June 13, 2014 Visit us online at www.wpma.com
SENATE ENERGY COMMITTEE APPROVES KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE
The Keystone XL pipeline debate continues as the Senate Energy Committee approved the pipeline largely along party lines on Wednesday by a vote of 12 - 10. Newly installed Senate Energy Committee Chairwoman Mary Landrieu (D-LA) introduced the pipeline approval bill along with Senator John Hoeven (R-ND). Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Landrieu were the only Democrats on the Committee who supported the bill. Prospects for the bill to get to the Senate floor and final passage are slim given there are 58 confirmed yes votes in the Senate which is short of the 60 votes needed for passage. If President Obama were to veto the legislation, Keystone proponents would need 67 votes to override the President. It is likely the only way forward is for the President to approve the pipeline.
Earlier this year, the President delayed a decision on the pipeline indefinitely pending State Department approval which means a decision isn't likely until after the November elections. The Keystone XL pipeline enjoys overwhelming support from Americans, with 65 percent saying it should be approved and 22 percent opposed, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll.
NEW FMCSA POLICY GIVES MARKETERS MORE CONTROL OVER DATA USED FOR SAFETY RATINGS
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has issued an Interpretative Rule and Statement of Policy that makes it possible for motor carriers to remove negative information from a key federal database used to determine motor carrier safety ratings. As a result, motor carriers will have more control over the information used to determine their FMCSA safety rating score.
The new policy changes the federal Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS) by giving state agencies the ability to update motor carrier safety information to reflect adjudicated citations related to roadside inspection violations. Prior to the policy change, motor carrier violations resulting from roadside inspections were sent to the MCMIS database without any ability to update the information after a court had a chance to review and rule on the underlying citation. Consequently, the motor carrier's MCMIS safety record would continue to list a "violation" even after a court dismissed the citation or found the carrier innocent.
The new FMCSA policy will be applied only to citations issued at roadside inspections beginning August 23, 2014. There is no retroactive applicability to existing citations. In addition, updates to reflect adjudicated results will not occur automatically. Instead, motor carriers will be required to electronically submit proof of adjudication through the FMCSA's DataQ's data portal. The documents will be reviewed by the applicable state motor carrier agency for authenticity and posted on MCMIS.
A PMAA Regulatory Report on the new policy change is being prepared by Mark Morgan, PMAA Regulatory Counsel.
SENATORS PROPOSE 12 CENT MOTOR FUELS TAX INCREASE
On Wednesday, Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Bob Corker (R-TN) proposed a 12 cent-per-gallon (cpg) tax increase for both gasoline and diesel fuel over the next two years and indexing to inflation in order to replenish the Highway Trust Fund (HFT). It is expected to raise $164 billion over 10 years. Although lead transportation chairs Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Representative Bill Shuster (R-PA) have said there are not enough votes to pass a gas tax increase this year, the Murphy-Corker proposal might serve as a bipartisan starting point for highway funding negotiations next year.
Since 2008, Congress has transferred $54 billion into the Highway Trust Fund, mostly from the General Fund, to maintain solvency. Congress has looked at other alternatives to improve the HFT including a user fee based on the number of miles driven (VMT), however, this proposal has been unable to gain momentum. The motor fuels tax hasn't been raised since 1993. It is likely that Congress will provide for a short-term fix to the HFT. Proposals include using savings from cutting Saturday postal delivery, using revenue from a tax holiday on repatriated earnings as well as transferring the remaining $1.4 billion in the LUST fund which PMAA and like-minded associations adamantly oppose.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Ranking Member Hatch (R-UT) hope to have a proposal out of Committee before the July 4th recess.
2015 WPMA CONVENTION & CONVENIENCE STORE EXPO LAS VEGAS, NEVADA
Plan now to attend the 2015 WPMA Convention and Convenience Store Expo. It will be held at the Mirage in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mark your calendars for February 17-19, 2015.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS FOR UPCOMING EVENTS IN 2014
June 16-19, 2014 - WOMA Convention - Suncadia Lodge - Cle Elum, Washington
June 19, 2014 - UPMRA Summer Golf Classic - Davis Park Golf Course - Kaysville, Utah
August 6-8, 2014 - IPM&CSA Convention - Coeur d'Alene Resort - Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
August 19-20, 2014 - NMPMA Convention - Marriott Pyramid North - Albuquerque, New Mexico
August 25, 2014 - HPMA Golf Tournament - Oahu Country Club Course - Oahu, Hawaii
September 10-12, 2014 - UPMRA Convention - Park City Marriott - Park City, Utah
Petro Pete: "I was going to quit all my bad habits, but then I remembered that nobody likes a quitter."
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WPMA MEMBER SERVICES
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