|Missouri Doubles EMA SBC PAC Goal 15 Years in A Row!
For 15 years in a row, the Missouri Petroleum & Convenience Association (MPCA) has more than doubled its annual EMA SBC PAC goal. For example:
2019: MPCA raised $11,650, or 244% of their annual goal.
2020: MPCA raised $11,850, or 248% of their annual goal.
2021: MPCA raised $12,650, or 267% of their annual goal.
2022: MPCA has thus far raised $10,800, or 225% of their annual goal of $4,798.
In fact, between 2008 and 2022 MPCA has raised and donated more than $162,000 for the EMA SBC PAC!
The successful formula used by Wayne Baker, EMA SBC PAC delegate, MPCA Past President, and current MPCA Board member remains the same.
“EMA is one of our key partners in Washington, D.C. And like any organization, EMA needs sufficient resources to do the job and protect our legislative and regulatory interests at the federal level. Motor fuel marketers are very competitive people. Here in Missouri, we leverage this competitive nature by publicizing who is donating how much and then we collect the donations at our December Board Meeting and Holiday Party while we fellowship, drink good scotch, and smoke fine cigars,” said Wayne Baker.
Lawmakers departed Washington today with a recess scheduled for next week and Democrats reeling from a lack of progress on voting rights and filibuster reform.
FMCSA’s New Alternative Vision Standard Replaces Current CDL DRIVER Vision Exemption Program
As for the latest on the stalled Build Back Better (BBB) Act – Democrats’ $1.75 trillion climate change, tax, health care, and education package – President Biden said that Congress “can break the package up, get as much as we can now and come back and fight for the rest later.” President Biden pointed to the climate and clean energy provisions in particular as a starting point. In the past, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has shown an openness to engage on climate provisions, which generally include expanded clean energy tax credits for wind, solar, nuclear, hydropower, and carbon capture. That said, Sen. Manchin has set a very high bar for passing even pieces of the BBB, noting that he wants to see inflation, COVID, and the national debt dealt with first, adding that any future negotiations on BBB-lite will be “starting from scratch.” After recess, much of February will focus on Senate Democratic leadership trying to find compromise with Sens. Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and working to pass some version of a climate/social safety net bill before the President’s March 1 State of the Union address. Keep in mind, however, that March 1 is more of an aspirational goal rather than an actual deadline (i.e., there is no government shutdown-type situation that would force action by March 1).
Democrats remain divided over a myriad of tax issues, including the child tax credit, the State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction, and – importantly – how to pay for any climate-focused package. The climate provisions in the House-passed BBB cost approximately $550 billion. Democrats will likely continue to seek a deficit-neutral bill, which necessitates offsets. As such, though Sen. Manchin has said negotiations would be starting from scratch, the current pay-fors in the House-passed BBB comprise the most likely pay-fors in a revised bill, but no decisions have been made.
From a political standpoint, the White House and Democratic Congressional leaders will continue searching for compromise with razor-thin majorities and pushing for a legislative win ahead of the State of the Union and looming November midterms. Bottom line: Even a slimmed down version of BBB faces an uphill climb.
The FMCSA issued a final rule that allows certain CDL drivers with otherwise disqualifying visual acuity and field of vision conditions the chance to maintain their CDL medical qualification under a new alternative vision standard. Currently, drivers with visual acuity and field of vision deficiencies are prohibited from driving CMVs in interstate commerce unless they obtain an exemption from FMCSA.
Annual EPCRA TIER II Reports Due March 1st
The new rule is good news for energy marketers because it provides drivers with vision deficiencies additional avenues to obtain a medical certificate required for operating a commercial motor vehicle. The new alternative vision standard replaces the current vision exemption program as the basis for determining the physical qualification of these drivers. The new standard requires drivers with disqualifying vision conditions to obtain a Vision Evaluation Report (Form MCSA-5871) from a specialist, such as an ophthalmologist or optometrist, in addition to undergoing the current physical qualification exam conducted by a DOT certified medical examiner (ME). The ophthalmologist or optometrist records the findings of the vision evaluation and provides specific medical opinions on the new Vision Evaluation Report. The ME is not required to follow the vision specialist’s recommendation as to the individual’s visual qualifications but only take it under consideration.
Individuals physically qualified for the first time under the alternative vision standard must satisfactorily complete a road test before operating in interstate commerce. The employing motor carrier conducts the road test in accordance with road test standards already required under 49 CFR § 391.31. CDL drivers are exempted from the road test requirement if they have 3 years of intrastate or specific excepted interstate CMV driving experience with the vision deficiency, hold a valid Federal vision exemption, or are medically certified under the previously administered vision waiver study program in 49 CFR § 391.64(b). Exemption holders have 1 year after the effective date of the final rule to comply with the alternative vision standard, at which time all exemptions issued under 49 U.S.C. 31315(b) become void. Medical certificates issued to drivers using the alternative vision standards are valid for up to 12 months. The FMCSA has not yet released Form MCSA-5871 but will do so soon. The FMCSA rule only applies to interstate drivers. However, many states adopt the FMCSA regulations for intrastate drivers.
The Emergency Preparedness and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA) of 1986 was created to help communities plan for chemical emergencies. EPCRA requires facilities to report each year on the storage, use and release of hazardous chemicals (including petroleum products) during the previous calendar year. Typically, Tier II reports are filed with the state or local Fire Marshall (see state compliance section below). The information on the EPCRA Tier II report is used by state and local governments for emergency response to risks associated with stored hazardous chemicals.
Swipe Fees Still on Schedule to Rise in April
Facilities that store over 10,000 pounds of hazardous chemicals (petroleum products) onsite at any point during the previous calendar year must file an EPCRA Tier II. The 10,000 pounds compliance trigger is calculated by combining the volume of all petroleum on site in every storage container including above ground and underground bulk storage tanks, portable skid tanks, and heating fuel or propane tanks used to heat facility buildings (see gallon to pound conversion chart below).
Retail gasoline facilities with 75,000 gallons or less of gasoline storage capacity and 100,000 gallons or less of diesel fuel storage capacity are exempt from EPCRA reporting requirements. Card lock fueling facilities are also subject to the retail fueling facilities exemption, with the same storage capacity limits above.
Tier II reports for 2021 must be filed with state emergency response authorities by March 1, 2022.
To read the compliance bulletin, click here.
MPC Urges Congress to Address Increasing Swipe Fees
On January 13, 2022 Visa and Mastercard reminded retailers that the plan that was originally set for 2020 but delayed because of the pandemic, will take place this April – an increase of 0.5 percent in retailer fees. Bloomberg estimates that when Visa and Mastercard increase their fees by 0.5 percent, expect the merchant fees you pay processors and point of sale systems to impact profits by 15-25 percent.
Order Your Free Covid Tests
Meanwhile, the Merchants Payment Coalition (MPC) sent a letter to Members of the Senate Banking and House Finance Committees. The letter was spurred by the moves by Amazon to stop accepting Visa in the U.K. due to high fees. Amazon has since stopped the freeze of Visa while in negotiation with the company. Members of the coalition wanted to bring Amazon’s efforts to the attention of the committees and to also remind Members that the problem is far worse here in the United States. Specifically, “As bad as the situation is in the United Kingdom, the pain for merchants is far worse in the United States, which has the highest swipe fees in the industrialized world. Visa’s rates here are four times what they are in the UK, and the total amount collected is more than 100 times as much. We believe U.S. authorities should look closely at what Amazon has done in the UK and need to be aware that many retailers here feel the same. It’s time to bring about competition that will require the U.S. card industry to play under the same rules as any other business.”
Remember to order your household’s 4 free Covid tests by going to: COVIDtests.gov - Free at-home COVID-19 tests. Tests will start shipping the week of January 24. To place an order, all you need is your name and residential address. No ID, credit card, or health insurance information is required. You may also share your email address to get updates on your order. For those who have difficulty accessing the internet or need additional support placing an order, you can call 1-800-232-0233 (TTY 1-888-720-7489). The tests can be taken anywhere, and they give results within 30 minutes (no lab drop-off required). The site also entails information about insurance reimbursement for up to 8 tests a month for each person on your insurance plan.
Bill Introduced to Electrify LIHEAP Funding
This week, Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) and Rep. Jammal Bowman (D-NY) introduced the “Heating and Cooling Relief Act,” which would increase LIHEAP funding to $40 billion per year through 2031 and expand eligibility from 150 percent of the poverty level to 250 percent. Unfortunately, the bill would allow states to use approximately one-third of LIHEAP funds to incentivize replacement of home heating fuel systems to electric heat pumps that run on coal and natural gas. The bill would also require utilities and fuel dealers to turn over lists of all customers who have outstanding payment to state energy assistance coordinators.
ExxonMobil Pledges to Meet Net-Zero Carbon Emissions by 2050
The “Heating and Cooling Relief Act” is more of a messaging bill and has little chance of becoming law.
On Tuesday, ExxonMobil announced its “ambition” to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions for operated assets by 2050, backed by a comprehensive approach to develop detailed emission-reduction roadmaps for major facilities and assets. Click here to read the Reuters article.
Federated Insurance: It’s Your Life
Year-end Tax Planning
Now that we have lived under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) for several years, let’s look at what we’ve learned about how to take full advantage of its provisions. Please read the article here for some moves to consider.
Sound Payments Announces New Promotion to Help Stations Easily Upgrade for EMV
With all the other things on your plate as a business owner, individual tax planning can be overlooked. There is still time to do some year-end planning that can have a significant impact on the taxes you pay this year and in the future. When considering any of the strategies above, you should consult with your tax specialist. They know your situation best and may have a better read on what the future of taxation holds.
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 Partner in EMA’s Board of Directors Council.
Sound Payments announced a new promotion last week to help encourage independent stations to upgrade their pumps to accept EMV/chip cards and prevent fraudulent activity. The promotion also works in conjunction with station marketers, servicers and resellers and provides 50 percent off installation costs.
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Sound Easy Pump™ is a semi-integrated secure solution that can easily and cost-effectively enable EMV at the pump in a couple of hours or less. It supports contactless via card tap or NFC, QR code scanning, PIN-on-glass, remote key injection, MSR, and EMV chip and PIN. Sound Payments solution is one third of the cost of comparable options in the market and also does not have requirements such as replacing an in-store POS system or merchant processing partner.
Please read the full press release here.
For more information about the promotion or upgrading, please visit. Sound Payments Petro Solutions is an EMA Corporate Bronze Partner.
Your EMA Fall Journal is the current issue online. EMA Winter Journal will be available soon. You can take EMA Journal with you wherever you go. Click here to view the current Issue featuring the Annual Directory, optimized for any device. Scroll to select the articles that matter to you, then read, learn and share with the icons at the top of your screen. Looking for a past issue? Scroll through past covers on the left side of your browser or use our convenient search feature to find a particular topic. Miss flipping pages? Select "page view" from the menu bar or click the handy magazine icon for a classic page-turner.
EMA Member Services Spotlight Featuring: National Purchasing Partners (NPP)
For information on advertising, please call 844.423.7272 or email Innovative Publishing. The Winter 2022 issue is expected to be mailed in February 2022. Ads for Spring 2022 advertising are due by March 1, 2022.
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