|EMA Compliance Bulletin: DOT Annual Hazmat Registration Period Opens May 1, 2022
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) online portal for annual HAZMAT registration opens May 1, 2022. Registration renewals must be completed by July 1, 2022. Due to COVID-19 workplace restrictions and processing delays, marketers should register online this year and do so early. However, registrations submitted before May 1, 2022 will not be processed until the open season begins.
PHMSA requires both hazardous material transporters and those who ship hazardous materials through common carriers to register and pay a fee each year in return for a certificate of authority to operate in intrastate and/or interstate commerce. Since PHMSA allows multiyear registration, not all registration certificates are up for renewal by July 1, 2022. Marketers should look at their registration certificate for the date of renewal or search registration status at PHMSA’s online portal at registration look-up to determine whether registration is due for renewal.
Click here to read the EMA Compliance Bulletin
Inside the Beltway Update
As Democrats continue searching for ways to address high gas prices, the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing with major oil company CEOs where Committee Democrats largely accused the companies of price-gouging. Oil company representatives pushed back against this narrative, arguing that prices are set by the global futures markets and that the fastest way to reduce gas prices is to increase domestic energy production. Senators from the west coast, including Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Ron Wyden (D-OR), urged the Federal Trade Commission to investigate “elevated and volatile” prices for gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel served in Washington, California, and Oregon. The Senators wrote they were “concerned that current prices borne by consumers at the pump are disproportionate to the rise and subsequent decline in the price of crude oil over the past month and cannot be fully explained by supply and demand fundamentals.” Some Democrats continue advocating for a gas tax holiday, but Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), and many other Republicans and Democrats oppose such a measure, arguing it would deplete the Highway Trust Fund without solving the underlying supply issue.
Fourth Circuit Denies Major Oil Companies Move to Federal Court for Suits Seeking to Make Them Responsible for Climate Change
Continuing pressure on Russia, Congress voted nearly unanimously this week (100-0 in the Senate; 413-9 in the House) to formally ban imports of Russian oil, gas, and coal. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee also held a hearing on domestic critical mineral production, with Chairman Manchin (D-WV) strongly advocating for establishing a domestic supply chain. He also said he would not support an electric vehicle (EV) domestic battery tax credit unless the minerals going into such batteries are also produced domestically. As we have previously reported, Manchin has begun outlining markers for a slimmed-down Build Back Better (BBB) bill that would focus on clean energy incentives paid for by tax increases on wealthy Americans.
Also this week, a University of California professor published a study arguing that new EVs could increase crash fatalities due to their increased weight compared to traditional gas-burning cars. The Biden Administration and Congressional Democrats continue weighing options to pressure the US Postal Service (USPS) to electrify its fleet. USPS is defying Democratic wishes and is moving forward with a $6 billion vehicle purchase plan of which 90 percent will be traditional internal combustion engines (ICE).
In addition, Senators John Barrasso (R-WY), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Steve Daines (R-MT), Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) announced bipartisan legislation this week that would allow renewable diesel (RD) fuel production facilities to qualify for certain Department of Energy loans. The “Renewable Diesel and Sustainable Aviation Fuel Parity Act of 2022” aims to increase RD use by exempting RD that meets the same ASTM specifications as diesel fuel from federal labeling requirements.
Biomass-based diesel fuels include biodiesel and renewable diesel, both of which are refined from the same types of fat, oil, and grease feedstocks. Renewable diesel is chemically indistinguishable from petroleum diesel (known as a drop-in diesel fuel), meaning that it meets specifications for use in existing infrastructure and diesel engines and is not subject to any blending limitations. Biodiesel is a mixture of chemical compounds known as alkyl esters and is often combined with petroleum diesel in blends of 5 percent to 20 percent, known as B5 to B20, respectively.
EIA projects that production of renewable diesel supply will grow because of its compatibility with existing distribution infrastructure and engines, higher state and federal targets for renewable fuel production, incentives from tax credits, and the conversion of existing petroleum refineries into renewable diesel refineries.
Finally, Congress has closed out its six-week work session, embarking on a two-week recess. The end of April and May period will be crucial for determining any progress on BBB.
This week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit delivered a victory for proponents of holding major oil companies liable for the effects of climate change. Cities and counties have instituted lawsuits all over the Nation like the one filed by the City of Baltimore, seeking to shift the burden of dealing with the alleged effects of climate change (e.g., rises in sea levels, floods, and other natural disasters) to major oil companies. Thus far, these cases have been characterized by the procedural wrangling of the parties, with the cities and counties striving to keep the cases in state courts and the major oil companies seeking to remove them to federal courts.
EMA Joins Coalition in Letter Urging the President Against Taxing Unrealized Capital Gains
Most observers believe that a federal court adjudication would mean a likely victory for the oil companies, and that an adjudication by a state court would provide a more welcome forum for the cities and counties. Federal courts are more likely to view climate change issues as being governed by “federal common law,” which would supersede the state law claims asserted by Baltimore and other jurisdictions.
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, in a case in which EMA sided with the oil companies in an amicus brief filed with the court, remanded the case for adjudication by a state court in Maryland. The court held that federal common law could be a defense to state law claims but that it is not a basis for removal of the case to a federal court. The oil companies will likely file a petition for review by the Supreme Court, which may or may not be granted.
If the Supreme Court decides to review the case, it may be able to determine the substantive issue that will most likely decide the fate of cities and counties in these cases. That is, whether the application of federal common law so completely governs climate change issues that it removes state court jurisdiction in the area. If this issue is decided in the affirmative, it could spell the death knell for all of the various climate change cases bought by state and local jurisdictions. On the other hand, if the Supreme Court sides with the cities and counties, they will live to fight another day, and they may ultimately prevail on some of their state law theories, at least in some state courts.
Recently, EMA and the Family Business Coalition sent a letter to President Biden and the House and Senate Tax Committee chairs arguing against taxing unrealized capital gains. Taxing unrealized gains in any form, subjecting more families to the estate tax, changing step-up in basis, and removing important tools that family businesses use for succession planning are not ideas to help spur job creation and economic recovery. Click here to read the letter.
Visa and Mastercard Planning Changes to Allow for Larger Gas Charges
Visa Inc. and Mastercard Inc. are planning numerous changes to allow larger card transactions to help drivers cover their expenses at the pump. To minimize the damage of already excessively high swipe fees, many gas stations have a $125 limit for Visa transactions at the pump because the card company adds even more fees to the retailer when charges exceed that amount. With current fuel prices, people who drive vehicles with large tanks must pay using two transactions.
NHTSA Investigating EV Battery Safety Defects
In May, Visa will quadruple the maximum transaction amount that carries better interchange rates for purchases made with small-business and commercial cards. Visa will also raise the fraud-liability threshold to $175. The changes should mean gas stations can raise limits and fewer consumers will face pump shutoffs. Mastercard will increase the amounts it pre-authorizes at gas stations to $175 from $125 for consumer cards and to $500 from $350 for commercial cards. Click here for the story.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is investigating the safety of EV and hybrid vehicle batteries made by LG Energy Solution of South Korea. Since February 2020, General Motors, Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai, Stellantis and Volkswagen have issued recalls for as many as 138,000 vehicles with possible defects that could cause fires. General Motors has taken the most hits with a string of recalls that involved more than 140,000 Chevrolet Bolt EVs from the 2017 through 2022 model years.
CISA Provides Guidance on Sharing Cyber Incident Information
BMW and Ford have also recalled batteries in recent years, and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigated Tesla vehicles fires and determined that the high-voltage lithium-ion batteries pose safety risks to first responders. NHTSA plans to write to LG and other companies that might have bought similar batteries to make sure recalls are being done when needed.
In this time of heightened risk due to the war in Ukraine, CISA urges lowering the threshold for sharing information to raise our collective resilience to global cyber threats. Sharing information about cyber incidents allows CISA to fill critical information gaps, rapidly deploy resources and render assistance to victims suffering attacks, analyze incoming information from across sectors to spot trends, and quickly share that information with network defenders to warn other potential victims.
EMA SBC PAC Silent Auction
To facilitate the information sharing process, CISA developed this Cyber Event Information Sharing Fact Sheet, which provides stakeholders like you with clear guidance about what to share, who should share, and how to share information about unusual cyber incidents or activity. We encourage you to share this resource with your networks, on your websites, and across your social media accounts.
Cybersecurity is national security, which is why we also encourage your organization, stakeholders, customers, and employees to utilize the wealth of resources on our Shields Up webpage, including information for organizations and individuals, technical guidance for network defenders, free tools and services, among other offerings. It takes the entire nation to raise our collective cyber defense and we appreciate your support.
Energy Marketers of America (EMA) Small Business Committee (SBC) PAC Co-Chairs Mike Downs and Tim Keigher would like to thank Federated Insurance for their generous contributions for the EMA SBC PAC Silent Auction.
Thanks to Federated for donating two Magnum bottles of Sympa. A magnum wine bottle is 1.5 liters or equivalent to two regular wine bottles - so the winner will get the equivalent of 4 regular wine bottles. This is the flagship estate-grown Cabernet Sauvignon from the critically acclaimed boutique winery in Napa Valley, made by winemakers Aaron Pott and Lindsey Wallingford. This wine is suitable for drinking now or aging for another decade in your cellar.
We want to remind you about our format for the Annual Silent Auction and Raffle. This will be our fourth year with C2Auctions. They will organize the EMA SBC PAC Silent Auction during our EMA Day on the Hill Virtual Conference. All EMA members will be eligible to participate from anywhere in the United States if they download the C2Auction App on their mobile phone. We will provide a mobile link to all EMA Association Executives prior to the event.
The Auction will take place in conjunction with EMA’s Washington Conference May 17-19 and bidding will start April 18 and close May 19 at 9 am. The auction items will be displayed at the Welcome reception on May 17. Last year there was tremendous support in contributions for the auction and EMA SBC PAC Co-Chairs Mike Downs and Tim Keigher urge your participation this year as well! Mike and Tim wish to remind you that donations can include use of personal vacation properties.
If you have items that you would like to contribute for the Silent Auction, please contact Sabrina Pitcher at 703-351-8000.
Partner with Federated Insurance® for Safer Roads during Distracted Driving Awareness Month
April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and this year, Federated is asking business owners to consider their employees’ driving behaviors by asking the question, “Is this my driver?” Distracted driving can lead to serious losses for businesses and company drivers alike — 400,000 injuries and more than 3,100 deaths are caused by distracted driving per year.
During the month of April, Federated will be connecting policyholders to a variety of information and tools designed to benefit them, their loved ones, their employees, and their business with the end goal of helping to prevent crashes and accidents caused by distracted driving.
These resources include:
A sample safety meeting guide to help clients facilitate a discussion with their employees in April.
A video that introduces clients to the Federated DriveSAFE? app.
mySHIELD® Distracted Driving Awareness landing page that includes a variety of driving resources, samples, and plans.
Federated’s knowledgeable risk consultants are also readily available to clients to provide personal consultation on distracted driving topics. For additional information, reach out to our Risk Management Resource Center or call 1-888-333-4949. Federated is a Partner in EMA’s Board of Directors Council.
March 2022 Energy Marketers of America Small Business Committee (SBC) PAC Contributions
At Federated Insurance, It’s Our Business to Protect Yours®
PAC Co-Chairs Mike Downs and Tim Keigher are grateful for the Energy Marketers of America Small Business Committee (SBC) PAC contributions from the following individuals during the March 1-31, 2022, time frame:
March 2022 Contributors to EMA MDF
Louisiana: John Milazzo
Michigan: Larry Galgoci
Mississippi: Philip Chamblee, James H. Lipscomb III
NECSEMA: Thomas Frawley, Thomas Healey, Jon Shaer
South Carolina: Mack Beaty, Thomas Boan, Richard Clark, Matthew Greene, Alec McLeod III, Eddie Parnell, Drake Roland, Abner Stockman, Neil Winter
Utah: David Boelter, John Hillam
Washington: Dan Averill, Steven Clark, Stephen Snider, Brian Whitley
Energy Marketers of America’s Marketer Defense Fund wants to thank the following individuals for their contributions during the March 1- 31, 2022 timeframe:
California: Kenneth Dewar, Michael Downs
Florida: Don Everett Jr., P.N. Risser III
Louisiana: John Milazzo
Mississippi: James H. Lipscomb III
Oregon: John Truax
Tennessee: Addie Rice Mundy
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.