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Legal action fund positions NPGA for the courts

November 2, 2023 By    

The National Propane Gas Association (NPGA) approved the formation of a legal action fund, committing $1 million from its reserves, to support the industry’s fight for energy choice.

The association will seek to grow the fund to $2.5 million in the coming years through additional draws from reserves, the use of a budgetary surplus and/or voluntary member contributions, according to NPGA President and CEO Steve Kaminski.

NPGA has worked over the years with the legislative and executive branches of government, including regulatory agencies, but it now finds a greater need to address industry initiatives through the courts, Kaminski explains.

“It’s unfortunate that we have to use it, but thankfully it’s there,” he says of the court system. “We’re going to take advantage of that and use it. We’re well positioned for it.”

The legal action fund will help NPGA fight what Kaminski considers the industry’s biggest threat: attempts to ban gas at the state level and federal agencies seeking standards that are neither fuel agnostic nor consider the entire fuel cycle on carbon emissions. He cites DOE actions related to furnaces, water heaters and other products.

Kaminski points to federal lawsuits on the West Coast and in New York state as well as suits challenging federal agency overreach as indicative of the kinds of legal battles the industry can expect to see more frequently.

“If you’re going to be proactively filing lawsuits against numerous entities, it definitely costs money,” says Kaminski, a former attorney, noting how NPGA looks to join with like-minded industry partners to help fund the litigations.

The legal action fund will address threats at the federal, state and local levels. NPGA, a state/regional association or an NPGA member company can file a request for funding.

A five-member committee, chaired by Eastern Propane & Oil CEO Tom Manson, will oversee the fund. NPGA General Counsel Ben Nussdorf will serve as staff adviser to the committee.

“We’re establishing this committee to help provide oversight so those dollars get spent in a fiscally responsible manner and in a manner that is strategic for the industry,” Kaminski says.

The legal action fund differs from NPGA’s state engagement fund, which is available for the non-litigation needs of state and regional propane associations.

About the Author:

Brian Richesson is the editor in chief of LP Gas Magazine. Contact him at brichesson@northcoastmedia.net or 216-706-3748.

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