Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar and John Thune of South Dakota introduced legislation to better prepare for propane and heating fuel shortages and regional supply disruptions.
This legislation would allow governors greater autonomy when they declare emergencies. The legislation would also require the Energy Information Administration to provide early warnings to governors if the inventory of residential heating fuel (propane, natural gas, and home heating oil) falls below the most recent five-year average for more than three consecutive weeks.
In late January, the federal government extended state emergency orders for 36 states providing regulatory relief for commercial motor vehicle operators transporting home heating fuels into areas experiencing propane and heating fuel shortages this winter.
The bill also includes House-passed legislation that Klobuchar recently introduced in the Senate with Senator Al Franken that would extend the current emergency declarations until May 31, 2014, unless a governor felt that such a declaration was no longer needed.