Four issues at forefront for more than 200 Propane Days attendees

June 8, 2012 By    

With word that legislative policies in Washington, D.C., have been slowed by the politics of a presidential election year, more than 200 propane industry members – well off the pace of previous years – still attended the eighth annual Propane Days on June 4-6, visiting congressional offices and outlining four key issues concerning taxes, regulation and energy.

The National Propane Gas Association rallied attendees on the importance of extending alternative fuel tax credits, which expired at the end of 2011; supporting permanent estate tax relief; ensuring proper regulatory oversight of propane pipelines; as well as creating parity for propane in all Department of Energy research and development programs. With detailed information of those topics in hand, attendees gathered with their respective state associations and met with political leaders over two days.

In addition to organized office visits, the Propane Days agenda included featured speakers Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., above, the lead sponsor of the tax credit legislation Propane GAS Act of 2011, and pollster Bill McInturff, right, of Public Opinion Strategies. Cardin raised his voice during a speech focused on propane’s role befitting national security, the economy and the environment, and aimed to inspire attendees prior to their congressional meetings. McInturff covered topics and trends ahead of this year’s presidential election.

On propane’s role as a motor fuel, Cardin says, “The area where we can get the greatest use is in transportation. Our tax policy should encourage this, and it does not. If you’re working with propane, you don’t know what the tax code is going to be. All we’re asking for is a level playing field. We want to make sure the tax credits are available so propane can compete with other fuels.”

Propane Days’ final day featured a Regulatory Leaders Forum, with representatives from the Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the U.S. Small Business Administration explaining their roles with the propane industry.

“The way to participate in the commission is to engage in the process,” says Nils Nichols, left, director in the Division of Pipeline Regulation at FERC, on how the propane industry, specifically NPGA, can affect change when it’s facing issues such as pipeline rate hikes. “It’s essential you intervene. That’s your opportunity to have dialogue with the commission. On big policy issues, it’s beneficial to come in, visit and state your case.”

About the Author:

Kevin Yanik was a senior editor at LP Gas Magazine.

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