This message was sent to ##Email##
J. Kendzel, ASA VP, Advocacy
|ASA Goes to the White House
The ASA Advocacy Team is committed to supporting our members through assistance and advocacy in Washington D.C. and at the state level. ASA’s Director of Government Affairs, Catherine Treadwell, J.D., exhibited this commitment last week by taking swift action to assist an ASA member being directly impacted by U.S. sanctions placed on Venezuela.
As background, the U.S. has imposed certain sanctions on the Government of Venezuela. As part of this effort, on January 28, 2019, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) added Venezuela’s state-owned oil company Petróleos de Venezuela, commonly referred to as PdVSA, to OFAC’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (the “SDN List”). As a result of OFAC’s actions, all transactions by U.S. companies with PdVSA will be prohibited and all of PdVSA’s assets in the U.S. must be blocked (i.e., frozen). In addition, U.S. companies must wind down their transactions with PdVSA and any company that is owned 50% or more by PdVSA. While OFAC has issued several general licenses allowing certain wind down activities, the effect of adding PdVSA to the SDN is significant and will impact some ASA members.
An ASA PVF member directly impacted by the sanctions contacted ASA staff to see if there was anything we could do to help. Catherine took the lead and through her connections and perseverance, she was able to arrange for a meeting at the White House on Monday, February 25th, less than a week after hearing from the ASA member. Catherine and the ASA member’s counsel attended the meeting and were able to shed light on the issue and the negative impact on the ASA member’s company. White House staff present at the meeting included the Special Assistant to the President / Director of the National Security Council, the Director of Energy for the National Security Council, and the staff person taking the lead on the Venezuelan issue.
Catherine noted, “The White House staff were great, but unfortunately were stern on why the sanctions were in place. They had not seen another company be affected like this, so they were appreciative that we brought it to their attention. They promised to take our concerns to OFAC for consideration.”
Other ASA PVF members impacted by the sanctions should contact Jim Kendzel at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are watching this issue closely and any additional information our members can provide is greatly appreciated. For more information on the issue click here.
Remember, the ASA Advocacy Team is your voice so feel free to contact us at any time with legislative or policy issues your company might be facing so we can help.
It’s a Boy – Catherine Treadwell, ASAs Director of Government Affairs, gave birth to a new baby boy on Thursday, February 28th. Mother, Father and baby are all doing fine.
- ASA has submitted comments of concern related to proposed amendment to IRS §163(j) which would limit the formula to exclude depreciation and amortization. This would make the amount that businesses could deduct even smaller. This proposed IRS formula would essentially go beyond an EBITDA formula and would immensely affect ASA members’ tax liability in a negative manner.
- Senate Finance Committee chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and the top Democrat on his committee, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., introduced legislation Thursday to retroactively extend tax provisions that expired at the end of 2017 and 2018 through the rest of 2019 and offer disaster tax relief benefits to people and businesses affected by major disasters that happened last year.
- Trump delayed a March 1 increase in tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods, saying there had been "substantial progress in our trade talks with China." Trump said if "additional progress" was made between the two countries, he'd plan for a summit meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping.
- During a House Ways and Means Committee hearing today on U.S.-China trade, Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) cited concerns raised by NAHB that tariffs on Chinese goods act as a $1 billion tax on residential construction and are exacerbating the affordable housing crisis.
- In a 52-47 vote, the Senate confirmed Andrew Wheeler to be the Environmental Protection Agency's administrator.
- Trump administration officials, including acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, met at the White House to discuss forming an ad hoc National Security Council working group of federal scientists to reassess whether fossil fuel use threatens the planet, according to three senior administration officials.
- House Democrats introduced their new "Medicare for all" legislation, a comprehensive blueprint to extend health coverage to every American resident under one government-run plan. Lead author Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, has 106 co-sponsors on her bill, which calls for a transition period of two years and includes dental, vision and long-term care but does not yet describe financing mechanisms.
- Citgo Petroleum Corp. will formally sever ties with Petróleos de Venezuela SA to avoid U.S. sanctions and keep its refineries and pipelines operational, according to sources.
- In a 245-182 vote, the House passed legislation to overturn Trump's declaration of a national emergency on the southern border, forcing a Senate vote in the coming weeks.
- Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said he will support a House resolution that would overturn President Donald Trump's national emergency declaration at the U.S.-Mexico border, joining three other GOP senators in backing the resolution. Paul's support appears to provide the majority needed to send the measure to Trump, who has said he would veto it. (The New York Times)
The House and Senate are in session this week.
- Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he intends to announce a proposal for a special Senate panel this week that would examine climate change, and that he wants to bring climate legislation to a vote in early 2021
- Republicans have started a Roosevelt Conservation Caucus to "counteract centralized big government solutions" on environmental issues, including on the Green New Deal, according to a Senate Republican aide and a letter sent to members of Congress that was obtained by a media outlet. (Washington Examiner)
- On Wednesday, March 6th at 10:00 am ET the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works will hold a hearing entitled, “The Economic Benefits of Highway Infrastructure Investment and Accelerated Project Delivery.”
| || NEWS FROM STATE AND LOCAL |
TX SB 1295: Relating to the inclusion of water filling stations in the sales and use tax exemption for water-efficient products.
UT HB 360: bill for requiring lead testing is school drinking water systems passed the house and moved to the state senate on 3/1/19. Sen. Jani Iwamoto (UT-4) is now a co-sponsor of the bill.
WI AB 45: This bill creates an income and franchise tax deduction for tuition expenses paid by an individual, including a sole proprietor, or corporation for an individual to participate in an apprenticeship program.
WI AB 56: bill eliminates the worker training and employment program known as the Wisconsin Career Creator Program (see Job Training, item 2, page 37)
WI AB 59: creates a revenue limit adjustment for a school district that incurs costs to remediate lead contamination in drinking water in the school district (see Education section, item 1.g, page 13).
The U.S. imported the least amount of crude oil on a weekly basis in 23 years, as OPEC-members Saudi Arabia and Venezuela cut their shipments to unusually low levels.
Weekly crude imports fell 1.61 million barrels a day to 5.92 million, the lowest level since 1996. Weekly imports from Saudi Arabia fell to 346,000 barrels a day for the week ending Feb. 22, the Energy Information Administration reported Wednesday. Domestic crude production skyrocketed to 12.1 million barrels a day.
The National Law Review
While President Trump’s border security policy has dominated recent news headlines, his deregulation policy has quietly jockeyed into a better position to survive court scrutiny. Last week, a federal district court issued an opinion that suggests it may never confirm whether the Trump Administration’s “two-for-one” executive order thwarts consumer protection and safety-related rulemakings by past administrations, because no plaintiffs have standing to raise these arguments. Rulemakings have a primary role in environmental law.
The National Law Review
The new America’s Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA), which primarily focuses on certain water infrastructure projects being undertaken by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, also created a number of new requirements applicable to community water systems serving more than 3,300 people.
7701 Las Colinas Ridge, Ste. 800, Irving, TX 75063