Sen. Deb Fischer is cosponsoring legislation to address the recent propane shortages, she announced Wednesday.Fischer said the bill would eliminate red tape to support increased delivery of residential heating fuels to areas affected by shortages.
“Propane shortages across Nebraska this winter have resulted in record-high prices for too many families struggling to heat their homes during record-low temperatures,” said Fischer.
The Midwest entered this winter with the lowest levels of propane inventories since 2007, due in part to extreme cold temperatures, a wet grain harvest requiring more propane than normal to fuel grain dryers, as well as strained distribution.
The supply and distribution challenges came just as the Midwest and most of the United States experienced record-low temperatures.
Under current law, the governor of a state can declare a state of emergency, providing a 30-day exemption from federal regulations for commercial motor vehicles to expedite delivery. These include exemptions for restrictions of the amount of time truck drivers can operate.
Specifically, the Reliable Home Heating Act allows state governors to extend a state of emergency for two additional 30-day periods.
The legislation also requires the Energy Information Administration to provide an early warning to governors if home heating fuel inventory falls below the most recent five-year average for more than three consecutive weeks.
The Reliable Home Heating Act was introduced by Sen. John Thune of South Dakota.