APGA Weekly Update November 5, 2015

11-05-2015 12:55

House Passes Six-Year Transportation Reauthorization Bill

In an early victory for new House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the House of Representatives passed a reauthorization of the country’s surface transportation programs on a 363-64 vote on November 5.

The $340 billion bill extends current transportation programs for up to six years, three of which are paid for in the base text. An amendment added to the bill at the last minute may have fully funded the program, but further analysis of the impact of that provision is necessary before being able to make that claim definitively.
Consideration of the House bill included a number of NGV provisions, some of which made it into the final bill. This list, provided courtesy of

NGVAmerica, includes:

Amendment #17: Introduced by Representative Rothfus (Penn.); Action: Withdrawn
Permits a vehicle operated on an engine fueled by natural gas to exceed any vehicle weight limit (up to a maximum gross vehicle weight of 82,000) by an amount that is equal to the difference between the weight attributable to the natural gas tank and fueling system and the weight of a comparable diesel tank and fueling system. This provision is in the Senate bill

Amendment #136: Introduced by Representative Tim Ryan (Ohio); Action: Adopted by Voice Vote
Clarifies that alternative fuel vehicles are eligible for consideration and use of funding under the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAC) Improvement Program. This provision is not in the Senate bill

Amendment #167: Introduced by Representative Foxx (N.C.); Action: Withdrawn
Repeals the section of the bill establishing natural electric vehicle charging, hydrogen, and natural gas fueling corridors. This provision is in the Senate bill

Amendment #39: Introduced by Representative Mullin (Okla.); Action: Passed 246-177
Requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ensure that in promulgating regulations any preference or incentive provided to electric vehicles is also provided to natural gas vehicles. This provision is not in the Senate bill

Amendment #40: Introduced by Representative Mullin (Okla.); Action: Submitted
Amends Title 49 to provide an alternative measurement of the fuel economy for any dual fueled automobile that is capable of operating on natural gas. This provision is not in the Senate bill

The House bill will now have to be reconciled with the Senate’s version, which was also a six-year extension of highway programs, before it can be signed into law by President Obama. It is worth noting that neither version of the bill addresses the pressing issue of how to fund highway programs over the long-term, but nonetheless is a critical step to provide certainty to states and the businesses which construct and maintain the country’s transportation programs.

For questions about this article, please contact Scott Morrison of APGA staff at smorrison@apga.org or (202) 464-2742.

House Republicans Select New Chair of Ways and Means Committee

House Republicans have selected Representative Kevin Brady (Texas) to serve as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. Representative Brady, who is the second-most senior member on the committee, was selected by the House Republican Steering Caucus over Representative Pat Tiberi (Ohio) in a secret ballot vote. He succeeds Paul Ryan (Wis.) who relinquished his chairmanship to serve as Speaker of the House. Representative Brady was elected in 1996 and prior to serving in Congress served in the Texas House of Representatives and worked as worked as a Chamber of Commerce executive.

The Ways and Means Committee is one of the more powerful committees in the House as it has jurisdiction over tax-writing and revenue related measures. In terms of energy related issues, the committee has jurisdiction over tax-credits, tax incentives, as well as tax-exempt financing. Representative Brady has indicated he will use his chairmanship to push for a tax code overhaul and reforms to entitlement program spending as well as continuing to address the Affordable Care Act.

For questions on this article, please contact Dave Schryver of APGA staff by phone at 202-464-2742 or by email at dschryver@apga.org.

APGA Members Meet for Gas Utility Management Conference

On November 3 and 4, APGA members attended the annual APGA Gas Utility Management Conference (GUMC) held at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, N.C. The conference was held in conjunction with APGA’s Board meeting and committee meetings. After a welcome and kick-off from Rich Worsinger, Energy Resources Director for the City of Rocky Mount, N.C., and Chairman of the APGA Board of Directors, the program began with a presentation from Andy Crabtree, President of Crabtree Ink, who provided an overview of best marketing practices as well as materials he developed, in coordination with the APGA Direct-Use Task Group, to assist APGA in its natural gas direct-use campaign. Attendees then heard a panel, made up of Rodney Dill of the Municipal Gas Authority of Georgia, Matt Stennett from Middle Tennessee Natural Gas, and Doc Muller from the Illinois Public Energy Agency. The discussion was focused on net-zero energy and the role of natural gas in a net-zero energy home/building. Rich Worsinger also made a presentation on the APGA Community, the city- and community-owned natural gas industry’s largest online community. Bob Morris, Gas Technology Institute, then discussed emerging technologies related to the direct-use of natural gas. The day concluded with Gilbert Hamberg, who provided an overview of some of the key issues for a public gas system when commercial customers file for bankruptcy as well as discussing other issues related to reducing losses.
On Wednesday, the day began with a presentation from Cliff Swoape of the Middle Tennessee Natural Gas, which was the winner of the 2015 APGA Safety Management Excellence Award. In his presentation, Cliff discussed the programs and policies that foster a culture of safety within his gas system. John Erickson of APGA staff then provided an overview of the American Society of Testing Materials’ recent F2897 Standard Specification for Tracking and Traceability Encoding System of Natural Gas Distribution Components. There was also a discussion, led by Matt Stennett, on excess flow valves for multifamily residential and commercial services.

The GUMC is held annually as an add-on to the Fall Board and Committee meetings. This conference provides public gas system managers with information on a broad variety of issues that impact public gas systems. The 2016 GUMC is scheduled for November 1 and 2 in Chattanooga, Tenn. For questions on this article, please contact Dave Schryver of APGA staff by phone at 202-464-2742 or by email at dschryver@apga.org.

EIA Reports Storage Increase of 52 Bcf to Put Working Gas Storage at 3,929 Bcf

Here is the weekly EIA Summary Report issued on Thursday, November 5, 2015, which reports the week’s storage report highlights for Friday, October 30, 2015. A 52 Bcf increase has been reported.

Working gas in storage was 3,929 Bcf as of Friday, October 30, 2015, according to EIA estimates. This represents a net increase of 52 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 371 Bcf higher than last year at this time and 147 Bcf above the 5-year average of 3,782 Bcf. In the East Region, stocks were 9 Bcf below the 5-year average following net injections of 32 Bcf. Stocks in the Producing Region were 145 Bcf above the 5-year average of 1,223 Bcf after a net injection of 16 Bcf. Stocks in the West Region were 11 Bcf above the 5-year average after a net addition of 4 Bcf. At 3,929 Bcf, total working gas is above the 5-year historical range.

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