To begin this discussion, state
association executives identified the most pressing issues that their states
are currently facing. Issues mentioned included natural gas pipeline expansion,
lack of industry growth, limited infrastructure and supply, aging workforce
issues and lack of qualified drivers, and maintaining state association
membership and revenues.
NPGA lobbyists Phil Squair and
Matt Bisenius presented a comprehensive legislative and regulatory update. NPGA
held a number of successful meetings with a number of offices at the Department
of Energy—including the Building Technologies Office, Vehicle Technologies
Office, Sustainable Transportation, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, and
the Grid Integration Initiative—with the goal of helping the DOE offices
understand propane and where its place can be. Potential opportunities
identified during these meetings include the following:
• DOE is interested in the
National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s efforts examining potential DME propane
blends and how they can be used for Class 8 vehicles.
• The “CHP Accelerator” Program
at the Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) is an online database where people
interested in installing 10 MW or smaller CHPs at their facilities can find
vendors and work closely with them. NPGA noticed that the database was
organized with propane CHPs included under natural gas category and is working
to get this corrected. NPGA is also working on regulation to get CHPs easier to
install and make cost more beneficial for user.
NPGA is also currently examining
and pursuing a number of regulations, including the following:
• Bobtail Requalification Extension – Working
to extend the DOT requirements for pressure test requalification of cargo tanks
to 10 years.
• LPG Odorization Issues – DOE proposal would
require container tests beyond the industry standard sniff test; NPGA presented
opposition to the requirement as applied to cylinders and cargo tanks and is
still waiting on the final ruling.
• EIA Information Collection – Submitted requests
for collecting more segmented information in the weekly petroleum inventory
report that are more useful for propane industry to plan their businesses;
still waiting on revision from EIA.
• DOE Furnace Proposal – Put forward detailed
opposition to new furnace efficiency standards that apply to two product
classes: 1) small furnaces (<65,000BTU) and 2) large furnaces (>65,000
BTU); DOE is still considering NPGA’s concerns.
• DOE Hearth Products Proposal – NPGA teamed
up with the Hearth, Patio and Barbeque Association to fight DOE efficiency
standards on hearth products (e.g., decorative fireplaces, gas log sets,
unvented gas fireplaces, etc.).
• DHS Chemical Facility Anti‐Terrorism Standards
(CFATS) on Appendix A Chemicals of Interest –
Propane quantities of >60,000 pounds are considered chemicals of interest;
DHS may be willing to work with chemical industries on facilities requirements.
• OSHA Crane Rule – Deadline for compliance
with the rule, which includes a third‐party certification requirement and was supposed to apply mainly
to general construction, is Nov. 2017; NPGA submitted a letter of
interpretation requesting permissions to exclude propane tanks based on current
exclusion for delivery of building materials, but interpretation request is
still sitting open.
• OSHA Hazard Communication Standards – New
container labels with contact information requirements need to be in use by
December 1, 2015; NPGA has developed a white paper available on their website
that provides more information.
• Reduction in Excise Tax on Autogas –
Calculation on energy content as opposed to per gallon has resulted in a 4–5
cent reduction per gallon on autogas; informative website is being developed by
NPGA to inform constituents.
• Extenders proposals, 50 cent per gallon tax credit,
refueling infrastructure tax credit – Pushing for extenders to
be extended further; odds that they will go through before the end of the year
• Highway Bill – Currently pushing three
amendments to the bill: 1) inclusion of propane in alternative fuel; 2)
inclusion of alternative fuel vehicles included as an alternative way to reduce
diesel particulate emissions; and 3) directing EPA to give benefits similar to
those given to electric and natural gas industries to propane.