Sen. Torrey Westrom: Causes of propane shortage must be discussed
Recently our area has experienced a drastic increase in the price of propane. This price increase is very detrimental to our way of life here in greater Minnesota. I have been in contact with the governor’s office as well as members of the federal delegation in an effort to reduce these prices. Due to that contact the federal government lifted some weight restrictions which are helping some. Governor Mark Dayton has also been in contact with Texas Governor Rick Perry to get more propane up here.
One answer that I have been getting repeatedly is that this has been a ‘perfect storm’ in terms of propane. A wet harvest, which required a lot of drying coupled with an extremely cold winter nationwide, has created this shortage. Additionally there was a recent change to a local pipeline that held 40 percent of the local propane. This pipeline was lost in favor of using rail or semi trucks to ship. I'm questioning this decision and feel this requires for review. If we're short of pipeline capacity, which is a major policy issue that we need to discuss.
Another problem that is occurring is that our country must do a better job of housing the propane in the areas more needy than others. Numerous reports have claimed that some parts of the country are flush with propane while ours is in drastic need. This propane shortage is not an acceptable pattern. We had a similar short-lived supply problem this past fall too and this needs to be addressed. While there are many theories and reasons about what is causing this crisis, one thing is certain, the nation is using more propane this year than normal.
For those of you who need immediate assistance please contact west central community action at 1-218-299-7846 or Tri-Cap at 320-251-1612. Governor Dayton has additionally set up a hotline to call at 1-800-657-3504. I will continue to work every day in an effort to help with this situation. If you have any questions or concerns feel free to contact me.
Senator Westrom can be reached by telephone at (651) 296-3826 or (855) 407-7386, by e-mail email@example.com, or via mail at 107 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155.