02.10.14

Senator Tammy Baldwin Pushes to Prioritize Shipments of Propane to the Midwest, Asks Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to Extend Priority Treatment of Fuel

Washington D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin today asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to provide ongoing priority treatment for propane to help ensure Wisconsin has sufficient propane to make it through the winter. Baldwin also commended FERC for their action last Friday to invoke its emergency authority to prioritize shipments of propane to the Midwest for seven days.
 
In the letter sent today, she writes, “In light of the severity of this situation and the reality that the propane crisis is expected to continue for the foreseeable future, I urge you to extend the priority treatment of propane beyond the initial one-week timeframe granted by the Commission on February 7th.  Ongoing priority treatment for propane is critical to ensuring the Midwest has sufficient propane to make it through the winter.”

Baldwin most recently called on the Administration to request further federal action to help mitigate the current propane crisis in Wisconsin and also ensure that a similar shortage does not occur in the future. Previously, she had called on the Obama Administration to release Wisconsin’s share of remaining LIHEAP which resulted in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announcing that Wisconsin would receive more than $14 million in federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds.
 
In addition, Baldwin has requested that the Federal Trade Commission investigate the propane crisis in the Midwest and whether any illegal activity has contributed to the dangerous supply shortages and excessive prices. In light of the fact that propane exports increased by 120,000 a day while Wisconsin faced a supply shortfall, Baldwin also called on President Obama to moderate exports to ensure consumers have the fuel they need to keep warm through the winter.
 
The text of the letter can be found here and below.

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February 10, 2014
 
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
888 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20426
 
Dear Acting Chairman LaFleur and Commissioners Moeller, Norris, and Clark:
 
I commend the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for moving swiftly to invoke its emergency authority for seven days to prioritize shipments of propane to the Midwest in light of the severe propane shortage Wisconsin has faced this winter.  Throughout this brutally cold winter, families and business owners across the state have faced substantial hardship due to the instability of the propane supply and the dramatic increase in prices over the past few months.
 
Prioritizing the flow of propane to the Midwest will help increase supply and make it possible for families in Wisconsin to heat their homes.  As the National Propane Gas Association wrote in its request to the Commission, “there is no question that additional propane is desperately needed in the Midwest… existing stocks are simply too low to meet demand through February.” In light of the severity of this situation and the reality that the propane crisis is expected to continue for the foreseeable future, I urge you to extend the priority treatment of propane beyond the initial one-week timeframe granted by the Commission on February 7th.    Ongoing priority treatment for propane is critical to ensuring the Midwest has sufficient propane to make it through the winter.
 
Thank you for your prompt and ongoing attention to this situation.
 
Sincerely,
 
Senator Tammy Baldwin

 
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