WASHINGTON, Jan. 24, 2014 – The record-breaking cold across the Midwest and Northeast has led to propane price spikes and shortages, and Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., today asked Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to provide some relief by relaxing trucking regulations. A state of emergency declaration from the agency would allow the fuel to reach customers more quickly, Thune said.
Many livestock operations, including dairies, ranches and poultry producers, use propane to keep their facilities warm in the winter and farmers use the fuel in drying out wet crops.
“Due to the high demand for propane stemming from a wet corn harvest, the extreme cold temperatures this winter and regional supply disruptions, propane prices have increased to record highs,” Thune said in a letter to FMSCA administrator Anne Ferro. He asked Ferro to declare a state of emergency in the agency’s western area and grant regional exemptions from certain regulations governing how long truckers can remain on the road.
South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard declared a state of emergency in his state on Jan. 8. That declaration, however, only affects truckers within the boundaries of his state and does not apply to drivers who come from elsewhere with deliveries of the fuel.
The governors of Wisconsin, North Dakota, Iowa and Texas have also waived certain certifications, permits and regulations in response to the shortage.
“The brutally cold temperatures in South Dakota, and across the region, this winter are a challenge for families and businesses,” Thune said in a statement. “A tight propane market only increases the dangerous conditions residents are facing.”
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