Lawmakers call for action on high cost, shortage of propane

ST. PAUL – Minnesota lawmakers are calling for the federal government to take action to address the high cost and critical shortage of propane in Minnesota.

Governor Mark Dayton, along with Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, and U.S. Representatives Tim Walz, Collin Peterson, Betty McCollum and Rick Nolan sent a letter to President Barack Obama asking for immediate regulatory action to help alleviate the shortage.

Among the actions they are asking is for the Department of Transportation to maintain and expand its exemption to the hours-of-service regulations. The exemption will allow truckers to drive longer shifts to deliver propane.

The group also asks the U.S. Department of Energy to knock down any regulatory barriers that may prevent propane from being shipped by other means, such as rail or pipeline, and to work with pipeline operators and rail lines to increase shipments to the shortage areas in the Midwest.

The group is asking the president to examine current propane markets and consider whether to use his authority to regulate prices to ensure a sufficient supply of propane for domestic consumption.

The group also asks the government to be ready to provide funding in case emergency propane shipments need to be made to communities through state emergency management offices or other first responders.

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