|Hazardous Material Training Compliance Now Required
Earlier this year, the Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued an enforcement waiver for the reoccurring hazardous material training that CDL drivers with hazardous material endorsements must undergo every three years. PHMSA issued the enforcement waiver due to the forced closures and social distancing limitations imposed by the COVID-19 emergency. PHMSA first issued the training waiver on March 23, 2020 and subsequently extended it through October 31, 2020. Last week, PHMSA issued another extension of the training enforcement waiver through December 31, 2020.
However, this most recent extension only applies to maritime haulers of hazardous materials. Hazardous material training enforcement discretion for all other industries, including energy marketers, ended on October 31, 2020. As a result, energy marketers who put off recurrent training during the waiver period are required to come into compliance immediately. Any hazardous material drivers or safety sensitive employees who missed recurrent HAZMAT training must now be trained.
As a reminder, the hazardous material training curriculum subject to the temporary enforcement waiver covered reoccurring training under 49 CFR 172.704 (c)(2). Reoccurring training includes:
General Awareness/Familiarization Training
Function Specific Training
Security Awareness Training
In Depth Security Training
OSHA and EPA Training
IMPORTANT! The federal hazardous materials training regulations do not require in person classroom instruction. Any method of training delivery, including web-based, self-paced computer instruction, remotely delivered classroom instruction, on the job training, or some combination of those methods that cover the required elements in 49 CFR 172 Subpart H are acceptable. For additional information or questions, contact Mark S. Morgan, EMA Regulatory Counsel at (703) 281-6600.
New Edition of DOT ERG Requires Update of In-Cab Emergency Response Information
Every four years, the U.S. DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) publishes an updated version of its Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG) required for use by CDL drivers hauling hazardous materials. The latest version of the emergency response guide, ERG 2020, is now available. ERG 2020 updates and replaces the ERG 2016 edition currently in use by energy marketers. The ERG guidebook is intended for use by first responders during the initial phase of a transportation incident involving hazardous materials.
Coronavirus Relief Package Still in Limbo during a Lame-Duck Congress
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The Trump Administration is taking a step back in negotiating a future coronavirus relief package. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) who recently called on Congress to approve a relief package before the end of the year is now the lead Republican negotiator. Prior to the election, negotiations over another coronavirus relief package were handled predominately between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Despite reported progress, negotiators failed to reach an agreement on the overall price tag of the next coronavirus relief package. The Trump Administration proposed a $1.8 trillion deal; Speaker Pelosi called for funding exceeding $2 trillion; and Senate Republicans expressed reluctance to support any package that exceeded $1 trillion. Liability protections remain a top priority for Senate Republicans; Speaker Pelosi insists robust state and local aid is paramount for Democratic support.
Restaurant Closures Impact Growth of Renewable Hydrocarbon Fuels
House Democrats could refuse to advance a smaller COVID-19 relief package and wait for President-elect Biden to take office to reach a better deal. However, there are no guarantees since Democrats will be working with a very slim House majority and the Senate is likely to stay in GOP hands. In addition to a coronavirus relief measure, Congress must keep the government funded beyond the current December 11 continuing resolution deadline. Should Congress pass a coronavirus measure before January, an outstanding question is whether President Trump would sign the legislation into law.
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Refiners such as HollyFrontier Corp., Valero Energy Corp., Phillips 66 and Marathon Petroleum Corp. are spending millions to reduce carbon emissions by converting their existing facilities to process discarded fats such as cooking grease rather than crude oil to produce renewable hydrocarbon fuels. Unfortunately, restaurant closures and less people eating out due to the coronavirus are causing shortages of discarded fats which may impact renewable hydrocarbon fuels growth.
Transportation and Infrastructure Outlook in the 117th Congress
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President-Elect Joe Biden’s recent presumed victory in the general election will push forward major shifts in US policy across a wide array of issues, including transportation and infrastructure. Broadly, Biden and his transition team have indicated a desire to work with Congress in early 2021 to enact a large-scale infrastructure package, which would include what is viewed as “traditional” infrastructure – i.e. roads, bridges, transit, etc. – but it would also likely include language relating to ports, airports, schools, broadband access, water infrastructure, and clean energy projects, and could move as a combined package or as pieces of a number of bills.
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There is also broad bipartisan support in Congress for a comprehensive infrastructure package; however, there are significant differences of opinion on major issues between Republicans and Democrats, such as what elements should be included, the size of the package, and how to pay for it. House Democrats have shown support for far-reaching climate- and environment-related language, which they would likely push in a broad infrastructure package. In July, on a strictly partisan vote, House Democrats passed a $1.5 trillion infrastructure package (the Moving Forward Act – H.R. 2), which House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) has discussed with the Biden transition team. Keep in mind that H.R. 2 included language that would allow EV charging stations to be installed at rest areas, expands the controversial EV tax credit and creates $1.4 billion grant program for states and localities to deploy EV charging stations along alternative fuel corridors. Republican lawmakers adamantly opposed H.R. 2 and with President-Elect Biden likely facing a divided government next Congress, there will be limits on what Democrats are able to accomplish with regard to electrification.
In addition to infrastructure, the 117th Congress will have to address surface transportation reauthorization. The one-year extension of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act – authorizing highway, transit, rail, and vehicle safety programs – expires in September 2021. House Democrats included a surface transportation title in the Moving Forward Act, and House Republicans released their own proposal (the STARTER Act), which will serve as a starting point for their interests in any conference negotiations. Meanwhile in the Senate, Environment and Public Works Chairman John Barrasso (R-WY) and Ranking Member Tom Carper (D-DE) passed the bipartisan America’s Transportation Infrastructure Act out of committee by unanimous consent. These bills will likely serve as the starting points for surface transportation reauthorization discussions in the respective chambers. Should an infrastructure package move, it is possible that surface transportation reauthorization will be included.
However, the key question for both infrastructure and surface transportation reauthorization remains the same: how will Congress pay for such a bill, and what action will be taken to find a sustainable, long-term revenue source for the Highway Trust Fund (HFT)? Will electric vehicles (EVs) finally pay into the HFT? The current state of the economy and previous COVID-relief packages indicate a greater willingness by Congress to deficit spend on infrastructure as a next step in recovery from the pandemic; however, historically, surface transportation bills have been primarily user financed. Stay tuned.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Community Services (OCS) this week announced the release of approximately $3.36 billion of fiscal year 2021 regular block grant funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Plan (LIHEAP). This funding is provided under the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021 and Other Extensions Act, ("Continuing Resolution"), which the President signed into law on October 1, 2020 (Public Law 116-159).
Federated Insurance: It’s Your Life
The Continuing Resolution provides funding for LIHEAP until December 11, 2020. This release reflects 90 percent of the total or annualized amount of funds available under the Continuing Resolution to grantees at the beginning of the program year. A table detailing LIHEAP allocations by state can be found here. Each grantee that submitted a complete LIHEAP plan for FY 2021 received 90 percent of the funding available under the Continuing Resolution, after accounting the annual updates to the LIHEAP allocation formula data used to calculate the block grant allocation amounts.
National Estate Planning Awareness
October 19–25, 2020 was National Estate Planning Awareness Week. The purpose of this annual event is to educate the public about what estate planning is and remind us why it can be so important to our financial wellbeing and to the wellbeing of our families after we’re gone.
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According to the National Association of Estate Planners and Councils, the purpose of estate planning is to “develop a strategy that will maintain the financial security of individuals through their lifetime and ensure the intended transfer of their property and assets at death, while taking into consideration the unique circumstances of the family and the potential costs of different methods.” 1
It is more important than ever to have a plan for your family and business in place. To read the article in its entirety, please click here.
Please always feel free to contact your Federated regional representative or EMA’s National Account Executive Jon Medo at 800.533.0472 for any additional information or risk management questions. 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. © 2020 Federated Mutual Insurance Company.
Keeping Water Out of Storage Tanks: How do you prevent water, corrosion and microbe issues in fuel tanks? Hint: It’s not the fuel.
Biodiesel does not cause water issues in fuel tanks. Let’s get that out of the way. You may have heard differently, but the truth is that water is everywhere in our environment and is a concern with all fuels. That’s why storing fuel — be it biodiesel, ultra-low sulfur diesel, heating oil, or blended Bioheat® fuel — in a clean, dry tank is critical. In fact, water is the common denominator for two major issues with fuel storage: microbial contamination and corrosion. Let’s address these one at a time.
Federated Insurance Response to Coronavirus
To read the article in its entirety, please click here. REG understands minimizing tank corrosion is important. That’s why we educate customers on the potential impacts of free water in a fuel tank. Our technical services team is ready to help and can be reached at 844-405-0160.
For additional information about Renewable Energy Group, Inc., please visit or contact Scott Nemec. Renewable Energy Group is a EMA Corporate Platinum Partner.
Federated Insurance continues to be committed to helping you as our nation unites to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Here is a link to many valuable resources designed to inform and support your members during these uncertain times. Because this page is not available on our public site, you may want to save it in your browser for future reference as it will be updated regularly when additional resources become available.
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Federated’s valued policyholders have these and additional resources available to them atFederated’s myShield? or by contacting our Risk Management Resource Center at 1-888-333-4949. For additional information or to discuss this in further detail, please contact yourFederated regional representative or EMA’s National Account Executive Jon Medo at 800.533.0472. Federated is a EMA Corporate Platinum Partner.
Energy Marketers of America (EMA) members can enroll for free with NPP and save on business supplies and much more. Visit to sign up.
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