07.31.14

Baldwin, Franken, Portman Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Help Prevent Future Propane Shortages

Last Winter’s Shortage Left Rural Midwest Consumers with Sky-High Prices, Limited Supplies

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) introduced bipartisan legislation to address the root causes of propane shortages like the one that hit families, farmers, and businesses across the Midwest and other parts of the country this past winter.

The bipartisan group of Senators introduced the Propane Supply and Security Act, which will prevent shortages by improving propane supply and price information, coordinating responses to shortages, studying the need for regional propane reserves, and helping farmers purchase propane storage tanks. You can read a summary of the Propane Supply and Security Act here.

“Nearly 250,000 Wisconsin residents and countless businesses throughout my state weathered a severe propane crisis this last winter,” said Baldwin. “Our goal should be to a prevent future crisis and this bipartisan bill takes commonsense action to help manage shortages more effectively by improving coordination.”

“By having federal emergency responses to propane fuel supply crises earlier, propane marketers will be better able react and respond to help their customers.  We’re very pleased that this legislation will help the federal government deploy tools more quickly when a crisis hits.  Senator Baldwin and her staff worked closely with the WPGA and the propane marketers in Wisconsin during the crisis and she has kept her commitment to help support the propane industry.” – Gary France, President and CEO, France Propane Service; Schofield, Wis. and 2013-2014 Chairman of the National Propane Gas Association

“After the crisis the propane industry went through last winter, we’re grateful Senator Baldwin has worked hard to support the propane industry and help make a number of changes that will help propane marketers and their customers in Wisconsin. We’re hopeful her ideas will help improve data collection which will help the industry better serve its customers and provide federal support should we ever find ourselves in a crisis situation in the future.”  – Chris Tews, Chair of the Wisconsin Propane Gas Association

This winter, Baldwin led the charge to alleviate the propane shortage. She urged the Administration to investigate the crisis, pressed the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to use emergency authority to prioritize propane shipments to the Midwest to provide relief for families and businesses impacted by the shortage, and cosponsored legislation to extend the hours-of-service exemption, making it easier for suppliers to transport propane to Wisconsin. Baldwin also helped Wisconsin families struggling to heat their homes receive much-needed heating assistance. In May, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, on which Baldwin sits, held a hearing to probe the factors that led to the tight propane supplies this past winter and to ensure that steps are taken to prevent similar shortages in the future.