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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Chris Swedzinski (R)

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Swedzinski urges governor to help ease propane pinch

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

ST. PAUL – Rep. Chris Swedzinski, R-Ghent, and fellow House Republicans are leading an effort to keep propane supplies moving to the point of demand for home heating and grain drying this harvest season.

Members of the GOP Rural Caucus on Wednesday co-signed a letter to Gov. Mark Dayton, 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.

This year’s situation does not appear as dire, but reports indicate shortages in surrounding states are causing dealers to turn to Minnesota for supplies, straining our state’s resources. Haulers say they have had to wait in line for up to six hours to load their trucks, time which cuts into their allotted hours of service behind the wheel.

“Today, I am sending a letter to Gov. Dayton to please ease the work rules for propane truck drivers so that the pinch for propane around the state can be lifted and farmers can get the propane they need to dry their crops and finish this year’s harvest,” Swedzinski said. “I am joining other members in the Legislature by calling on the governor to please make that move so that we can finish this harvest season safely and with the propane we need.”

Industry representatives requested an hours of service waiver from Dayton’s administration last week but were denied, with the rationale that it is not yet an emergency situation. House Republicans say they would rather act now and not wait for this year’s cold, wet conditions to breed another crisis.

House Republicans are asking for the executive order to be effective this week and extend through the Thanksgiving weekend.