Propane haulers exempt during Midwest shortage

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | 11/12/2013

A propane shortage during harvest season has a number of Upper Midwest states clamoring for solutions. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has coordinated with several states to waive certain regulations for those hauling propane in affected areas.

Seven states have issued emergency declarations since late October, and four of the declarations remain active. The declarations include waivers for hours-of-service regulations and in some cases, size and weight restrictions, for propane haulers during the crisis period.

Declarations are still active in South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota and Montana.

The emergency declaration from Nebraska spells out the situation:

“Whereas, the timing of harvest is creating a high demand for propane supplies throughout the Midwest and that demand is creating temporary shortages or localized outages of propane gas; and

“Whereas, adequate supplies of propane are necessary to continue normal agricultural harvesting and to provide residential heating to our citizens and these shortages appear to be temporary in nature; and

“Whereas, propane haulers are experiencing much longer time waiting in supply lines at all available terminals, and the extra time is creating hardship for propane suppliers and distributors to obtain and deliver fuel supplies to retail outlets;

“Now, therefore … the enforcement of the Nebraska Revised Statute commonly known as the ‘hours of service’ rules shall be waived solely for any drivers of commercial vehicle transporting propane within the state of Nebraska for a period of 30 days from the effective date of this order (Oct. 26).”

Click the links to view the emergency declarations in the remaining active states.

South Dakota, through Nov. 30

Nebraska, through Nov. 24

Minnesota, through Nov. 22

Montana, through Nov. 14

Wisconsin, Iowa and Indiana had declared emergencies in late October, but their declarations have expired according to a posting by the FMCSA.

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