Gov. Walz’s emergency relief to drivers transporting propane

[ST. PAUL, MN] – Following severe winter storms and extreme cold, Governor Tim Walz signed an executive order providing emergency relief from regulations for motor carriers and drivers transporting propane in Minnesota.

Executive Order 22-24 addresses the high demand for propane with the onset of winter and recent powerful storms in Minnesota. “Households across the state depend on propane to keep them warm during the winter months,” said Governor Walz. “It is important that we keep propane delivery reliable and safe for all Minnesotans. I’m grateful to fuel carriers and drivers working to keep families across the state warm this winter.”

However. with the onset of winter and recent powerful storms, propane is in high demand in Minnesota
and states around the country. Approximately ten percent of Minnesota households, or over
200,000 homes, use propane as their primary heating fuel.

Although the need for propane is more prevalent in rural areas where many households do not have access to natural gas. Propane and heating fuels are essential supplies necessary to protect the public health and safety. In mid-December, winter storms brought heavy wet snowfall, freezing rain, and strong winds to Minnesota.

These storms caused major impacts to homes and businesses throughout Minnesota. Some areas in Minnesota reported more than 25 inches of snow. The significant precipitation damaged trees
and caused downed limbs, resulting in road closures and widespread power outages. Utility
companies estimated that tens of thousands of customers were without power for several days.

While the state was working to dig out stranded families, clear roads, and restore power, there was additional snowfall, dangerously low temperatures, and wind gusts up to 50 miles per hour. Road closures due to whiteout conditions were prevalent throughout the state, which severely impeded travel, including the transportation of propane. These weather-related road closures have led to a backlog of propane deliveries, which is further compounded by increased energy consumption due to sub-zero temperatures.

Due to the conditions caused by winter storms, governors across the country, as well as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, have declared emergencies and issued orders that provide temporary relief from certain regulations for carriers and drivers assisting emergency relief efforts by transporting propane and other heating fuels.

Minnesota Statutes 2022, section 221.0314, subdivision 9, adopts federal safety regulations,
including hours of service requirements for drivers. Minnesota Statutes 2022, section 221.0269,
provides: “The governor may declare an emergency and grant relief from any of the regulations incorporated in section 221.0314 to carriers and drivers operating motor vehicles in Minnesota to provide emergency relief during the emergency.”

Reliable access to propane will be critical to the safety of Minnesotans in the weeks and months
ahead. The temporary relief for the continued movement of propane as carriers, and drivers would then provide necessary and time-sensitive assistance to Minnesota. Strict enforcement of certain hours of service regulations would also prevent or hinder the efficient transportation of this essential commodity.

For more information on heating your home safely during a power outage you can look here

For another story about using propane to stay warm ice fishing you can look here