’s National Account Executive Jerry Leemkuil at 800.533.0472. Federated is a PMAA Corporate Platinum Partner.
Reserve Your Rooms NOW and Register for PMAA’s Washington Conference and Day on the Hill
PMAA’s annual Washington Conference and Day on the Hill will be held in Washington, DC from May 16-18. Our industry continues to have dozens of 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 16. Our welcome reception, including our fun and popular PAC silent auction fundraiser, concludes the day! On the morning of May 17, 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 17, we will honor our 2018 PMAA Chair Mark McBride. Our conference will conclude after the PMAA Board of Directors meet on May 18 following a buffet breakfast and committee meetings.
Please click here for our event website for all details and registration with secure event payment processing through Cvent. We are expecting fantastic attendance with over 200 members who have made hotel reservations at our Headquarter Hotel with an additional dozen at our overflow hotel and over 130 members already registered! If you plan on attending PMAA’s annual Washington Conference and Day on the Hill, now is the time to make your room reservation through A Room with a View at 800.780.4343, our free overflow hotel service, as we have been sold out of our room block at Washington Marriott at Metro Center and this will serve as our official waitlist for Washington Marriott at Metro Center. May is a very busy month here in our Nation’s Capital of Washington, DC where hotels book quickly and there are many citywide events also going on during our conference.
It is your chance to make a positive difference for our industry! Please make your plans now to attend this important and productive conference to meet with your members of Congress! See you in DC in the spring!
Please make your plans to attend this important and productive forum to meet with your members of Congress and network with other marketers from across the country! We look forward to welcoming you to DC in May!
PMAA Corporate Platinum Partner Spotlight Featuring: Federated Insurance
How Long Can You Live Without a Paycheck?
Disability is more common than you think.
As long as you have the ability to earn an income, you are able to accumulate assets and provide for yourself and your family. But what would happen if you became disabled and could no longer work?
The odds of becoming disabled are compelling. To learn the statistics and more about disability insurance, please click here. For additional information or to discuss this in further detail, please contact your Federated regional representative or PMAA’s National Account Executive Jerry Leemkuil at 800.533.0472. Federated is a PMAA Corporate Platinum Partner.
PMAA Member Services Spotlight Featuring: LaborChex
Building a Better Workforce with Pre-Employment Screening
The U.S. workforce has undergone a major shift in work ethics, values, expectations, and tolerance. The employee of just five years ago is very different than the employee of today. This new breed, the Emergent Employee, crosses all ages, races, genders, and geographies, and is quickly changing the way companies attract, select, develop, manage, and retain top talent.
At LaborChex, we believe that employment screening is an essential hiring and employee retention tool used to reduce the risks associated with the people who drive the success or failure of your company. A well-executed onboarding process not only decreases employee turnover rates in the short term, but it increases ramp up to productivity and creates stronger long-term employee commitment. This will help employers build a unique, high-energy team of like minds with a single purpose and uniform approach to do something special.
To read more about LaborChex and their services in its entirety, please view here. Please note that the general information provided is not a substitute for legal advice. Please consult with your legal counsel regarding these topics and other general employment questions.
LaborChex, a PMAA Vendor who has been serving clients nationwide since 1991, provides a program of background checks for PMAA members. For more information and to discuss your needs, please email PMAA’s Account Consultant Ricky Rayborn or call him directly at 601.832.2174 or visit.