WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Congressman Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) recently led a bipartisan letter with Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and 33 other Members of Congress, to President Obama, requesting he declare a state of emergency for parts of the Midwest that are currently experiencing ongoing propane supply shortages. An emergency declaration will ultimately lift weight limitations for vehicles carrying emergency propane supplies to these areas, allowing more propane to be delivered faster to those in need.
"Given the dire situation faced by residents in Ohio's Fifth Congressional District and throughout the Midwest, we asked President Obama to take further action and address the propane shortages by declaring a state of emergency," said Congressman Latta. "Access to heat is no longer an option, but a requirement for survival for residents in these areas, and an emergency declaration will allow propane marketers to almost double the amount of fuel they can move at once. I urge the President to take swift action in declaring an emergency for the Midwest, so propane can be delivered to those in need as fast as possible."
The letter cites historic low temperatures and a number of transportation and distribution challenges as the source of propane shortages throughout the Midwest. It also notes that as the critically low supply of propane continues to dwindle, many residents' homes and livelihoods are in jeopardy. In addition, the letter questions the cost of propane -- noting current astronomical prices reported by constituents living in these areas. Finally, the letter recognizes actions by other federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Transportation and Department of Energy for their efforts in addressing this issue short-term.
In late January, Congressman Latta also led a letter from the Ohio Congressional House delegation to U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Anthony Foxx, requesting the agency extend the hours of service emergency exemption. On February 5, DOT announced it would extend the exemption, which provides regulatory relief for commercial motor vehicles delivering propane and homeheating fuels to affected areas and consumers, until March 1.