NPGA Bobtail

President’s Message: Signature Wins and Clearing DC Roadblocks for Propane

Coming out of NPGA’s 2022 Winter Board, I want to highlight four significant wins for the propane industry.

The Federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed by Congress and signed into law has over $7 Billion available for the propane industry—this is a record.  A record for propane from a Democrat-controlled Congress and President speaks volumes that NPGA is getting our environmental and economic messages across loud and clear.  Now comes the challenge of getting that money to work for propane—this is a priority for 2022.

Two weeks ago, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) agreed with NPGA’s formal petition in a massive win for propane against the pipelines.  Every five years, FERC updates an index that liquids pipelines can use to increase rates.  We prefer a lower rate because when pipeline costs go up, local terminal costs do too.  FERC initially set a new index that was somewhat favorable to propane, but NPGA believed we could do even better.  FERC has now agreed and the index rate falls to “Producer Price Index for Finished Goods minus 0.21 percent” for orders placed retroactively after July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2026.  Based on estimates by outside experts, the rate translates to a savings of 3.23 cents per gallon of propane sold for this five-year period against the prior five years.

With respect to Covid-related mandates, NPGA fought hard against the Biden Administration and OSHA and beat them in the U.S. Supreme Court.  The court issued a stay on the OSHA program to require vaccination or testing + face covering for companies with 100 or more employees.  NPGA’s legal counsel, representing the propane industry and a small handful of other trucking and retail trades, was the only lawyer for businesses allowed to argue to the Supreme Court.   That is, NPGA was not one of hundreds, but rather pushed its way onto an extremely small floor get the win.  Since that decision, OSHA has officially withdrawn the mandate.

On the propane logistics front, the current 42-state FMCSA hours of service waiver—and extension through March 8—was obtained by NPGA with terrific data gathering and state relationship support from our regional and state association executives.  It’s the largest declaration ever received.  And it was on the basis of entirely new grounds—COVID-19 labor shortages.

I’m proud of our team, our partners, and our industry for these wins and look forward to a terrific 2022 for the propane family.

Steve Kaminski

NPGA President and CEO