For more information contact: Chad Urdahl 651-296-5520
I join fellow House Republicans in thanking everyone involved in taking action to keep propane supplies moving to the point of demand for home heating and grain drying this harvest season.
On Wednesday, I joined GOP Rural Caucus members in co-signing a letter to the governor, requesting that he issue an executive order temporarily waiving hours of service regulations for transporters of propane and anhydrous ammonia. The governor issued a similar order in 2013, when late-maturing crops and other factors teamed to choke the propane supply chain that fall.
The governor then issued Emergency Executive Order 17-11 late Wednesday evening, easing regulations on hours of service “for motor carriers and drivers providing direct assistance in emergency relief efforts.” According to a press release from the governor’s office, the Executive Order “will help ensure farmers have access to the diesel fuel and propane they need to dry late-harvested crops.”
Our cool, wet harvest season is putting a crunch on propane delivery – for both farmers who need to dry their crops and families who use propane to heat their homes. This executive order will be helpful in ensuring people have access to propane this fall and thanks to the governor and everyone else who worked so hard to get this done.
This year’s situation does not appear as dire as what we faced in that perfect storm of 2013, but reports have indicated shortages in surrounding states are causing dealers to turn to Minnesota for supplies, straining our state’s resources. Haulers have encountered bottlenecks, sometimes having to wait in line for up to six hours to load their trucks. This cuts into their allotted hours of service behind the wheel.
The Executive Order remains in effect for 30 days, or “until the commercial motor carrier or drivers ceases direct assistance in providing energy relief, whichever occurs first,” and may be extended in the future.
On another topic, I encourage area residents to attend upcoming meetings in St. Cloud and Morris, hosted by the Minnesota Department of Transportation, to discuss state ditch-mowing policies.
Last year, MnDOT indicated it planned to change its statewide permitting standards for mowing and baling in ditches along Minnesota’s state roadways. Significant concerns arose over the proposed changes and the Legislature successfully led to enactment a bill placing a moratorium on new mowing rules along state highways – excluding county and township roads – until May of 2018.
The moratorium was established to ensure the public and key stakeholders had ample opportunity to provide input regarding the changes to permitting standards prior to their enforcement.
This is an important issue for people I talk with and this is your chance to provide input. These meetings are where people from our region can have their voice be heard and help make decisions.
The St. Cloud meeting will take place 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 9, at the St. Cloud MnDOT Conference Center (3725 12th St. N.) The Morris meeting will be 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 15, at the University of Minnesota Morris Science Auditorium (600 E. 4th St.). Anyone with questions can call my office for more information at (651) 296-4317.
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