Federal bill to temporarily ease HOS restrictions on propane distribution

March 14, 2014 By    

The U.S. Senate unanimously approved a bill that extends hours of service (HOS) waivers for propane deliveries through the end of May. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., first introduced the Home Heating Emergency Assistance Through Transportation Act of 2014, which passed unanimously in the U.S. House of Representatives. Now, the bill awaits the president’s signature.

According to a press release, the bill extends any Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) HOS exemption issued after Feb. 5, 2014, related to the delivery of propane for home heating. The bill followed a hearing in the House Energy and Power Subcommittee where recommendations for improving U.S. fuel supply infrastructure were requested.

Rick Roldan, NPGA president and CEO, attended the hearing and made several recommendations to the government regarding what it can do to protect consumers who rely on propane. Roldan recommended reviewing federal propane export policies; launching a Federal Trade Commission investigation to ensure markets are performing properly; improving the timeliness and reliability of the Energy Information Administration’s inventory data; increasing transparency of petroleum products pipeline operations; applying affiliate rules to petroleum products pipelines; easing the requirements needed for federal authorities to exercise emergency power during emergencies; and increasing storage infrastructure, such as the proposed Finger Lakes facility in New York.

“While it may feel like spring in some parts of the country, there are still regions with colder-than-normal temperatures and where demand for propane is high,” says Gary France, NPGA chairman and owner of France Propane Service, in a press release. “This bill makes it easier for companies to get propane to the customers who need it most.”

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