Over the past year, I have greatly enjoyed traveling across our nation to meet you and discuss what NPGA is doing to support your businesses' growth during these challenging times. My wife Cheryl and I heard many positive things, and also a variety of suggestions on how we can improve the association. Throughout our travels, we were always warmly welcomed at every meeting we attended.
Remarkably, this year marks the centennial celebration of propane's discovery as a source of innovative energy solutions. What started as a fuel discovered for the first time on May 17, 1912 as a light source has grown into a major component of America's energy portfolio. Hundreds of millions of gallons of propane are used all around the U.S. in vehicles and appliances to heat homes, irrigate crops and utilized in many other applications. Despite facing what I call significant "headwinds", our industry is well-positioned to achieve even more success in the next 100 years.
I am very proud of NPGA's accomplishments during the past year. We maintained parity with natural gas by defeating an amendment sponsored by Sen. Menendez (D-NJ) that would have extended tax preferences only to natural gas vehicles. We fended off a serious attempt by Sen. DeMint (R-SC) to repeal the Propane Education and Research Act. And we initiated litigation against the U.S. Department of Energy in a major effort to preserve the propane-fueled decorative hearth products market.
More work remains to be done to ensure that our industry continues to prosper. I see the need to continue growing the industry into new markets. We also need to stay on top of developments affecting the delivery infrastructure so that marketers, both large and small, can take advantage of the shale gas revolution.
It is hard to believe that my term as Chairman is coming to an end. I would like to thank each of you for your support during my year of service, as your support has allowed NPGA to achieve many of our victories. I am confident that our incoming Chairman, Ray Murray, will successfully take our Association and the propane industry to the next level.
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