As noted in the lead news article and as we have covered in the pages of this magazine for several months now, the industry-favorable provisions in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act are under heavy attack by the financial industry. This includes reforms designed to reduce excessive speculation in the energy markets and put limits on debit interchange fees.
I’m going to be frank, and blunt. If you think the victory was won when President Obama signed the act into law on July 21, 2010, you are sadly mistaken. The legislation will cost major investment banks billions in profits and they have hit Washington with the force of a lobbying tsunami. If you think you can count on others to haul the freight you are sadly mistaken. The industry trade associations – Petroleum Marketers Association of America, National Association of Convenience Stores and New England Fuel Institute – have excellent lobbyists and a core of industry members who step up when called upon. But, they are outgunned and they desperately need your help.
You can make a difference. Sending an e-mail, making a call or writing a letter are useful, but they represent the bare minimum. You need to make direct contact with your federal legislators. You need to let them know the impact these issues have on your business and the fact that you actually care about the outcome of this law. Be assured that they know the major investment banks care.
If you could make a quick trip to Washington, that would be great. An alternative – meeting your legislators while they are home is easier and almost as effective. If you are a neophyte with such efforts, your associations will be glad to help get you up to speed on how to do that effectively. Be a leader and give them a call. Everyone is busy and more than a little effort is required, but the benefits are enormous.
And it’s not just the associations asking for your help. NACS recently hosted a trade media event in Washington where they set up meetings with four Congressmen, two Republicans and two Democrats, who have supported the industry on the swipe fee issue. Every one, without prompting, advised us to encourage our readers to make these contacts. These meetings – relationships actually – really do have a significant impact on the process and can offset the big money and big staffing our opponents bring to the table.
So it’s up to you. Put up or shut up. If you like heating oil, diesel and gasoline prices that are notably higher than they likely would be a decade ago when regulation existed similar to that in Dodd-Frank, then sit at home. If you can survive product prices above $4 (likely a regular future reality even after the Middle East settles down), then sit at home. If you like giving the monopolistic credit associations more money on a gallon of product than you make in profit, then sit at home. Just don’t complain about losing these victories when that comes to pass.
In last month’s Computer Buyer’s Guide the contact for Liquid Controls was listed as
Tom Tschanz. The correct contact should be Royal Wollberg.