Monday, February 17, 2014

Help In Propane Crisis

Oklahoma District 2 Congressman Markwayne Mullin said that the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has extended its emergency declaration easing the federal hours-of-service regulations for areas of the country hit hard by propane shortages and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has issued a ruling to prioritize propane shipments to affected areas.

The FMCSA emergency declaration, which covers Oklahoma, is extended to March 1, 2014.  The extension covers only commercial vehicle operations transporting propane to affected areas.  One major uncontrollable factor in the current propane crisis is the extremely cold weather continuing to affect large portions of the country, including Oklahoma, Mullin said.  The extended cold tempera- tures are causing a spike in demand.

Mullin said "I have been informed that those exports have been slowed recently to deal with our na- tional problem.  Our office is continuing to closely monitor the situation, keep people informed and working to help connect those in District 2 who truly cannot afford to heat their homes with services that may be able to offer some assistance."

Mullin added that low-income Oklahomans, who us propane as their primary or only source of heat, may get assistance from the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS).  Governor Mary Fallin issued an executive order January 31 for DHS to expedite applications for federal Low Income Hous- ing Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and Energy Crisis Assistance Program (ECAP) financial aid.

According to the Governor's office, more than $1 million in funds has been distributed to 3,753 Oklahomans.

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