Strategic Plan, Government Affairs Keep NPGA Board Busy
The National Propane Gas Associations (NPGA) ongoing efforts to update its goals and objectives continued to occupy the attention of its board of directors. Meeting in San Antonio, Texas in mid-June prior to the Pinnacle conference, the board considered issues ranging from the final changes made to NPGAs field staff, to a number of technology and standards proposals, to CETP certification legal review.
Among the boards recent actions has been the approval of the reorganization of its field staff from four field directors in strict geographic regions to a more service-oriented structure. With Chuck Brandon, southeastern district (Joe Cordill (from left joined NPGA'S officers as treasurer, while Keith McMahan is now chairman-elect, and Randy Rutherford took over as chairman. Not shown is Malcolm Barrett, who is NPGA'S new vice-chairman.)
director, now retired, the majority of that district has been combined into a new region composed of states in the Southeast and East Central region, and will be overseen by Diana Price, the director of NPGAs East Central District.
(Also honored by Gerry Misel were Glenn Miller (above), who received the Chairmans Citation for his many years of service to the industry and as state director for Kentucky, and Frank Platz (below), who was honored as state director of the year.)
Randy Rutherford of Rutherford Equipment Inc. (Conyers, Ga.) took over the chairmanship of NPGA from Gerry Misel during the meeting. Rutherford said following in the footsteps of Misel will be a tough act. His priority is to put NPGAs new strategic plan in place. Creating the new plan
(Outgoing NPGA chairman Gerry Misel (left) was presented a plaque by Ted Lemon of NFPA in honor of NPGAs 75th anniversary and the two groups long Partnership in fostering the safe use of propane.)
was the top priority of Misel, who, along with other Executive Committee members, had pushed the association membership to redefine its role in the industry and its relationship with the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC).
Both men reiterated the importance of the association to industry members. You get what you put into it, noted Misel. we all depend on each other and we have a crucial role in determining how strong as an industry we will be in the future.
(Mark Pennington, outgoing chairman of NPGAs PropanePAC Steering Committee, was one of several board members honored by NPGAs departing chairman, Gerry Misel.)
The Government Affairs Committee is ironing out the final details on the Strategic Plan & Implementation Priorities. A booklet of these proposals and their status of implementation by NPGA staff has been mailed out to NPGA members. Jeff Kaminski of AmeriGas (Valley Forge, Pa.) and chairman of the committee led the debate over the different priorities suggested by NPGA staff and members.
(Mike Gorham, outgoing chairman of the National Fuel Gas Code Committee, was honored by Gerry Misel for his hard work.)
The plan is divided into three goals: advance safety throughout the propane industry; achieve public policies that favor production, distribution, and increased use of propane; and foster industry-wide cohesion through communication, teaming, networking, and collaboration. Within each goal the proposed actions are divided further and then rated by member value. A status report on the actions is also included.
The Government Affairs Committee also reviewed a number of legislative proposals, including the house and senate chemical security legislation. The top priority with these bills, reported NPGAs Brian Caudill, director of legislative affairs, is to make sure none of them include LPG and that they limit the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from authorizing the fuel's inclusion. Also discussed was DHS proposed rule for a transportation worker ID program in the maritime sector that would affect not only merchant marines but also workers with unescorted access to secured areas of vessels and facilities.
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) in late May invited comment on the safe transportation of hazmats in railroad tank cars. The agency and the Federal Railroad Administration are initiating a review of design and operational factors that affect tank car safety. An initial meeting was held at the end of May and additional public forums are being scheduled.
Another issue that may be affecting marketers is the late-April rulemaking by the Small Business Administration (Federal Register, April 24, 2006) that will increase the registration fee to $2975 plus a $25 administrative fee for those who do not meet the agencys criteria for defining a small business. The increase was necessary, according to the agency, to comply with legislation from 2005 that requires PHMSA to fund the national Hazardous Materials. Emergency Preparedness grants program at approximately $28 million.
NPGA staff is looking at options in dealing with the increased fee. Phil Squair, vice president of regulatory and technical services, explained that a small company with total annual receipts less than $6.5 million will be pushed into the larger business categories due to escalating fuel prices, even though the number of gallons sold hasnt changed substantially. The association estimates that about 95% of its member marketers currently qualify as a small marketer under the criteria today.
One idea, Squair noted, is to get the Small Business Administration to define propane companies criteria as a small business not by dollar amounts but by number of employees. Enlisting support from other petroleum marketers should also be part of the lobbying approach.
As typically is the case, the Technology & Standards Committee, currently headed up by Carlton Revere of Revere Gas (Hartfield, Va.), is among the most active committees with a long list of proposals to discuss. At the top of its discussion were proposals being reviewed for the upcoming NFPA 58-2007 edition. The Report on Comments was being balloted to the Technical Committee on LPG in June and was to be completed by the end of that month. The new edition is being published this month.
T&S members have given their approval to NPGAs proposal on transport-to-bobtail transfers for NFPA 58-2007; reached a compromise on the NPGA comment on non-degrading hose for 58-2007; reviewed NPGAs comment on the retroactivity of debris elimination requirements that were accepted for 58-2007; and agreed to the new NPGA proposal for 58-2007 on cabinet heaters/composite cylinders. A number of modifications were accepted-limiting Btu to 10,000, limiting the cylinder size to 16-lb; requiring both the cylinder and heater to be listed; and limiting their use to one- and two-family dwellings and businesses only.
Headed to the WLPGA
Forum Industry members were being encouraged to attend the World LP Gas Association's annual Forum, which will be held in Chicago Oct. 17-20 at The Palmer House. Stuart Weidie of Blossman Gas (Asheville, N.C.) is head of NPGAs organizing committee for hosting the Forum and the Global Technology Session that PERC and NPGA are sponsoring. He told board members that the most important goal of attending these international events is to see the wide range of applications of the fuel. It is a unique opportunity to participate and to see what is going on worldwide. It will be very enlightening for all of us. (Leading the U.S. propane industrys involvement with the upcoming World LP Gas Forum, Stuart Weidie (from left) of Blossman Gas, spent time coordinating that work with NPGA's Rick Roldan and PERC's Roy Willis.)
The next board meeting will be held in Chicago Oct. 17 at The Palmer House Hotel. Originally scheduled for New Orleans, the change was made partly because of ongoing problems in that city as well as to coordinate the board meeting with the World LP Gas Associations Forum.
(NPG Foundation Scholarship Fund Committee leadersCindy Rutherford (from left), Barbara Misel, and Naomi Cordillwere on hand to report on the foundations growing number of scholarships.)
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