Petrogram - Winter 2009 - (Page 21)

Out & About THE INDUSTRY Petroleum Marketers are Under Assault everal months a go, whi le m a ny m a rketers were attending the Shellsponsored trip to Greece and others Mark Radosevich were packing their bags for Sunoco’s Italian boondoggle, I had the opportunity to visit a place much more foreign and exotic: Washington, D.C. for the PMAA legislative drive. Although it’s been said many times before, it definitely rings true today with the new regime running the show; things inside the beltway are illogical, frustrating and weird. The Beltway is Interstate 495, which circles the city and is the border between normal America and the netherworld of politics, politicians, lobbyists and bureaucrats. If you asked these folks they’d tell you that what they are doing really matters, that they are going to make a difference and make our collective lives better, whether we like it or not. And better yet, we and our kids S get to pay for it personally and commercially, today and far into the future. I don’t know why it took me so long to attend one of these PMAA-sponsored lobbying events. Maybe it was a perception that it would be a meaningless waste of time, or maybe it was because my state association only encouraged attendance in passing. However, the experience proved to be the complete opposite. Joining me to advocate the interests of our industry was a relatively small group of marketers and staff from various state associations across the country. At the issues review presentation, I was surprised by the number of diverse items that needed to be addressed with our legislators. Topics included the cap-and-trade energy bill, card check for union organizing, credit card fees, PCI compliance, tobacco regulation and fuel hedging transparency, to mention just a few. All of these issues are geared to directly and negatively impact our business, and here we were a mere handful of petro-pros taking our message to Capitol Hill. When we departed on the fi rst morning, I think we all had a little sense of what the folks at the Alamo felt the morning of General Santa Ana’s fi nal attack. Th roughout our two-day visit, we either met with actual legislators or their key staff members, who seemed genuinely interested in hearing what we had to say. Many were aware of some, but not all, of our issues, and having our side presented may have helped turn a vote or change an opinion when the legislation goes to the floor for passage. Although our numbers were small, most of us would agree that the time, energy and expense to participate were warranted. Our industry is facing an interesting dichotomy right now between the emerging importance of our retail business to the commercial lending sector and being squarely in the cross hairs of government regulation and taxation of our primary revenue sources. The things that make c-stores generally immune from economic downturns – beer, cigarettes and gasoline – are Petrogram | Winter 2009 |

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Petrogram - Winter 2009

Petrogram - Winter 2009
President’s Perspective
2010 FPMA Patron Members
Enviro Corner
Danger Ahead: Hometown Democracy
Out & About the Industry
Insurance Issues
Drop and Swap, Fishing and Dogs
Barrister’s Counsel
Index of Advertisers/

Petrogram - Winter 2009