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Dayton, Minn. lawmakers urge White House action on propane shortage

ST. PAUL — Gov. Mark Dayton and several Minnesota lawmakers called on the Obama administration Saturday to take immediate action to address the region’s propane shortage.

Dayton was joined by U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, and U.S. Reps. Collin Peterson, Betty McCollum, Tim Walz and Rick Nolan in a letter to President Barack Obama.

The letter urges the White House to take steps such as knocking down regulatory barriers to provide relief to Minnesotans.

“We write to express our deep concern over the ongoing supply shortage of propane fuel across much of the Midwestern and Northeastern regions of the country,” the letter says. “Households and businesses in Minnesota and elsewhere have seen spikes in the price of propane fuels during the severe winter cold. Any further reduction in supply threatens to leave our constituents without the fuel necessary to heat their homes and to keep livestock and poultry barns warm.”

The officials want the U.S. Transportation Department to expand an exemption to drivers’ hours-of-service limits for as long as necessary. They also urge the administration to address any Energy Department rules that might prevent propane shipments from being delivered by rail and pipeline.

The group asks that adequate funds be made available in case state emergency management offices or other first responders must participate in emergency propane deliveries.

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