Midwest governors ask President for help with propane shortage
Governor Rick Snyder and six other Midwest governors sent President Obama a letter Tuesday formally asking him to help dealing with the propane shortage that has paralyzed consumers in the Midwest.
The letter asks the Obama administration to look into regulatory waivers that would increase the supply of propane in Midwest states.
Snyder signed the letter along with the governors of Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio, Iowa and Kansas.
The governors requested an extension of the hours of service waiver as well as a temporary waiver of weight limits on the interstate highways to help fill the gaps of supply and demand.
Snyder said his administration has been working with the propane and rail freight industries to improve those propane levels.
So far, he said, several dozen rail cars have delivered an additional 1.3 million gallons of propane to the state.
"My administration is working very hard to lessen the impact of the propane shortage that has affected so many in our state in recent months," Snyder said. "We hope, with this request, the federal government will join us in taking every possible action it can to help increase propane supplies and resolve this problem as soon as possible."
Snyder issued an Executive Order on January 31 that extends Michigan's energy emergency until February 11.
The order allows drivers carrying propane on Michigan highways to be exempt from state and federal hours-of-service regulations in order to efficiently deliver propane to Michigan residents.
It also allows drivers to continue to exceed the number of consecutive days and total house in which they can operate a commercial motor vehicle.
The propane shortage has caused prices for residents to skyrocket to as high as five dollars per gallon in some areas. The extreme temperatures have caused homeowners and business owners to use their propane supply more quickly than usual, driving up the demand around the Midwest.
A spokesman for the Michigan Propane Gas Association also said an unusually wet season has made supplies of propane limited, as farmers use propane to dry their crops.
Residents in need of heating assistance are asked to call 211 or visit www.michigan.gov/heatingassistance for help. Those who believe they are victims of propane price gouging are asked to contact the Michigan Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division at 1-877-765-8388 or file an online complaint at www.michigan.gov/ag.