As a result of anticipated government-based pressures to reduce the carbon intensity of the energy products sold by our membership, it will be more important than ever to advocate and adapt to the future challenges that we will face as an industry. Browse this page to learn more about potential policy challenges that the Pennsylvania Petroleum Association is monitoring.
EV Infrastructure Expansion & Utility Emergence into Retail Charging Market
Senate Bill 435 (Mensch – R) would require electric utilities to build out electric vehicle (EV) recharging networks and authorizes recovery from all electric ratepayers of the costs of implementing those plans. The utilities would also be permitted to enter the retail charging market.
PPA worked to form a coalition that included API and NFIB to oppose this bill which is currently stalled in the Senate. PECO and other EV stakeholders will continue push this bill as the state legislature enters the second year of the 2021–2022 session.
Taxing Utility Ratepayers to Expand Electric and Natural Gas Infrastructure
House Bill 1285 (Williams – R) would allow electric utilities to “tax” ratepayers for the buildout of EV charging networks. It would also allow natural gas utilities to apply the same “tax” to recover the cost of expanding gas lines to new customers.
PPA advocacy efforts to oppose this bill have been focused on contacting legislators who sit on the House Consumer Affairs Committee to which the bill was referred in April 2021. These efforts have delayed the committee consideration of the bill. The PPA anticipates increased utility pressure to move the bill in 2022.
Prohibiting Local Government from Restricting Specific Energy Sources
Senate Bill 275 (Yaw – R) would prohibit municipalities from adopting ordinances that would restrict the use of specific energy sources (natural gas, heating oil, and propane) within their jurisdictions. In October the Senate passed this bill by a vote of 35 – 15. The bill was then sent to the House for consideration.
Around the same time, House Bill 1947 (O’Neal – R) was introduced as a similar companion bill which was ultimately voted out of committee and will hopefully receive full House consideration during the 2022 legislative session.
These bills were inspired by the actions of local governments in several states that had prohibited the use of fossil fuels within their jurisdictions. The PPA has adamantly supported both bills which protects consumers ability to choose which energy source(s) they use within their home.
Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)
The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative has been strongly pushed by Governor Wolf and is considered to be his primary energy policy initiative before he leaves the office in January 2023. The proposed regulation would create a cap-and-trade program to address the use of carbon in the process of electric power generation.
Although the General Assembly has passed numerous legislative bills to block this regulation, there has not been enough votes to override the Governor’s veto. The regulation now moves towards implementation in 2022.
The PPA is concerned with how the money the state would receive from the cap-and-trade auction will be spent. In Pennsylvania, it is estimated that funding would approximately be $300 million in the first year.
Establishing Parity for Beer Sales in Smaller Convenience Stores
The PPA has been working on a legislative proposal that would give convenience store operators easier access to acquire licenses to sell beer. Representative Tim O’Neal (R – Washington) has drafted legislation that would create a C-Store License category within the Liquor Code. This proposal is currently being circulated as a co-sponsorship memo to all members of the State House asking for their support to sign onto the bill. Current law requires store owners to purchase the limited number of restaurant licenses in the state and convert them to beer licenses, creating a bidding market that has resulted in many beer licenses costing $100,000+ per store.
The PPA is hopeful this legislation will be formally introduced in 2022, which will be the start of a long, tough fit to reform beer sales within our state.
Stage II Vapor Recovery Repeal
This pending regulation allows owners and operators of gasoline dispensing facilities (GDFs) to remove or decommission all Stage II vapor recovery equipment and requires the removal or decommissioning of a certain type of Stage II equipment. Decommissioning Stage II vapor recovery equipment will eliminate incompatibility with onboard refueling vapor recovery systems and reduce emissions. The proposed regulation would require the installation of ECO nozzles and outlines the procedure for the decommissioning process.
Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Program
PA DEP is developing a proposed regulation that would require 22% of the new passenger and light-duty vehicle fleets offered for sale in the state to be zero emission vehicles starting with model year 2025.
California has previously established this standard. That state is also poised to prohibit the sale of fossil fuel vehicles starting in 2030. Pennsylvania has indicated it does not plan to implement a similar ban; however, the PPA will monitoring this very closely moving forward.
USTIF Loan Repayment
On June 30, 2021, the PA Office of the Budget made two transfers into the Underground Storage Tank Indemnification Fund (USTIF) cash account at the Pennsylvania Treasury totaling $86,474,925.68. This represents the entire repayment of the General Fund loan from 2002, all of which was repaid. This marks the end of a nearly 20-year period of the PPA and other interest groups advocating for the repayment of this crucial industry supported fund.
Ongoing Collaboration with State Agency Working Group
The PPA serves as one of the primary industry associations to represent the fuels sector in an ongoing collaboration with PA DEP, PEMA, PennDOT, PA State Police, and other agencies.
This working relationship directly benefited PPA members in 2021 by receiving hours of service exemptions and relaying the need for waivers during the Colonial Pipeline shutdown. The PPA also consulted with the state by participating in the mock Operation Winter Break Exercise held at PEMA headquarters. This emergency planning exercise helped the state and private sector better align for worst-case scenarios that may disrupt future product supply.