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
OPMCA Welcomes New Member:
Titan Fuel Systems
Scott Cole
2201 Tecumseh Dr. Norman, OK 73069
Phone: (405) 818-7182
Email: scott@titanfuel.com
  • 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
Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2020
  • 2021 OPMCA Membership Directory

  • Significant Challenges Remain for the 116th Congress – Government Funding and COVID Relief

  • Urge Congress to Include Reasonable Liability Protections in Next COVID-19 Relief Package

  • Can Employers Require COVID-19 Vaccines?

  • New Study: Utility Customers on the Hook for EV Infrastructure Investments

  • Update on COVID-19 Relief Negotiations

  • FMCSA Annual Driver Drug and Alcohol Record Queries Must be Completed by January 5, 2020

  • FDA Panel Authorizes Pfizer’s COVID-19 Vaccine for Emergency Use
2021 OPMCA Membership Directory
The Oklahoma Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association has partnered again with E&M Consulting, Inc. to produce our 2021 Membership Directory. The publication will be available in both print and digital formats. E&M will be managing the project, including advertising sales and layout/graphic design. They are extremely professional and produce a high-quality publication, and we ask that you give them a moment of your time. E&M will be contacting all members about the advertising opportunities available. The publication will be mailed to every member – a great opportunity to promote and give your company additional exposure.


If you have any questions or would like to advertise, please contact an E&M sales associate at:


800-572-0011 ext.1005 or advertising@emconsultinginc.com.


As always, your support is greatly appreciated!
Significant Challenges Remain for the 116th Congress – Government Funding and COVID Relief
At the top of Congress’ must-do list is reaching an agreement on government funding and preventing a government shutdown. While few anticipate a repeat of the 35-day impasse that shuttered government from December 22, 2018 until January 25, 2019, pressure continues to build on Congress – in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic – to address federal funding and provide additional COVID relief. Congressional leaders are considering combining the two, possibly attaching short-term COVID relief to an end of year Omnibus funding package.

The House and Senate Appropriations Committees reached agreement on 12 common subcommittee allocations on November 24, just two days before Thanksgiving. In addition to resolving major differences over funding, appropriators also face challenges this year coming to agreement over public policy concerns including the pandemic, social justice priorities, gun rights, abortion, and other pivotal issues. While Congress remains committed to completing all 12 funding measures, a Continuing Resolution (CR) may be necessary to extend funding into the new calendar year for one or more of the annual bills where an impasse over policy or funding proves too challenging to reach consensus. Late Thursday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) set a midnight Saturday deadline for negotiators to reach a funding agreement and avoid a partial government shutdown next week.

Meanwhile, a group of bipartisan Senators and House members injected new life into coronavirus relief legislation discussions. Championed by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Susan Collins (R-ME) and others in both chambers, the bipartisan group released a $908 billion proposal, which would create short-term aid through the winter months with an expectation that President-elect Biden will pursue a larger package early in 2021. The bipartisan working group aimed to attach this proposal to an end of year government funding package before December 11.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA); Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY); President-elect Biden; and Senator John Thune (R-SD), the number two Republican in Senate leadership, expressed support for the proposal. Retreating from the $2.4 trillion pandemic relief package they had been pushing before the election, Pelosi and Schumer said, “we and others will offer improvements, but the need to act is immediate and we believe that with good-faith negotiations we could come to an agreement.” The emergence of the bipartisan proposal places pressure on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) who previously circulated a $500 billion proposal, which was immediately rejected by Senate Democrats.

The new coronavirus relief proposal includes $160 billion for state and local governments and would create a $300-per-week unemployment benefit for 18 weeks, as well as $31 billion for vaccine distribution and $28 billion to reestablish the paycheck protection program (PPP). The framework also provides “short term Federal protection from Coronavirus related lawsuits with the purpose of giving states time to develop their own response.” EMA signed a letter urging Congress to approve adequate liability protection. Please click here to read the letter. However, the proposal does not include another round of $1,200 stimulus checks – a widely popular program created in previous COVID-19 stimulus legislation. Further, Senator Portman’s (R-OH) “Healthy Workplace Tax Credit” is not in the $900 billion bipartisan proposal, however, EMA continues to push for its inclusion in a letter recently sent to Congress.

Within funding to continue the PPP, the bipartisan framework allows for PPP “deductibility.” While specifics are not yet available, the proposal could take the form of The Small Business Expense Protection Act, which would create a tax deduction for small businesses who used a forgiven PPP loan for eligible expenses. Hundreds of trade associations are urging Congress to pass legislation before the end of the year that would make the Paycheck Protection Program loans tax-free. The IRS interpretation that businesses cannot deduct expenses paid for with the forgivable loans would result in “a surprise tax increase of up to 37 percent on small businesses when they file their taxes for 2020,” over 100 industry groups, including Energy Marketers of America, argued in a letter earlier in December. The regional and national associations urged Congressional leaders and President-elect Biden to support the inclusion of a healthy workplace tax credit in the next coronavirus relief package. The organizations outlined their recommendations and emphasized how a tax credit would ensure that businesses and nonprofits, who are struggling financially, can meet unexpected expenses related to COVID-19. As the year ends, PPP deductibility is quickly moving to the forefront of discussions, however, Senate Republicans’ targeted proposal released December 1 does not specifically address PPP deductibility.

Importantly, still largely unknown, is whether President Trump, as he faces the end of his presidency, will sign an Omnibus funding package in excess of $1 trillion, a defense authorization bill, and/or coronavirus relief legislation in excess of the Senate Republican proposal. This lack of certainty creates additional challenges for congressional leaders as they work around the clock to finalize critical end of year legislation and fiscal year 2021 spending decisions.


Urge Congress to Include Reasonable Liability Protections in Next COVID-19 Relief Package
The Energy Marketers of America (EMA) urges you to reach out to Congress in support of important legislation to expand liability protections for businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic known as the “Safe to Work Act” (S. 4317). The bill is retroactive to December 2019 and provides reasonable liability protection against COVID-19 lawsuits through October 2024 for businesses who have made good faith efforts to comply with government guidance. The legislation does not protect bad actors in cases where there is willful misconduct or gross negligence to the safety of an individual. The legislation provides preemption from state laws unless state laws provide greater liability protection.

It is important for everyone to reach out to their lawmakers in support of the bill. Click here to do so.


Can Employers Require COVID-19 Vaccines?
With vaccine approval nearing, businesses ask if they can require their workers to get the shot. Click here to read the Washington Post article.


New Study: Utility Customers on the Hook for EV Infrastructure Investments
The Energy Marketers of America released a study on last week focused on the costs of electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure to support policy-driven increases in the number of EVs on U.S. roads. Specifically, this study finds that a rapid buildout of an EV charging infrastructure, looking just at new distribution and transmission investments to support EVs making up only 10 percent of the vehicles on the road in the U.S., could cost as much as $146 billion. Further, if this buildout is funded by the utilities, these costs would be passed along to their customers through rate increases, regardless of whether they own EVs.

The study examined three separate scenarios based on varying EV adoption projections:


  • 8.4 million light-duty EVs on the road by 2030;
  • 18 million EVs on the road by 2030; and
  • 30 million EVs on the road by 2030 (**represents approximately 10 percent of the U.S. vehicle fleet).


These scenarios are based on the Annual Energy Outlook 2020, 100 percent EV sales by 2050, and 100 percent EV sales by 2035, respectively. Costs associated with each scenario range from $35.4 billion to $146.2 billion, all borne by utility ratepayers.

Compare that with the local gas station where you fill up. Energy Marketers of America members own and operate 60,000 retail gas stations across the country. Our members are entrepreneurs who assumed the risks associated with operating a business and must recover investments through customers using the infrastructure. On the other hand, utilities are able to own, operate and sell electricity through charging stations and pass the infrastructure costs along to millions who may never use those chargers.

If these costs were paid only by EV owners, the study estimates they would roughly equal $5,100 per EV, over an average 10-year on-the-road lifetime. Put another way, each EV owner would have to pay more than $500 every year for 10 years to cover these costs in addition to the cost of the electricity used every time they fully charge their vehicle.

The study is focused exclusively on the costs associated with EV charging infrastructure buildout only and does not address EV cost-of-ownership factors or other costs required to support EVs such as the need for additional electric generation capacity or more costly forms of generation to reduce emissions generated because of EV charging. Further, the study’s calculations serve as just one example of the additional financial burden associated with a greater reliance on electrification. Local government ordinances mandating a switch to electric heat pumps in cold weather regions, for example, would further add to electricity demand, driving up costs for consumers. The infrastructure and related costs to support these types of mandates are not included in the study. Similar to EV charging infrastructure, utilities will seek to recoup electric heat pump infrastructure costs through increased rates on customers.

“We need fairness in transportation and that includes fueling,” Energy Marketers of America President Rob Underwood said. “Utility customers, particularly low- and fixed-income families, should not be paying for EV infrastructure they may never use.”

“Advancements in vehicle efficiency and carbon reductions in liquid fuels have dramatically reduced emissions in transportation in recent years,” Underwood added. “This study, which shows the high costs associated with elevating one vehicle type over another, demonstrates just how important technology-neutral solutions are to the future of transportation.”

To view the study, click here.



Update on COVID-19 Relief Negotiations
Despite initial optimism from a bipartisan Senate working group’s $908 billion COVID-relief proposal, negotiations have shown little progress week. While the $900 billion price range is agreeable to both sides, Republican and Democratic leadership are divided on funding for state and local governments and corporate liability protections. The current bipartisan Senate proposal, which is acceptable to most Democrats and many Republicans, includes a temporary shield for liability lawsuits as well as $160 billion in funding for state and local governments. Senate Republican leaders, however, have said that the current proposal’s liability protections are unacceptable. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) said that liability protections must ensure that lawsuits against employers are tried in federal and not state courts to ensure a more uniform standard. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) suggested Congress move forward with a smaller package that excludes increased liability protections and additional state and local government funding, but Democrats view this as a non-starter. Despite this news, please continue to urge Congress to include important COVID-19 liability protections for businesses. Click here to reach out to lawmakers.


While the fate of a COVID-relief package is unknown, any such package will include enhanced funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The current $908 billion bipartisan proposal includes $300 billion for PPP loans, and says that small businesses with less than 300 employees who sustained a 30% revenue loss in any 2020 quarter would be eligible for a second round of PPP funding. The proposal also says that business expenses paid for with PPP funding would be tax deductible.


Congress must now pass a FY2021 spending package (or another Continuing Resolution) by Friday, December 18. This leaves little time for continued COVID-relief negotiations, though some Republican and Democratic leaders said they would stay in Washington until an agreement is reached.


FMCSA Annual Driver Drug and Alcohol Record Queries Must be Completed by January 5, 2020
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires employers to conduct an annual inquiry of drug and alcohol records of every CDL driver under their employment. This requirement applies to both petroleum marketers and heating fuel dealers who employ CDL drivers. The FMCSA requires employers to use the agency’s new Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse to conduct these inquiries. The FMCSA Clearinghouse is a searchable electronic database containing CDL driver drug and alcohol records from January 6, 2020 forward. Employers are required to use the database to upload driver drug and alcohol records and to conduct mandatory pre-employment and annual driver drug and alcohol record investigations. In order to do this, employers must first establish an account with the Clearinghouse and pay fees for mandatory databases searches. More information on how to do this is available in an EMA Compliance Bulletin issued earlier this year when the Clearinghouse was established. Employer responsibilities for conducting mandatory annual CDL driver drug and alcohol record inquiries include the following:

  • Employers who have not yet conducted an annual query on each CDL driver employed during 2020 must do so by January 5, 2021.

  • Employers may conduct the queries or designate a third-party vendor to do so (typically the vendor responsible for conducting the employer’s driver drug and alcohol testing program).

  • A “limited query" of the Clearinghouse database satisfies the annual query requirement.

  • Employers who have already conducted a query on all currently employed CDL drivers has met the annual FMCSA annual Clearinghouse inquiry requirement. The next query is due one year from the date of the previous annual query.


  • Employers must first obtain a general consent from CDL drivers before conducting limited queries drug and alcohol record. Download a sample limited query consent form here.

  • Before an employer can conduct queries in the Clearinghouse, the employer must purchase a query plan to pay for Clearinghouse transactions. Purchase a Clearinghouse query plan here.

  • Any pre-employment drug and alcohol record query conducted on a driver during calendar year 2020 will satisfy the annual query requirement for that driver. Employers are not required to query drivers on which they conducted a pre-employment query until one year after the initial pre-employment query.




FDA Panel Authorizes Pfizer’s COVID-19 Vaccine for Emergency Use
Last week, an FDA panel approved Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency authorization use (EAU). Following CDC approval, Operation Warp Speed, the government's initiative to develop a vaccine, can start shipping and distributing the vaccine to states. Previously the CDC expressed support for the order of priority for who should get the shots after healthcare workers and long-term care patients. next: Phase 1a, essential workers; and Phases 1b and 1; people 65 plus, and adults with underlying medical conditions.

Meanwhile, the FDA and the CDC are likely to consider data for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine beginning next week.

EMA has been thoroughly involved from the start in the development of the original Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers Guidance, as well as all the iterations that have followed, and for the past eight months EMA has worked with government officials to express the need for petroleum marketers, drivers, home heating fuel deliverers and repair technicians, and convenience store essential employees to be among the essential workers who should receive vaccines early, due to the critical nature of their work.

Also, in September, EMA joined SIGMA, NACS and NATSO in a letter of support for and a request for clarification of the draft National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on Equitable Allocation of Vaccine report to advise health officials on how to prioritize distribution. The letter urges the Committee to prioritize vaccine distribution to those serving on the front lines of the fuel and food distribution systems across the country up to and including consumer-facing retail of these critical products.

More recently, EMA joined the same associations in another letter, this time to the CDC, where we commended the CDC “…for prioritizing that essential workers of businesses that are part of the critical infrastructure workforce should receive a vaccine as part of Phase 1a of a jurisdiction’s distribution.

Additionally, some trucking and maritime groups sent a letter requesting that essential workers follow phase 1 (healthcare workers and long term care patients). At this point, most groups that represent essential workers have sent at least one letter about the importance of a risk-based vaccine distribution plan.