As your elected State Director, I wanted to provide you with an update on the activities at the most recent NPGA Board of Directors meeting, held January 30 – February 1, 2023, in New Orleans.
NPGA’s committees and sections held meetings and discussed issues of importance to all propane industry members. I encourage you to read my report.
Thank you for the opportunity to represent you.
2023 Winter Board of Directors Meeting Highlights
NPGA hosted a panel on renewable propane production, moderated by NPGA President & CEO Steve Kaminski and featuring Gary Grimes of World Energy, Curtis Powers of Chevron/REG, Warren Patterson of UGI, and Tucker Perkins of PERC. They discussed matters ranging from factors dictating whether renewable propane produced as a byproduct is sent into the market or used internally, to feedstock diversity, to production processes.
Steve Kaminski hosted a lively fireside chat with Shannon Watt, the Canadian Propane Association President & CEO. They discussed matters ranging from electrification policies to cross-border supply and logistics.
Guest speaker Stan Hayes, CEO of Operation BBQ Relief, discussed the non-profit’s widespread efforts to provide hot meals in the aftermath of natural disasters such as hurricanes and floods, and how the propane community has played an important role. If you want to help, please go to: https://operationbbqrelief.org/
Section & Committee Meeting Updates
The Marketers Section held virtual breakout sessions across our eight districts in advance of the Board of Directors meeting. During these meetings, marketers discussed regional legislative and regulatory concerns facing the industry. Section Chair, Daniel Dixon, reiterated that all marketers are invited to participate in these district breakout sessions.
District 8 Director Thomas Manson provided a summary of the district reports. PERC’s Eric Kuster updated attendees on the Council’s recent activities of note. The Section also hosted a panel on disaster and emergency preparedness. The panelists encouraged all propane marketers to adequately prepare for, and communicate during, a natural disaster such as a hurricane.
Additionally, the Marketers Section is now soliciting applications to serve on NPGA’s Executive Committee for the upcoming Association year.
Governmental Affairs Committee
The Governmental Affairs Committee met for its winter meeting to discuss pressing advocacy matters impacting the propane industry. As is customary, the Committee broke into three task force sessions – federal legislative, federal regulatory, and state.
In the legislative session, NPGA staff provided updates on success from the 117th Congress, including securing access to funding opportunities in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, extending the Alternative Fuel Tax Credit, and recent wins in the FY23 Appropriations and National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). For 2023, NPGA will continue Appropriations and NDAA strategies and advocate for propane’s inclusion in this year’s Farm Bill and FAA reauthorization.
During the Regulatory Breakout, association staff briefed members on various rulemakings from the Department of Energy, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Homeland Security. Association staff focused on recent accomplishments and previews of anticipated rulemakings and regulatory strategy for 2023. Highlights included an upcoming CFATS rulemaking, FMCSA hours of service clarifications, and consumer cooking appliances efficiency standards.
Lastly, in the State breakout session, association staff provided an overview of the 2023 state legislative landscape, including opportunities to expand energy choice protections, safeguard gas cooking equipment, and secure industry exemptions from product stewardship initiatives. The group also discussed efforts taken by local governments to ban new gas infrastructure and encourage the electrification of buildings. NPGA is currently tracking such activity by more than 100 municipalities and counties across 15 states. These ordinances seek to eliminate propane’s ability to serve as a fuel option for new construction.
Propane Supply & Logistics Committee
RBN’s Todd Root gave a presentation on the current winter heating season and focused on the driving factor for the remainder of the season: exports. NPGA staff Ben Nussdorf and Kate Gaziano provided updates on several regulatory matters. Ms. Gaziano discussed FERC’s pipeline affiliates regulation and provided past NPGA action and the plan moving forward. Mr. Nussdorf requested information and routes to supply points during emergencies to provide to FMCSA to fill the knowledge gap within the agency and provided an update on the five-year special exemption request NPGA submitted to FMCSA. NPGA is still awaiting the decision from FMCSA on the special exemption and has marketing materials and informational webinars set for when the decision is released.
Technology, Safety & Standards Committee
The Board approved Technology, Safety & Standards Committee proposal Tdc-1908, a proposal to be made to NFPA 58 that would clarify misconceptions that some authorities have regarding a “required color” for tracer wire that is buried with underground plastic pipe to enable the pipe to be located easily and avoid damage when excavation activities are occurring. The proposal will clarify that there is no required color for the tracer wire. This proposal will be submitted for the 2026 edition of NFPA 58.
The PropanePAC Steering Committee met to discuss last year’s successful fundraising and engagement efforts and the PAC’s impacts during the 2021-2022 election cycle. Committee members brainstormed different opportunities to increase involvement with the PAC through peer-to-peer outreach and education. Additionally, the Committee discussed efforts to grow the PAC by achieving the $250,000 fundraising goal for the 2023-2024 election cycle.
In addition to the meeting, the PropanePAC hosted a reception on Bourbon Street, open to all association members and attended by more than 200 people. Events like this help generate awareness of the PAC’s vital role as one of the association’s most critical advocacy tools.
NPGF Scholarship Committee
The National Propane Gas Foundation (NPGF) Scholarship Committee met in New Orleans with more than 30 members and guests attending. The Committee provides financial oversight, raises funds, and reviews applications for the scholarship program.
NPGF finances are healthy and the committee passed a budget for the coming year. Attendees also received updates on 2022’s successful fundraising activities and the scholarship application and selection process. The current application for the 2023 – 2024 academic year closes on February 15.
The transition to a Standing Committee of NPGA is moving forward. As part of the transition, new members are encouraged to join the Scholarship Committee, and the meeting was well-attended by those interested in learning more.
Please contact Maril Olson, NPGF Scholarship Program Manager, for additional information.
Women in Propane Council
Over 40 enthusiastic attendees were at the recent WIP Council meeting in New Orleans where the meeting was led by new Chair Paula Summers of Vision Financial Group. There is lots of good news to report:
- the organization is on solid financial ground and membership is up;
- there has been positive feedback on the new WIP podcast series Through the Leadership Lens;
- a second webinar is scheduled for February 17th at 1:00 pm ET on Attracting and Retaining Youth in the Propane Industry;
- DiSC continues to be an important program for developing career skills;
- WIP ambassadors are working with over 13 state associations;
- Expo Leadership Forum with Kathleen Votaw Quinn and Roundtable Discussions with Tucker Perkins and Bridget Kidd are confirmed; and
- the Knowledge Exchange program will be promoted via sign-up campaigns.
To find out more about this dynamic organization and the programs and events on offer, go to www.womeninpropane.org. And remember, WIP is for everyone!
NPGA Welcomes New Directors
- Kevin Bennett, DCC Propane, Colorado State Director
- Brian Brooks, Brooks Gas Co. Inc., Missouri State Director
- Alex Gallard, Blue Star Gas, Washington State Director
- Lance Dalton, Quality Steel, Manufacturers Section Director
- Bruce Thompson, Thompson Energy Insurance Services, Services Section Director