Trump Said to Be Weighing Waiver of Jones Act Mandate

Bloomberg reports that President Donald Trump is seriously considering waiving the requirement that only U.S.-flagged vessels can transport liquefied natural gas (LNG) from American ports to Puerto Rico and the Northeast. The news service cites unnamed people familiar with the deliberations.

The Trump Administration considers eliminating the Jones Act that affects propane and LPG shipments 2019 reports BPN the propane industry's leading source for news and informaiton since 1939The issue is said to have been debated during an Oval Office meeting in late April following requests from Puerto Rico and pressure from energy industry leaders to ease the nearly 100-year-old cabotage statute. The act requires goods shipped between U.S. ports to be transported on vessels built, owned, and crewed by U.S. citizens or permanent residents. It is also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920. Although top administration officials are reported to be divided on the issue, Trump is leaning in favor of some kind of waiver, said two anonymous sources.

The move, which would be opposed by U.S. shipbuilding interests and their allies on Capitol Hill, has been promoted as essential to lower the cost of energy in Puerto Rico and ease the flow of American natural gas to the U.S. Northeast. But even within the Trump administration, there are fierce defenders of the Jones Act. The law was originally designed to protect the domestic shipping industry and the country’s maritime might. Supporters argue that it is as essential today to ensure ships are made in the U.S. Efforts to weaken or waive Jones Act requirements threaten the U.S. shipbuilding industry and jobs tied to it, they argue.

Puerto Rico is seeking a 10-year waiver to allow LNG to be delivered to the island on foreign-flagged ships. Meanwhile, the energy industry is pressing for changes to facilitate natural gas and petroleum product shipments between U.S. states. Industry leaders argue that Jones Act restrictions undermine American energy dominance by encouraging imports of foreign oil and gas despite abundant supplies inside the U.S. Russian LNG was delivered to Massachusetts last year to help supply consumers in the Northeast U.S., and inland oil refiners argue requirements to use U.S.-flagged vessels boosts the cost of obtaining crude oil, effectively subsidizing foreign competitors.

“The Jones Act is completely contrary to the president’s energy agenda, in large measure because it encourages the importation of energy—diesel from Europe, LNG from Russia—rather than the use of energy made in America and developed and refined by American workers,” said Mike McKenna, an energy strategist. “If you’re in favor of the Jones Act, you’re in favor of damaging consumers and helping very specific interests line their pockets at consumers’ expense.”

Although no large LNG carriers comply with Jones Act requirements today, federal law provides an exemption for foreign tankers built before 1996 to transport LNG to Puerto Rico, as long as they are brought under the U.S. flag. American shipbuilders are also reported to be constructing new LNG bunker barges capable of refueling ships and delivering fuel to other facilities. Further, long-term contracts to supply LNG would spur vessel construction, said Darrell Connor, a lobbyist for the American Maritime Partnership, which defends the Jones Act. “The domestic maritime industry is capable of responding with the vessels needed to meet market demand, including the building of new vessels.”

(SOURCE: The Weekly Propane Newsletter, May 20, 2019)

8 Business-Building Tools and Tips from the PERC Conference

Ideas and projects to increase the use of propane appeared throughout the agenda at the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) Meeting held April 2019 in Atlanta. Speakers suggested a number of ways the council and all members of the industry can contribute to growing the use of propane.
Propane Council hosts 2019 Conference to provide 10 tips to help propane businesses grow reports BPN the propane industry's leading source for news and information since 1939
Thought leadership: The industry’s employees need to know how to explain the benefits of propane to customers and convey the fact that this is clean energy. In the chief executive officer’s report, delivered from a remote location, PERC president and CEO Tucker Perkins said efforts in public relations and thought leadership are important. PERC is encouraging state energy executives to promote the many benefits of propane as a leader in clean energy. "You will see us push this story in social media and have others tell the story for us,” Perkins said.

He later told BPN, “The entire population of employees need to know what propane is: a clean fuel, a fuel of the future, and a fuel of today. We are going to provide them with messages that resonate with customers about the efficient, direct use of propane in modern appliances, and how that serves the environment and the customer with a low-carbon, sustainable solution. Those messages are for our entire industry, to be used where appropriate, whether that is the customer location, the Little League field, schools boards, or Rotary Club.”

Regional meetings: Each PERC regional meeting has been better than the previous one, Perkins said. These meetings facilitate information exchange, he explained. “For example, we learn what PERC materials they are using and not using.” He added that there is a culture shift going on at PERC. The organization will be bringing in new people and projects to meet the strategic plan, will completely change the safety and training programs, and will continue to improve its website and its marketing materials.

Disaster response: PERC has doubled incentives for reconstruction in disaster areas, Perkins said. The goal is to rebuild the propane infrastructure in areas that have been hit by disasters such as fires, hurricanes, and floods.

Product development: PERC’s past investments in product development have contributed about 450 million gallons through this year, said Cinch Munson, senior vice president, business development. Those who receive funds must report unit sales of the resulting products, and then PERC calculates the number of gallons contributed from the products sold, he explained. In the business development update portion of the conference, Munson reported that PERC’s current investments are made with an eye to “weatherproofing our portfolio” by developing products that create year-round demand. He added that in 2018, PERC business development had 318 different “points of engagement,” promoting the industry at trade shows, sales channel meetings, and similar events.

VW settlement: Discussing the current status of the VW settlement, Munson said 47 states and the District of Columbia have plans in place for spending the settlement funds. Propane is not eligible in nine states and D.C. In those areas, he said, “Those states tend to be focused on electric vehicles.” A member of the audience said clean diesel is winning the day and asked why that is. Munson answered, many state agency personnel don’t understand the total cost of ownership. Propane has a higher upfront cost than diesel, but requires less maintenance and has a lower total cost of ownership, he explained. PERC’s strategy regarding VW settlement funds is to educate program administrators and coordinate state associations, vehicle dealers, propane marketers, and others to improve participation. “We need to be engaged with this,” Munson concluded. “At this point, it takes boots on the ground, getting applications in and materials in the hands of administrators.”

“One-Stop Shop”: The new PERC website (propane.com) drew nearly 400,000 visitors since its launch and the homeowner-focused YouTube video garnered 5.54 million views between January 14 and April 11 (the day before the conference), Tina Wilson, senior vice president, communications, reported. In the communications report, she noted that this new “one-stop shop for everything propane,” is designed to deliver a distinct message for each market while sharing the common theme, “Propane Can Do That.” One purpose of the site is to drive engagement and then adoption of propane. The new website also includes valuable resources to marketers including Propane Can Do That campaign materials and creative assets. “We invite everyone to visit propane.com and learn all of the many ways propane can work for you. You will learn how propane is cleaner, affordable, versatile, reliable, safe, and plays an important part of America’s energy mix,” concluded Wilson.

Growing gallons: There is an abundance of propane being produced in this country, but more is being exported than is being consumed domestically. “That’s a shame,” said Randy Thompson, founder and senior advisor at ThompsonGas LLC, and chairman elect of the National Propane Gas Association (NPGA). “We must find new ways to use our product and grow the industry by growing gallons.” In the NPGA report segment of the conference, Thompson referred to his previously announced goal of growing the industry by four billion gallons in the next five years. “Opportunities abound,” he said. Examples include replacing residential electric water heaters; supplying military bases; expanding the use of autogas, especially in school buses; and developing new technology to supply power generation off the grid that is primary power, not backup. “Our industry was built one appliance at a time, one customer at a time,” he said. “This goal is ambitious but achievable. It’s an exciting time to be part of this industry!”

Green and clean: The industry must also shore up the share of the energy market it already has by resisting electrification and the Green New Deal, Thompson explained. To do this, the industry must promote to a wider audience the fact that propane is green and clean. Many Americans are not aware of this, but, being pragmatic, they will respond to a message that is pragmatic. “This is a message of optimism and opportunity rather than gloom and doom,” Thompson said. “We represent the bedrock of America—thousands of small businesses, vibrant in the community. We have compelling stories to tell; we just need the will to deliver the message.” —Steve Relyea

Cylinder Storage Cabinets Provide Safety, Security, Image Quality

Cylinder storage cabinets can provide not only safety and security, but also long-lasting good looks that help propane marketers create and reinforce a good image and merchandise their products.
American Standard Manufacturing builds Propane Cylinder Cabinets for security, convenience, safety, reports BPN the propane industry's leading source for news and information since 1939.
American Standard Mfg. (ASM; Central Bridge, N.Y.) has been manufacturing gas cylinder storage and merchandising cabinets since 1990. Today, in the propane category, the company offers in-stock availability and can custom configure cabinets to the customer’s needs. Available from stock are 17 models of 20-lb cylinder exchange cabinets and 20 models of forklift cylinder cabinets. All forklift cylinder storage cabinets are designed to make compliance with NFPA simple and affordable.

David Day, CEO of ASM, suggests that propane marketers and equipment distributors consider the following questions when choosing the cabinet that is right for them.

What kind of space is available for the cabinet? ASM offers different configurations for like capacities; the customer can specify a unit that is shorter and wider or taller and thinner. “It depends on the space they or their customers have available, or the ergonomics they require,” Day said.

How much space will be available in front of it? Different door configurations are available. The standard configuration has swing-out doors; available options include double doors and zero clearance sliding doors. “For example, at a convenience store, the cabinet is generally placed on a sidewalk,” Day explained. “Swing-out doors could contact the bumper of a car. Double doors have only half the swing, and zero clearance have no swing.”

What level of security will be required? The company doesn’t generally provide locks, but its cabinets are lockable and can be configured to accommodate different sorts of locks. If extra security is required, another option offered is a choice of lock shrouds. For even greater security, it offers a high-security unit that is constructed with additional solid steel strapping to prevent cutting of the flattened expanded metal.

Would you like aluminum or steel? ASM offers units in both materials, at the same price. “Aluminum is lighter, easier to handle, and doesn’t rust,” Day said.

Would you like the unit to arrive assembled? Its cylinder storage cabinets are offered in a choice of assembled or knockdown condition. “There was a time when there was a tremendous freight savings in shipping unassembled; now it is still less expensive, but not less expensive enough,” Day explained. “Most ship assembled; in that case it is rapid deployment, with the cabinet ready to go to the site.”

How will the cabinet look? A cabinet can help promote cylinder exchange to consumers and can help build a company’s image with its commercial customers. To do that, the unit needs to look good when new and maintain that look over time. The units feature exterior grade powder coating and stainless steel hinges that resist corrosion, hold up over time, and maintain the appearance and durability of the unit. “All ASM units are designed, built, and handled with the idea of presentation quality,” Day said. “They are produced for P.O.P. use in front of a convenience store and for representation of your company when the cabinet is in a commercial setting.”

Do you want to enhance your efficiency? ASM now offers cabinet-monitoring software that relays real-time, system-wide information about what is happening at cages in the field. Called IONPropane, this Internet of Things (IoT) device creates a “Smart Cage” that will enhance a marketer’s planning and delivery systems and prevent unnecessary roll-outs and empty cages. IONPropane can be installed at the factory or retrofitted to existing ASM cages with simple in-the-field installation.
— Steve Relyea

Global Energy Institute Introduces New American Energy: Cleaner, Stronger Agenda

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Energy Institute (GEI) has rolled out its American Energy: Cleaner, Stronger agenda aimed at promoting continued economic growth and environmental progress through a sustained focus on technology development and innovation in the energy industry.
USA Chamber of Commerce Global Energy Institute rolls out its American Energy: Cleaner, Stronger agenda aimed at promoting continued economic growth and environmental progress through a sustained focus on clean fuel like propane autogas reports The Weekly Propane Newsletter
The initiative will highlight the technologies, people, and companies making investments in the nation’s energy sector and will advocate for energy policies that further a bipartisan mission to spur innovation, lower emissions, and foster economic growth. A new poll of likely 2020 voters conducted by FTI Consulting and released by GEI in April shows Americans overwhelmingly support an innovation-driven cleaner, stronger approach over policies centered on expanded government regulation.

“The U.S. energy industry has been among the most innovative sectors of the economy, and will continue to be making America cleaner and stronger,” said Christopher Guith, acting president of the U.S. Chamber’s Global Energy Institute. He comments that energy companies are investing in innovation and technology that is making America’s air cleaner even as the economy strengthens and energy security increases. “Our American Energy: Cleaner, Stronger agenda presents a realistic alternative to addressing energy and environmental issues that has broad bipartisan public support.”

The telephone survey of 1000 likely 2020 voters across the U.S. was fielded from March 7 to 12, 2019. Among the results: 73% of voters support a cleaner, stronger energy agenda that uses more American energy and continues environmental progress, compared to 21% of voters who support the Green New Deal. Eighty nine percent of Americans support using American energy resources responsibly, including domestic natural gas, oil, nuclear, coal, and renewable resources. Seventy nine percent agree that the best way to address climate change is through investments in innovation and technology.

Seventy nine percent of voters support stream- lining or expediting the permitting process to improve, modernize, or construct critical energy infrastructure like renewables, pipelines, power plants, transmission lines, and export facilities. Only 15% of voters think it is highly feasible to require all aspects of the U.S. economy to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions in 10 years—including in all electricity generation, vehicles, agriculture, homes, commercial buildings, and manufacturing— regardless of cost.

“Our new survey demonstrates that voters are concerned about energy and the environment, but they are also concerned about the costs and practicality of an approach to those issues driven primarily by government regulation,” said Guith.

“Given the current state of technology, a regulatory approach involves significant price increases. Our focus is on developing technologies that can reduce environmental impacts and compete on price and reliability.”

In coming months, GEI will advocate for federal policies and investments that spur research and development of energy technologies. The institute will also con- duct a public education campaign that includes its existing Energy Innovates initiative. It will highlight specific projects and technologies and the innovators, engineers, and manufacturers behind their development. Other components include advertising, social media, live events, and grass-roots outreach that will reach GEI’s network of state and local Chamber of Commerce allies, policymakers, civic and business leaders, and voters.

(SOURCE: The Weekly Propane Newsletter, May 13, 2019)

LAX Catering Company Adopts Propane Trucks

Airline passengers departing Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) are now enjoying meals delivered by clean-operating propane autogas vehicles. HACOR Inc. (Los Angeles), an in-flight airline catering services provider, purchased seven Ford F-750 delivery trucks fueled by autogas, a domestically produced, clean, and economical fuel. The company serves several airlines, among them Singapore Airlines, Asiana, and All Nippon.
HACOR uses clean-fuel no-emission propane autogas trucks deliver LAX airline meals reports BPN
“LAX will significantly benefit from our low-emission catering trucks, as will the nearby communities that we are operating from and within,” said Jason Lee, general manager of HACOR, which delivers up to 15,000 airline meals a day out of the airport. “The versatility and reliability of these propane vehicles allows us to operate our standard delivery and operating methods but with a low-emission fuel.” Each of HACOR’s vehicles is powered by a Ford 6.8-liter, V-10 engine with a ROUSH CleanTech fuel system certified to 0.02 grams per brake horsepower/ hour.
HACOR uses clean propane autogas trucks at LAX
This engine has the lowest nitrogen oxide (NOx) emission level of any propane engine in Class 4 through 7 and is 90% cleaner than the Environmental Protection Agency’s most stringent heavy-duty engine standard. Nitrogen oxides are regulated under federal air-quality standards because they are known to be harmful to human health and to the environment.

“HACOR’s new propane autogas vehicles emit fewer greenhouse gases, NOx, and total hydrocarbon emissions, and virtually eliminate particulate matter,” said Todd Mouw, president of ROUSH CleanTech. “They will help to significantly clean up the air around LAX.” The vehicles are now in service and will refuel at public autogas stations. HACOR debuted its delivery trucks at the Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo in Long Beach, Calif. April 23-26, 2019.