Senators seek more action in propane supply emergency response plan

November 10, 2014 By    

U.S. Sens. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., and Al Franken, D-Minn., sent a letter to U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, urging the administration to do more to prevent another propane crisis this year.

The administration has taken some steps recommended by Baldwin and Franken to avoid a repeat of last year’s propane crisis, including the collection of more data to better determine supply levels, but more can be done to implement a new emergency response system for heating fuel supply shortages, according to a press release from Baldwin’s office.

The Senators write, “We understand that the Department of Energy is in the process of developing a coordinated emergency response plan with the Department of Agriculture, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and Health and Human Services. While we are encouraged that this planning is under way, additional steps are needed to establish a comprehensive response mechanism and we strongly urge you to complete this plan before winter begins. As you continue developing this plan, we request that you:

• Establish clear criteria that would trigger federal emergency response actions during – and prior to – a propane supply crisis;

• Develop a list of actions that could be taken by each federal department and agency in response to a crisis;

• Provide guidance and information to state and local governments regarding available federal resources, including distributing the list of actions that each federal department and agency can take.”

In July, Baldwin and Franken joined Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ore., to introduce the Propane Supply and Security Act, aimed to 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.

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