OPMCA Connection
Keeping You Informed!


OPMCA Connection keeps you informed and current on regulations from all state and national agencies as well as laws pertaining to the petroleum marketing/c-store industry.
OPMCA STAFF

Candace McGinnis
Executive Director  
Candace@opmca4you.com 

Hannah May
Director of Member Services  
Hannah@opmca4you.com

OPMCA  
6420 N. Santa Fe, Suite B
Oklahoma City, OK 73116
Phone: (405) 842-6625 
(800) 256-5013 
Fax: (405) 842-9562
2020-2021 Board of Directors

Kurtis Hutchinson, Chairman 
 Hutchinson Oil Company

Jerry Davidson
Pete's Corporation

Teresa Hollenbeck
Red Rock Distributing Company

John Netherton
Danielson Fuel Services

Jason Flinn
Flowers Oil Company

Rob Toth
Coffeyville Resource
  • Click Here to View all EMA Coronavirus Related Resources for Petroleum Marketers Including all Regulatory Reports

  • Click HERE to View the Latest Coronavirus Resources Provided NACS Relating to Convenience Stores as Essential Businesses
Monday, March 15, 2021
  • Less Than TWO MONTHS Until the 2021 OPMCA Convention!

  • Update on DC Conference and “Day on the Hill”

  • SBA Adopts Changes to PPP Program to Make it Easier for Small Businesses to Obtain Loans

  • FMCSA Issues Waiver Extending Validity of Expiring CDL Licenses and Driver Medical Certificates

  • EMA Urges Congress to Uphold Prohibition of Rest Stop Commercialization

  • Multi-State Hours of Service Waiver Extended Due to Winter Storms

  • New Gas Stations Targeted by Activists

  • President Signs COVID-19 Relief Legislation

  • DRIVE Safe Act Reintroduced in Senate and House

  • IRS Requirements for the Sale of Tax-Free, Undyed Kerosene

  • Energy Marketers of America Masters Program Powered by Meridian

  • Federated Insurance Complimentary Webinar
Less Than TWO MONTHS Until the 2021 OPMCA Convention!
We are now less than TWO MONTHS away from the 2021 OPMCA Convention on May 4th, 2021. The Convention will be taking place in person with COVID-19 safety precautions strongly encouraged.


We ask that those interested in attending to please register in advance online below. We know times are unprecedented, but we are doing everything we can to have a safe and enjoyable event! OPMCA encourages all members to attend and participate in convention activities.
Update on DC Conference and “Day on the Hill”
Unfortunately, the Energy Marketers of America Executive Committee has made the tough decision to not go forward with the in-person DC Conference and “Day on the Hill” scheduled for May 12-14. Washington, DC is not expected to lift the indoor gathering limit by May and Congress is unlikely to allow in-person meetings this year.

The Executive Committee still plans to have a Virtual Spring Conference and has approved a new schedule for May 10-14. Our Virtual Day on the Hill with lawmakers will be held on Wednesday, May 12th. Click here for the details.


SBA Adopts Changes to PPP Program to Make it Easier for Small Businesses to Obtain Loans
The Small Business Administration (SBA) announced a plan to ensure that more funding from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) pandemic relief loans will go to the smallest of small businesses. PPP is a subsidized loan program designed to help small businesses stay afloat during temporary closures and revenue shortfalls caused by the corona virus pandemic. Loans are offered at a 1 percent interest rate that can later be forgiven. The funds are used to keep employees on the payroll during the pandemic.

According to the SBA, small businesses account for 44 percent of U.S. GDP, create two-thirds of net new jobs, and employ nearly half of all workers nationwide. The targeted relief is needed to prevent larger businesses with banking connections from draining PPP funds before smaller businesses have a chance to apply for relief. To achieve this goal, the SBA is adopting the following qualifying criteria for businesses with 20 or fewer employees:


  • Establish an exclusive 14-day application period for PPP loans limited to employers with 20 or fewer employees.
  • Revise the PPP funding formula to make more loans available for sole proprietors, independent contractors and self-employed individuals.
  • Eliminate restrictions that bar individuals from PPP loans due to prior non-fraud felony convictions and those who defaulted on, or in delinquency of federal guaranteed student loans.
  • Open PPP loans to applicants with Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITIN).


The 14-day PPP loan application exclusivity period for businesses with 20 or fewer employees started on Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at 9 a.m. The remaining changes described above were implemented during the first week of March. The SBA reported that it approved more than 1.9 million PPP loans for a total of $40 billion from January 11 through February 21. The application window for the current, $284 billion available for PPP loans is scheduled to close March 31. Congress has yet to decide on a PPP program extension.

Click here for more information. 


FMCSA Issues Waiver Extending Validity of Expiring CDL Licenses and Driver Medical Certificates
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced it is extending the waiver permitting states to delay renewal of commercial driver licenses (CDL) and commercial learner permits (CLP) until May 31, 2021. FMCSA said the waiver is needed because many states continue to experience greater than normal employee absences, reduced hours of operation, or closed offices of their State Driver Licensing Agencies (SDLAs) due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. As a result, drivers are unable to renew expiring CDL licenses or continue to operate under a CDL learners permit.

The FMCSA waiver permits but does not require SDLAs to extend the validity of CDL licenses and learners permits expiring after March 31, 2020 until May 31, 2021. Some states may implement the FMCSA waiver extending the validity of expiring CDLs and CLPs, while others may not due to return to normal operating conditions. The FMCSA is leaving it up to each state to decide whether COVID-19 restrictions justify a waiver extension.

However, the FMCSA is requiring states to waive until May 31, 2021, the requirement that CDL and CLP holders undergo a medical examination and obtain a medical certification to operate a commercial motor vehicle certification. For the waiver to apply, drivers must have proof of a valid medical certification and any required medical variance or exemption that expired on or after December 1, 2020. During the same period, states are prohibited from downgrading the “certified” status off these drivers as well. The FMCSA waiver also applies to drivers holding CDL licenses issued by Mexico and Canada and operating within the United States.


The waiver covers States, CDL holders, CLP holders for the period beginning at 12:00 a.m. on March 1, 2021, through 11:59 p.m. on May 31, 2021. The waiver does not apply to any CDL or CLP holders with CDL licenses or permits that expired before March 1, 2020, medical certificates issued for less than 90 days or those diagnosed with a disqualifying disease since their last medical examination. Also, drivers must continue to carry their CDL medical certificates, variances and licenses. The FMCSA waiver does not apply to HAZMAT endorsements. The waiver can be downloaded here: FMCSA CDL Waiver.


EMA Urges Congress to Uphold Prohibition of Rest Stop Commercialization
At the end of February, EMA, NATSO, NACS and SIGMA continued its’ decade long fight and joined other associations in a letter urging Congress to oppose commercialization of interstate Rest Stops.

Last Congress, to the disadvantage of small and medium size business owners, H.R. 2 included a provision that would allow EV chargers at rest areas. Allowing EV chargers at rest areas would undermine fuel marketer investments in U.S. infrastructure by eliminating the need for customers to stop at highway exit retail stores.

When Congress created the Interstate Highway System in 1956, Congress and community leaders feared that local businesses, jobs, and tax bases would shrink as motorists and truck drivers bypassed their cities and towns. For this reason, Congress prohibited new Interstate rest areas from offering commercial services, such as food and convenience items. The result – a thriving and competitive business environment along interstate exits.

EMA’s message to Congress is simple, “Uphold Congress’s original prohibition of commercial services at interstate areas.” 


Multi-State Hours of Service Waiver Extended Due to Winter Storms
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) extended a regional Hours of Service waiver for the following states due to winter storms: KENTUCKY, LOUISIANA, OKLAHOMA, TEXAS, VIRGINIA, AND WEST VIRGINIA through March 19th.

The emergency declaration applies to all states and jurisdictions listed above. This waiver covers all fuel deliveries (heating fuels, including propane, natural gas, and heating oil, and other fuel products, including gasoline) in the states and jurisdictions listed because they support the "emergency," which in this case is maintaining adequate fuel distribution in those areas.

Important: The FMCSA waiver covers interstate shipment of fuel in and out of the states and jurisdictions listed in the waiver letter. The FMCSA waiver does not cover intrastate only shipments (deliveries that stay within the boundaries of a single state). State governors must issue waivers for intrastate shipments within their boundaries. State Governors typically issue such waivers as part of their Emergency Declaration, or when FMCSA waivers are put into effect. Most of these states have already issued intrastate HOS waivers. Click here to read the notice.

The Energy Marketers of America will continue to work closely with the FMCSA, DOE, DHS/FEMA and other federal agencies to ensure emergency preparedness and response waivers and solutions to problems that arise in response to the recent winter storms.


New Gas Stations Targeted by Activists
Earlier in March, the City of Petaluma in California has voted to ban new gas stations (in this case a Safeway Supermarket) and current stations will not be allowed to add new pumps according to a story by Axios. Behind the effort to ban new gas stations is an environmental group called Stand.earth which ran a campaign called SAFE (stand against fossil fuel expansion). "The problem with allowing new gas stations is we don't really need them and they’re putting existing gas stations out of business,” said Matt Krogh, who heads Stand.earth.

Click here to read the story.


President Signs COVID-19 Relief Legislation
Last Thursday, President Biden signed the $1.86 trillion COVID relief package, claiming his first major legislative victory. The package received no Republican support in either chamber. Late in the legislative process, Democrats managed to insert three different tax provisions worth an estimated $60 billion. One removes deductions for publicly traded companies that pay up to 10 employees more than $1 million. The second measure repeals a provision allowing multinational companies more flexibility when accounting for interest expense and the third limits to $500,000 the amount of losses certain people who own unincorporated “pass-through” businesses can use to offset other income and, thereby, reduce their tax bills. The legislation also includes:


  • Extension of the employee retention tax credit through December 31, 2021.
  • Extension of tax credits for employer-provided paid sick and family leave through September 30th. Please note the law does not include an extension of the Paid Sick andFamily Leave Mandate which expired on December 31st.
  • Direct payments worth up to $1,400 per person.
  • Extension of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation programs.
  • Extension of the 15 percent increase in food stamp benefits through September, instead of allowing it to expire at the end of June.
  • $880 million for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).
  • $4.5 billion for LIHEAP
  • $19.1 billion to state and local governments to help low-income households cover back rent and utility bills.
  • Expansion of the child tax credit to $3,600 for children under 6 and $3,000 for children under age 18.
  • $15 billion to the Emergency Injury Disaster Loan program.
  • An additional $7 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program.
  • $350 billion to state and local governments, as well as tribes and territories.


Meanwhile, Congressional leadership are turning attention to infrastructure to create new jobs and re-energize the economy. On Thursday, House Democrats jump-started discussion with a $312 billion proposal that would make the country’s electric grid more resilient to natural disasters, replace lead drinking water pipes, and deploy electric vehicles. More details in the article below.

There is broad, bipartisan support in Congress for a comprehensive infrastructure package; however, there are significant differences of opinion on major issues between Congressional leaders, such as the scope, how and when to advance the legislation through both Chambers, and how to pay for it. In addition, the House and Senate will need to reach a final agreement on how earmarks may be used. Earmarks allow Members of Congress to direct funding to certain projects in their districts and can be used as carrots and sticks for securing votes on key pieces of legislation.

Last week, the White House said the Biden Administration will release an infrastructure framework but will look to Congress to draft the legislation. President Biden’s State of the Union Address slipped into mid-April, after which the Administration will release their budget requests. Once the requests are issued, Congress is expected to focus on infrastructure legislation with the goal of passing legislation before the August recess. Leaders will aim to finalize conference negotiations before the current surface authorization expires September 30th.


The Senate also continues to press forward and confirm key agency officials as the Senate confirmed Merrick Garland to serve as Attorney General and Michael Regan as the EPA Administrator. Administrator Regan said, "The EPA will prove that environmental protection and economic prosperity go hand in hand - and we will seize this opportunity to create a healthier, more just future for all." Prior to his confirmation, Regan served as the Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality and served as the EPA program manager responsible for designing strategic solutions with industry and corporate stakeholders to reduce air pollution, improve energy efficiency and address climate change.


DRIVE Safe Act Reintroduced in Senate and House
Last Wednesday, Senators Todd Young (R-IN) and Jon Tester (D-MT) reintroduced the Developing Responsible Individuals for a Vibrant Economy (DRIVE-Safe) Act to address the driver shortage in the trucking and logistics industry, and enhance safety training and job opportunities for young truckers. U.S. Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Angus King (I-ME), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) joined as original cosponsors of the bill.

Though 49 states and the District of Columbia allow individuals to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) at the age 18, federal law currently prohibits those operators from moving goods from state to state until they are 21. The DRIVE-Safe Act establishes an apprenticeship program that would allow for the legal operation of a commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce by CDL holders under the age of 21. Although this legislation will not apply to hazmat drivers, it will add to the overall pool of drivers.
“The trucking and national supply chain network have been fundamental to America’s response to the coronavirus, moving goods to support medical personnel and sustain the public throughout this crisis,” said Senator King. “The industry is vital to our everyday life, but driver shortages threaten its future. The DRIVE Safe Act addresses these challenges by creating an apprenticeship program that works across state lines, enhances the skills of our workforce, and helps train the next generation of safe drivers. I’m proud to once again stand with my bipartisan group of colleagues to introduce this bill, and hope that the Congress will move on this commonsense solution to a pressing problem.”

“Commercial drivers are the hard-working Americans who keep our nation running day in and day out, but tens of thousands of good-paying commercial driver jobs are left empty. Federal rules currently prevent commercial drivers under 21 from crossing state lines,” said Senator Manchin. “In West Virginia, that means someone can drive 5 hours from Beckley to Weirton, but can’t drive another 15 minutes over the river to Steubenville. We should be getting West Virginians into these jobs right out of high school, but many companies just don’t want to deal with the hassle. This bipartisan legislation will help fill that gap by establishing an apprenticeship training program for young Americans interested in these good-paying jobs. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join us on this commonsense bill to put Americans back to work and fill vital roles in our economy.”

The apprenticeship training program would help ensure these drivers are trained beyond current standards while instituting rigorous safety standards and performance benchmarks. The apprenticeship program established by the DRIVE-Safe Act would require young drivers to complete at least 400 hours of on-duty time and 240 hours of driving time with an experienced driver in the cab with them. All trucks used for training in the program must be equipped with safety technology including active braking collision mitigation systems, a video event capture system, and a speed governor set at 65 miles per hour or below.

Representative Trey Hollingsworth (R-IN-09) introduced a companion bill in the House. Jim Cooper (D-TN), Henry Cuellar (D-TX), Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), Jared Golden (D-ME), Troy Balderson (R-OH), Ashley Hinson (R-Iowa), Bruce Westerman (R-AR) and Darin LaHood (R-IL) joined as original cosponsors of the bill.


IRS Requirements for the Sale of Tax-Free, Undyed Kerosene
IRS regulations allow for the tax-free sale of undyed kerosene at retail dispensers. Such sales are allowed so long as the undyed kerosene is sold from a “blocked pump”. Energy marketers may apply for a credit or refund of the federal tax on undyed kerosene provided the following conditions are met:


  • The undyed kerosene is sold for a non-taxable use.
  • The undyed kerosene is dispensed from a “blocked pump.”
  • For purchases of five gallons or more, the vendor must record the date of sale, name and address of the buyer, and the number of gallons of kerosene sold to the buyer.


A blocked pump is a fuel dispenser that meets all of the following requirements:


  • The dispenser is used to make retail sales of undyed kerosene for use by the buyer in any non-taxable use.
  • The dispenser is in a fixed location.
  • The dispenser is identified with a legible and conspicuous notice stating:


“UNDYED UNTAXED KEROSENE, NONTAXABLE USE ONLY”


The dispenser cannot reasonably be used to dispense fuel directly into the tank of a diesel-powered highway vehicle. This can be achieved by one of three methods:


  • Use of a short hose that cannot reach the tank of a diesel-powered highway vehicle.
  • Use of barriers that prevent the vehicle from reaching the hose nozzle. OR
  • Vendor locks the dispenser after each sale and unlocks only in response to a buyer’s request for undyed kerosene for use as fuel other than in a diesel-powered highway vehicle.


The vendor selling the undyed tax-free kerosene from a blocked pump is the only party allowed to file a claim for a credit or refund on federally imposed excise tax. Before filing a claim, the vendor must first obtain an IRS 637 ultimate vendor registration (637 UV) number by filling out and submitting IRS Form 637. A credit or refund may be submitted every seven days for claims exceeding $100. IRS forms 8849 or 4136 must be used to file the claim for sales of undyed kerosene from a blocked pump. The claimant must write the word “KEROSENE “on the top of the credit or refund form submitted to the IRS.

Important! Tax-free undyed kerosene with a sulfur content over 15ppm can only be used for heating purposes. In this case, both the IRS dispenser label above is required along with the following EPA sulfur content dispenser label:


KEROSENE HEATING OIL
(May Exceed 500 PPM Sulfur)
WARNING!

Federal law prohibits use in highway vehicles or engines, or in non-road locomotive or marine diesel engines. Its use may damage these diesel engines.


Contact Mark S. Morgan, EMA Regulatory Counsel for questions or additional information. mmorgan@emaamerica.org


Energy Marketers of America Masters Program Powered by Meridian
Registration is open for the Energy Marketers Leadership Institute (EMLI), which is now part of the EMA Master’s Program Powered by Meridian.

EMLI is new and improved and is designed to make it easier and more affordable for EMA members to attend. The EMLI programs will be delivered online via Zoom video conference and will include breakout rooms so that the leaders who are attending can interact and learn together. EMLI is designed to help build stronger, more effective leaders and to help leaders develop better lobbying skills. EMLI has two parts and is now offering a bundled price.

For more information on how to register and save money, please go to: https://emamasters.com/energy-marketers-leadership-institute.  


Federated Insurance Complimentary Webinar