Sen. Franken says now is the time to prevent future propane shortage

By KBJR News 1

February 13, 2014 Updated Feb 13, 2014 at 1:38 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - US Senator Al Franken, of Minnesota, is hoping this year's propane shortage will create long–term efforts to prevent anything like it again, especially when winter comes around next year.

The Democratic Senator was part of a team of legislators, including Governor Mark Dayton, who wrote to President Obama asking for extra heating assistance funds.

In a first-of-its-kind move, the Federal Energy Regulatory Committee also acquired a pipeline from Texas to transport propane North.

Senator Franken says a perfect storm of issues, from the harsh winter to an extensive crop drying period in the fall, created the unprecedented shortage.

He says this year's emergency may help shape efforts to regulate propane sales.

"If there is a warning sign, such as a very wet harvest [where] farmers obviously need that to dry their corn, we need to look at that see what we need to do to prevent this from happening again," said Sen. Franken, from Washington D.C.

Senator Franken says a major obstacle looming for next year is the planned reversal of a Canadian pipeline that transports 40 percent of Minnesota's propane to the state.

He plans to tackle the issue as part of his role as the Chairman of the Energy Sub Committee.

Billy Wagness