WASHINGTON, D.C. (KELO-AM) —Senator John Thune (R-S.D.), Ranking Member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, which oversees the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), today sent a letter to the FMCSA requesting the agency issue an Emergency Declaration for the Western Service Center due to propane shortages, which have been magnified as a result of the extreme cold weather conditions in our region and other portions of the United States. The FMCSA declaration would provide relief from existing Hours of Service limits for drivers transporting propane throughout the Western region while still requiring drivers to be fit to drive and operate safely. This would build on the Hours of Service exemption that Governor Daugaard issued earlier this month that applied only within South Dakota. Similar declarations have been made by FMCSA for the Southern, Eastern, and Midwestern Service Centers which provide interstate flexibility regarding the movement of propane and home heating fuel.
“Regional supply disruptions, high demand from a wet corn harvest, and the extreme cold temperatures this winter have strained propane and home heating oil supplies throughout the region,” said Thune. “The brutally cold temperatures in South Dakota, and across the region, this winter are a challenge for families and businesses, and a tight propane market only increases the dangerous conditions residents are facing. I will continue working with all relevant federal agencies to address this ongoing situation.”