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Propane Education & Research Council


Propane Council CEO Testifies on Capitol Hill

Senators hear testimony about recommendation to increase federal oversight of energy check-offs


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WASHINGTON (October 1, 2010) — Testifying on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) President and CEO Roy Willis told the Senate Subcommittee on Energy that PERC had faithfully and transparently implemented the Propane Education and Research Act of 1996 and welcomed a public conversation about ways to improve the statute.

The September 29 hearing focused on a recommendation by the Government Accountability Office that Congress should strengthen federal oversight of PERC and the National Oilheat Research Alliance. GAO began a review of the two check-off programs in 2009 at the request of Sen. Jeff Bingaman, Democrat of New Mexico and chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

“The Council stands ready to provide appropriate assistance to the Congress in making improvements to the Propane Education and Research Act,” Willis said. “In the Council’s view, if a mandatory oversight requirement is to be implemented, it should establish standards and procedures to guide decision making and not substitute agency determinations for the leadership responsibility that Congress has rightly vested in the governing body under the Act.”

Willis took the opportunity to tell Congress about some of the significant achievements made by PERC since it began operations in 1998. “Americans from coast to coast are benefiting directly from the work of the Council,” he said. Homeowners, farmers, fleet operators, emergency first responders, and propane marketers are among the beneficiaries of PERC’s consumer and workforce safety and training materials and its research and development programs.

PERC’s investment of $81.4 million in research and development has attracted $119.6 million in co-funding, and PERC R&D partnerships have created jobs. “Hundreds of people in Michigan, Georgia, Texas, California, and other states have jobs building clean trucks, vans, and school buses that reduce pollution and provide reliable, affordable transportation, based on fuel systems researched and developed primarily with Council funding,” Willis said.

Written testimony and a webcast of the hearing are available at http://energy.senate.gov. The GAO report “Propane and Heating Oil: Federal Oversight of the Propane Education and Research Council and National Oilheat Research Alliance Should Be Strengthened” is available at www.gao.gov.