An unusual press release moved on Wednesday that seemed to tell only half the story:
“National Propane Gas Association, Ferrellgas Rejoin Forces” read the headline.
“Citing a legislative agenda that is as significant as anything the industry has ever faced, the National Propane Gas Association (NPGA) and Ferrellgas Partners, L.P. (Ferrellgas) today announced that the nation’s second largest propane retailer will rejoin the industry’s national trade association.”
I’ll admit I don’t follow the NPGA, but I could find no reference to Ferrellgas having left the group in the first place. It’s like taking out an ad in the paper announcing a couple has reconciled their differences when most people didn’t realize there was a split, or that they were even a couple in the first place.
If there was some nasty split in the past it might help explain why the natural gas industry has done such a poor job up until now of getting its voice heard in Congress when it came to climate change legislation.
Scott Brockelmeyer, vice president of communications with Ferrellgas, called me back to explain the company left NPGA in May 2008 ” … after a series of conversations where we told them they were not representing the interests of the largest propane companies.” (Ferrellgas is No. 2 in the business)
“It’s a challenge that many associations have, satisfying the needs of all their members large and small,” Brockelmeyer said. “But things have changed. There are very big things happening in the industry and we felt it was irresponsible to stand on the sidelines anymore.”
But what were the issues NPGA wasn’t doing a good job of representing you on? I asked.
“We don’t want to get into that,” Brockelmeyer said.
The Kansas City Star didn’t have much luck getting a better explanation either, but I finally found a link to a partial trade pub article explaining this wasn’t the first time Ferrellgas parted ways with the group:
“Ferrellgas Partners has withdrawn its membership from the National Propane Gas Association (NPGA) over claims of inequity in service provided to major retailers and independent marketers.
It marks the second time that Ferrellgas has left the association. The nation’s second-largest propane retailer also pulled out in 1992 before rejoining in 1998.”