Propane industry news roundup: October 2007

October 1, 2007 By    

Railroad chairman touts propane’s clean-air role

AUSTIN, TEXAS – Railroad Commission Chairman Michael L. Williams keynoted a meeting on Sept. 13 devoted to incentives and regulations designed to enhance propane’s contribution to clean air in Texas and foster United States energy independence.

The Railroad Commission is the state’s chief energy agency, with a 50-year history of promoting LP gas safety.

Texas ranks first among all states in production, storage and consumption of clean-burning propane. More than 60 percent of the state’s propane is extracted from natural gas produced in Texas.

Williams spoke before a group of propane industry executives from around the state. The group spent the day hearing from representatives of state and federal agencies about federal alternative motor vehicle tax credits, Railroad Commission incentives for propane vehicles and equipment and the commission’s work in researching new clean-air propane technologies, such as commercial mowers.

“Propane has a great future in Texas because it is a clean fuel,” Williams said.

He noted that incentives built into the federal Energy Policy Act and the Transportation Equity Acts offer new opportunities in on-road and off-road U.S. vehicle markets.

He also noted Texas’ leadership in state-level incentives for clean air through the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan.

Existing HOS rules remain intact following stay

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Existing hours-of-service (HOS) rules for commercial truck drivers will remain in effect temporarily following legal action by American Trucking Associations (ATA).

ATA has asked an appeals court for a stay in implementing its decision, which would have allowed drivers 10 maximum daily hours behind the wheel and eliminated a provision in which drivers could restart their week after 34 consecutive hours of not working. The stay keeps the daily maximum at 11 hours and retains the restart rule.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has supported the ATA’s motion for a stay while the agency considers new data and shortcomings identified by the court.

The agency stated that it “agrees with ATA that maintaining the status quo will not harm public safety or driver health.”

HBH, Ferrellgas launch propane development plan in Nevada

AUSTIN, TEXAS – HBH Gas Systems and Ferrellgas have partnered to create a Community Propane Distribution System in Coyote Springs, Nev.

The 160,000-home development will feature its own businesses, schools, parks and town centers. Expected to be completed over the next three decades, the project is being touted as the world’s largest Community Propane Distribution System with 240,000 residents, eight or more golf courses, and a full complement of retail and commercial facilities.

The distribution system provides developments located off the natural gas grid with propane from a centralized tank. Each home will be metered, billed and consumed in a manner almost identical to natural gas.

Extending natural gas pipelines to Coyote Springs would have cost up to $70 million. Instead, homeowners will enjoy the benefits of using a clean, economical fuel.

The HBH Gas System at Coyote Springs allows the developers working off the natural gas grid to offer benefits of dual fuels to homeowners.

HBH will oversee the design and implementation of the system, while Ferrellgas will own and operate it.

Coyote Springs is located 50 miles northeast of Las Vegas.


Updated CETP Administrator Guide provides overview

An updated Certified Employee Training Program (CETP) Administrator Guide is available to help provide an overview of the curriculum.

The guide offers descriptions of each of the CETP courses, a comprehensive module map and information on becoming certified, along with updated forms.

To access the guide, log onto and visit the CETP portion of the Web site. Or call Courtney Gendron at


Descartes lands contract with AmeriGas

AmeriGas has picked Descartes, a global on-demand software-as-a-service (SaaS) logistics solutions provider, to manage its national delivery operations.

The decision followed a pilot project that reduced miles traveled and drive times for AmeriGas’ industrial and commercial cylinder business. AmeriGas has a fleet of more than 3,000 vehicles.

Health clinics planned for nation’s travel centers

SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA – Roadside Medical plans to build about 50 health clinics at Pilot Travel Centers across the nation, Transport Topics reported.

The first is scheduled to open in Cartersville, Ga., later this month.

Physical examinations, drug screenings and general medical services will be offered, and drivers will be encouraged to lose weight, quit smoking and get more exercise. The clinics also will include exercise equipment. No appointments will be necessary.

More than 70 percent of truck drivers are overweight, 80 percent have poor eating habits and 44 percent have high blood pressure, according to Roadside.

It said trucking companies can benefit financially through the program with decreased health-care costs.

Law targets job applicants who fail drug tests

RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA – Job applicants in North Carolina who fail drug tests or refuse to take a drug test will be reported to the Department of Motor Vehicles, which could revoke their commercial drivers license.

North Carolina truck companies have been required since 2005 to report employees who fail drug tests, but the new law extends the requirement to pre-employment screening. Gov. Mike Easley signed the new law on Aug. 30.

Grant promotes propane research project

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service has awarded a $75,000 Conservation Innovation Grant for a propane-powered energy efficiency project.

The joint project of the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) and the Railroad Commission of Texas will test a power generation system on a Texas dairy farm. PERC supported the grant request.

The Railroad Commission of Texas’s Alternative Fuels Research and Education Division will manage the project to monitor the efficiency of a combined heat and power system in generating electrical power and supplying hot water to the dairy. The system will utilize three propane-fueled micro-cogenerators to produce electricity.

Klein Tools acquires Heritage Cutlery

LINCOLNSHIRE, ILLINOIS – Klein Tools has acquired the manufacturing assets of Heritage Cutlery Inc. of Bolivar, N.Y., its 25-year supplier of select styles of electricians’ scissors.

The new company will be called Klein Cutlery, and it will be a subsidiary of Klein Tools. Its new president will be Wayne J. West.

Before the acquisition, Heritage Cutlery was the largest U.S. manufacturer of hot-forged scissors and shears for a variety of markets, including electrical and industrial.

NPGA represented during NAPSR’s national meeting

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The NPGA participated in the annual meeting of the National Association of Pipeline Safety Representatives (NAPSR). Members of the NAPSR include regulatory officials who enforce pipeline safety regulations at the state and local levels.

This was the first time a member of the propane industry met with this group at its national meeting.

Michael Caldarera, NPGA’s vice president of regulatory and technical services, presented to the group aspects of the propane industry.

The presentation was well received by NAPSR members, and NPGA hopes the dialogue with state pipeline enforcement officials will continue.

Liberty Propane acquires two Virginia outlets

OVERLAND PARK, KANSAS – Liberty Propane announces the acquisition of Blue Ridge Propane in Galax, Va., and Hutchens Propane in Stuart, Va.

The businesses are located in the Blue Ridge Mountain area of southwestern Virginia. The acquisitions represent more than 3,000 customers.

Oseco adds new representatives for sales and service support

BROKEN ARROW, OKLAHOMA – The Oklahoma Safety Equipment Co. has appointed three new representatives for sales and service to domestic customers. Columbine Controls, I&C Sales North and Niagara Controls now will carry Oseco’s line of rupture disks, rupture panels and other pressure relief products.

Representatives are factory-trained by Oseco in the rupture disk products and technology. Columbine Controls, of Centennial, Colo., will serve customers in Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, Montana, Utah and Idaho. I&C Sales North, of Southgate, Mich., will serve customers in Michigan. Niagara Controls will serve customers in upstate New York.

Odorizing company expands into propane industry

PINEVILLE, LOUISIANA- Odor-Tech Inc., a full-service provider of natural gas odorant and odorizers, is now offering its products and services to the propane industry.

The 13-year-old Louisiana company, which services customers in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, says it has room for growth with the largest on-site storage facility in North America.

“Serving the propane industry is a natural evolution for us,” said Thomas Tucker, president of Odor-Tech. “We are well equipped with the products, people and services to make this a seamless effort and manage customers regardless of size or location.”

New system set up to collect state registration fees

WASHINGTON, D.C. – With the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration clearing the way, a system to collect state registration fees was to begin Sept. 10, Transport Topics reported.

The Unified Carrier Registration system (UCR) replaces the Single State Registration System. The UCR’s board recommended Nov. 15 as the earliest a state can enforce the fees.

UCR will collect fees from for-hire carriers, private fleets, truck renting and leasing firms and freight brokers. Fees are to be distributed to participating states to help fund safety programs.

Home heating info online

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Propane Education and Research Council is offering a new collection of materials dubbed the “Home Heating Kit.” It is available on the Propane Marketing Resource Center at

The new kit includes a home heating bill stuffer, a sample newspaper article and print and radio advertisements.

NPGA annual report available exclusively online

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Propane Gas Association’s annual report for 2006-2007 is available and ready for download from the association’s Web site.

The report will not be mailed this year to save about $9,000 on printing and mailing costs. Previous editions of the report, back to 2002, also are available at the “Publications” section of

Online propane course available for architects, designers

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – The Propane Education & Research Council has launched its first online continuing education course for architects and design professionals to promote understanding of the energy and environmental benefits of using propane in building projects.

The course, “Sustainable Design with Propane and Underground Propane Tanks,” was produced in compliance with standards set by the American Institute of Architects Continuing Education System to ensure that users who pass it will earn proper credit. The course is hosted by the Pratt Institute Center for Continuing and Professional Studies at

Training DVDs offered

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Propane Education & Research Council has released two CETP e-learning DVDs – “Propane Delivery Operations & Cylinder Delivery” and “Bobtail Operations.” The releases are part of the “Basic Principles and Practices” DVD released last year.

CETP e-learning also includes an optional records management system, the Safety & Training Administrative and Records System (STARS). The DVDs for “Propane Delivery Operations & Cylinder Delivery,” “Bobtail Delivery Operations” and “Basic Principles and Practices” are $21.95 each. The STARS DVD is $49.95.

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