Shuster Bill to Provide Emergency Relief from Propane Crisis Becomes Law
The President has signed into law legislation by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) that helps provide emergency relief to the ongoing propane and home heating fuels crisis in the United States.
On February 25th, Shuster introduced H.R. 4076, the Home Heating Emergency Assistance Through Transportation (HHEATT) Act of 2014, to address transportation and distribution issues that have contributed to this crisis. Both Houses of Congress overwhelmingly passed the bill earlier this month.
“This law provides some assurance that transportation and distribution issues that have contributed to this fuel crisis will no longer be a concern during this cold, lingering winter,” Shuster said.
The severity of this winter has increased demand for propane, which is used for heating in more than 12 million U.S. households, and for other home heating fuels. Supplies are expected to remain tight through the end of winter because the infrastructure to deliver propane to high-demand areas is insufficient.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, average expenditures for U.S. households that primarily rely on propane for heat are expected to be 54 percent higher this winter.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) issued temporary emergency declarations to allow tank truck operators delivering propane and other home heating fuels to drive for longer hours to speed up deliveries to the affected states. However, those declarations only lasted 30 days at a time, creating uncertainty and limited relief. Enactment of the HHEATT Act ensures a guaranteed extension of USDOT emergency declarations until May 31, 2014.
Under the HHEATT Act, should the propane and home heating fuels crisis subside prior to the end of May, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation may determine that the extension of the emergency declarations is no longer needed. The Secretary will make such a determination on a state-by-state basis and in consultation with the governors of affected states.
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