Climate Change Executive Orders

President Biden delivered an address on climate change and signed a series of ambitious executive orders on the matter.

The President called climate change the “maximum threat” facing America and said the nation has waited too long to address the issue. He pointed to a Defense Department report that says climate change is a national security threat to two-thirds of U.S. operational strategic forces. He called for a unified national response but acknowledged the U.S. can’t stop global warming alone, and promised to put pressure on foreign countries to do their part. The President announced he will host an International Climate Summit of world leaders on Earth Day, April 22, 2021.

Biden then signed executive actions he said will “supercharge” the administration’s climate change agenda. These orders build upon climate actions taken immediately after his inauguration, which included rejoining the Paris Accords, suspending the Keystone XL pipeline permit, implementing a social cost of carbon in federal rulemakings, and halting 100+ Trump-era regulatory actions on energy and the environment.

Today’s actions include:

  • Commitments to double offshore wind by 2030 and achieve 100% carbon free electricity nationwide by 2035.
  • Orders the Department of Interior to suspend new oil and natural gas leasing on public lands, begin a “rigorous review” of existing permitting and leasing programs, and lay the groundwork for federal protection of 30% of all U.S. lands and waters by 2030.
  • “Plug” one million abandoned oil and natural gas wells across the country.
  • Orders federal fleets, including the U.S. Postal Service, to utilize zero-emission vehicles made in America.
  • To the extent allowed by law, end federal funding for fossil fuels and press Congress to eliminate oil and gas-related tax breaks.
  • Creation of a “Civilian Climate Corps” to enhance climate resilience, conduct reforestation, increase carbon sequestration in the agriculture, protect biodiversity, and help the nation adapt to climate change and be more resilient to storms, fires, and floods.
  • Instructs Defense, Homeland Security, and Intelligence agencies to prepare reports on the security implications of climate change.
  • Shifts U.S. domestic and international finance policies towards an anti-fossil fuel posture.

The President has also created a new White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy, led by former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, to oversee the administration’s overall climate efforts. He also created White House advisory and interagency councils on environmental justice to mitigate the impacts of pollution on low-income communities and communities of color, and will require 40% of federal climate change investments to flow to these communities. Also a new interagency task force will be created to coordinate the transition of coal, oil, and natural gas workers to the new “clean energy economy” and help local communities that serve these industries adapt to this change.

John Kerry of Massachusetts and Gina McCarthy of Connecticut – the new White House “Czars” on foreign and domestic climate policy, respectively – spoke at a White House press conference immediately before the President’s address. They outlined plans for a “whole of government approach” to climate change, which includes ensuring a climate office is created in nearly every single federal department, agency, and commission. McCarthy will lead a National Climate Task Force comprised of representatives from 21 federal departments and agencies to coordinate federal climate policy.

Biden has thus far resisted calls from Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer and other party leaders to issue a national emergency declaration for climate change. You will recall that President Trump issued a similar declaration on immigration. If taken, this action would expand the powers of the President to address the stated emergency without legislative action, which includes the repurposing of federal funds (as Trump did for border security). Honestly, I feel like this is still a possibility, perhaps on or around Earth Day. The White House also promised to submit its Nationally Determined Contribution Plan, which his required of all Paris Climate Accord nations, before the Earth Day Climate Summit.

The President also reiterated his belief that Congress needs to act on climate. As previously mentioned, he plans to send a climate-focused infrastructure and workforce development package to Congress next month, and it will probably be the focus of his State of the Union Address. Biden also promised that his departments and agencies will pursue an aggressive regulatory agenda the next four years, which will include tougher CAFE standards, reducing emissions from oil and gas production, and stronger restrictions on fugitive methane emissions.

In related news, the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee held a hearing to examine the nomination of former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm to serve as U.S. Energy Secretary. Granholm said repeatedly that lower emission energy sources and technologies provide the U.S. a “massive opportunity” to address climate change while also supporting American businesses and creating jobs. Senator Angus King, a member of the committee, invited the former Governor to visit Maine and tour off-shore wind projects (which she promised to do so).

 

Jim Collura, Vice President & Director of Government Affairs, NEFI

Fuel Storage Preventing Failure – ICM

Indoor Comfort Marketing – July/August 2020

“A properly installed and maintained storage tank is an extremely safe and efficient way to store power. A full 275-gallon tank holds over 34 million BTUs of potential heat in the fuel itself. This is equivalent to more than 11,000 kilowatts of electricity. All this energy is at the customer’s ready disposal day and night..”

 

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NEFI Regulatory Alert: DOL – Required Paid Leave Poster

You Must Post or Distribute this Paid Leave Notice If You Employ Fewer than 500 People

1. Where do I post this notice? Since most of my workforce is teleworking, where do i electronically “post” this notice? 

Each covered employer must post a notice of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requirements in a conspicuous place on its premises. An employer may satisfy this requirement by emailing or direct mailing this notice to employees, or posting this notice on an employee information internal or external website.

 

2.  I have to post this notice in other languages that my employees speak? Where can I get the notice in other languages?

You are not required to post this notice in multiple languages, but the Department of Labor (DOL) is working to translate it into other languages.

 

3. Do I have to share this notice with recently laid-off individuals? 

No, the FFCRA requirements explained on this notice apply only to current employees.

 

4. Do i have to share this notice with new job applicants? 

No, the FFRCA requirements apply only to current employees. Employers are under no obligation to provide the notice of those requirements to prospective employees.

 

5. Do I have to give notice of the FFCRA requirements to new hires?

Yes, if you hire a job applicant, you must convey this notice to them, either by email, direct mail, or by posting this notice on the premises or on an employee information internal or external website.

 

6. If my state provides greater protections than the FFCRA, do I still have to post this notice?

Yes, all covered employers must post this notice regardless of whether their state requires greater protections. The employer must comply with both federal and state law.

 

7. I am a small business owner. Do I have to post this notice?

Yes. All employers covered by the paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave provisions of the FFCRA (i.e., certain public sector employers and private sector employers with fewer than 500 employees) are required to post this notice.

 

8. How do I know if I have the most up-to-date notice? Will there be updates to this notice in the future?

The most recent version of this notice was issued on March 25, 2020. Check the Wage and Hour Division’s website or sign up for Key News Alerts to ensure that you remain current with all notice requirements: www.dol.gov/agencies/whd.

 

9. Our employees must report to our main office headquarters each morning and then go off to work at our different worksite locations. Do we have to post this notice at all of our different worksite locations?

The notice needs to be displayed in a conspicuous place where employees can see it. If they are able to see it at the main office, it is not necessary to display the notice at your different worksite locations.

 

10. Do I have to pay for notices? 

No. To obtain notices free of charge, contact the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division at 1-866-4-USWAGE (1-866-487-9243). Alternatively, you may download and print the notice yourself from https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/posters

 

11. I am running out of wall space. Can I put the required notices in a binder that I put on the wall?

No, you cannot put federal notices in a binder. Generally, employers must display federal notices in a conspicuous place where they are easily visible to all employees–the intended audience.

 

12.We have break rooms on each floor in our building. Do I have to post notices in each break room on each floor or can I just post them in the lunchroom?

If all of your employees regularly visit the lunchroom, then you can post all required notices there. If not, then you can post the notices in the break rooms on each floor or in another location where they can easily be seen by employees on each floor.

 

13.Our company has many buildings. Our employees report directly to the building where they work, and there is no requirement that they first report to our main office or headquarters prior to commencing work. Do I have to post this notice in each of our buildings?

Yes. Where an employer has employees reporting directly to work in several different buildings, the employer must post all required federal notices in each building, even if the buildings are located in the same general vicinity (e.g., in an industrial park or on a campus).

 

Visit the NEFI Coronavirus Action & Resources Webpage for more information

 

 

Federal LIHEAP Supplemental Details

ADMINISTRATION FOR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES

LOW INCOME HOME ENERGY ASSISTANCE.  For an additional amount for ‘‘Low Income Home Energy Assistance’”, $900,000,000, to remain available through September 30, 2021, to prevent, prepare for, or respond to coronavirus, domestically or internationally, for making payments under subsection (b) of section 2602 of the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Act of 1981 (42 10U.S.C. 8621 et seq.): Provided, That of the amount provided under this heading in this Act, $225,000,000 shall be allocated as though the total appropriation for such payments for fiscal year 2020 was less than $1,975,000,000:

Provided further, That section 152607(b)(2)(B) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 8626(b)(2)(B)) shall not apply to funds made available under this heading in this Act in fiscal year 2020: Provided further, That such amount is designated by the Congress as being for an emergency requirement pursuant to section 20251(b)(2)(A)(i) of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985.

Resources for COVID-19 Labor & Employment Questions

Information to Assist PPA Employers

The PPA has received numerous inquiries on how COVID-19 will impact their employment policies. They have partnered with three organizations who are hosting upcoming webinars focused on small business employers. Information on how to register for these webinars can be found below.

Earlier this week they created a Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources page on their website to provide important association, state, and federal resources for our membership to reference.

The PPA will be collaborating with McNees Law moving forward to help provide clarity to their membership on the various changes that will be taking place with labor & employment law. They have invited PPA members to sign up for their complimentary labor & employment newsletter which will feature valuable information regarding COVID-19 impacts to the workplace. Please continue to contact the PPA with labor & employment related questions.

 

March 23 McNees Law Webinar: The Workplace Impact of Families First Coronavirus Response Act

President Trump signed into law historic legislation that will have a significant impact on a many employers nation-wide. The legislation, called the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, has many provisions. This McNees Webinar will focus on the workplace issues that most employers, those with less than 500 employees, can expect to face.

 

March 24 Small Business Legislative Council Webinar: Small Businesses and COVID-19

This Webinar will address the difficult issues that small businesses are facing in light of the COVID-19 threat, particularly when it comes to managing employees and business closures. This will include providing an overview of the new and existing laws that businesses will need to navigate during this unprecedented time. They will also leave ample time for Q&A. The Webinar will be presented by the SBLC’s Strategic Policy Director, Jessica Summers, Esq., who is also a Principal in the Employment Law Group at the Law Firm of Paley Rothman in Bethesda, MD.

 

March 27 PA Chamber Webinar: Coronavirus – Small Business Next Step and Best Practices

Top business attorneys Andrew Levy and Ursula Siverling of McNees Wallace & Nurick will discuss the legal ramifications facing small business with suggestions on best practices to help them stay viable. Then they have invited a top official from the U.S. Small Business Administration to discuss the resources available to help small businesses from suffering undue hardship. They will discuss:

  • How the coronavirus has impacted smaller businesses
  • What employers should be doing now to continue to protect their employees and customers – how do you protect your customers when the “doors” open again, what should you do if a noticeably ill customer shows up, how long do you limit your hours, and more
  • Best practices small business should continue to follow even when the pandemic finally levels off
  • Legal ramification businesses must consider as they begin to get back up to speed
  • How long some of the modified laws will stay in place that you must comply with – FLMA, ADA, Wage & Hour, more
  • Business losses covered under insurance
  • Resources and financial options out there to help small businesses

Angus/ PriMedia/ Consumer Focus/ AFS Online Educations Webinars

Educational Webinar Series

Overcome Adversity With Education! 

As we all know, COVID-19 has required our industry to cancel many events.  This includes the planned series of educational seminars presented by Angus Energy, PriMedia, Consumer Focus and AFS. THE GOOD NEWS is that all the associations above have come together to jointly sponsor an ONLINE Education Webinar Series as an alternative

We understand that your time is valuable, so we transformed our multi-day sessions into, six individual 45- minute webinars scheduled over the dates listed below. Please register for ANY OR ALL of the Webinars! Let’s not let these times stop us from sharing knowledge and supporting our associations educational efforts. 

 

  • MARCH 31, 2020 | 11-11:45 AM | ANGUS ENERGY
    • How budget programs increase profits & customer loyalty
  • APRIL 1, 2020 | 11-11:45 AM | PRIMEDIA
    • Messaging & strategies to increase budget plan enrollment
  • APRIL 2, 2020 | 11-11:45 AM | ADVANCED FUEL SOLUTIONS
    • Bioheat: Heating oil’s vital pathway
  • APRIL 21, 2020 | 11-11:45 AM | ANGUS ENERGY
    • How budget programs increase profits & customer loyalty
  • APRIL 22, 2020 | 11-11:45 AM | CONSUMER FOCUS
    • Increasing budget plan customers
  • APRIL 23, 2020 11-11:45 | ADVANCED FUEL SOLUTIONS
    • Bioheat: Heating oil’s vital pathway

FMCSA Expands Emergency Declaration for Coronavirus Relief Efforts to Include Fuel Deliveries

On March 18, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued an expanded national emergency declaration  to provide hours-of-service and other regulatory relief to commercial vehicle drivers transporting emergency relief in response to the nationwide coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. In keeping with NEFI’s request from earlier this week, the expanded declaration includes relief for fuel delivery. 

FMCSA’s declaration grants regulatory relief for commercial motor vehicle operations providing direct assistance in support of emergency relief efforts intended to meet immediate needs for:

  • Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19.
  • Supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation, and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19, such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants.
  • Food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores.
  • Immediate precursor raw materials – such as paper, plastic or alcohol – that are required and to be used for the manufacture of essential items
  • Fuel. 
  • Equipment, supplies and persons necessary to establish and manage temporary housing, quarantine.
  • Persons designated by federal, state or local authorities for medical, isolation, or quarantine purposes.
  • Persons necessary to provide other medical or emergency services.

Motor carriers and drivers providing such relief are exempt from the provisions of 49 CFR Parts 390-399, but would still be subject to controlled substances and alcohol use and testing requirements (49 CFR Part 383), the commercial driver’s license requirements (49 CFR Part 383), financial responsibility (insurance) requirements (49 CFR Part 387), hazardous material regulations (49 CFR Parts 100-180), and applicable vehicle size and weight requirements.

According to the revised declaration, “direct assistance” does not include routine commercial deliveries, including mixed loads with a nominal quantity of qualifying emergency relief added to obtain the benefits of this emergency declaration.

The exemption is in effect immediately and will remain in effect until the emergency has ceased or 11:59 p.m on April 12, 2020, whichever is earlier.

Angus Energy Seminars Postponed

Due to COVID-19 and the CDC’s recommendations the Angus Energy Seminars will be postponed to future dates. We take the safety and health of our attendees and presenters seriously. With the facts as we know them today, we will move the seminars to the future when we know more and can have a greater sense of the health risk.