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‘Perfect storm’ created propane shortage

To the editor:

Recently our area has experienced a drastic increase in the price of propane. I have been in contact with the governor’s office as well as members of the federal delegation in an effort to reduce these prices.

One answer that I have been getting repeatedly is that this has been a “perfect storm” in terms of propane. A wet harvest, which required a lot of drying, coupled with an extremely cold winter nationwide, has created this shortage.

Additionally, there was a recent change to a local pipeline that held 40 percent of the local propane. This pipeline was lost in favor of using rail or semi-trucks to ship. I’m questioning this decision and feel this requires review. If we’re short of pipeline capacity, this is a major policy issue that we need to discuss.

Another problem that is occurring is our country must do a better job of housing the propane in the areas more needy than others. Numerous reports have claimed that some parts of the country are flush with propane while ours is in drastic need. This propane shortage is not an acceptable pattern. We had a similar short-lived supply problem this past fall too and this needs to be addressed. While there are many theories and reasons about what is causing this crisis, one thing is certain, the nation is using more propane this year than normal.

For those of you who need immediate assistance, please contact West Central Community Action at (218) 299-7846 or Tri-Cap at (320) 251-1612.

Governor Dayton has additionally set up a hotline at 1-800-657-3504.

I will continue to work every day in an effort to help with this situation. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact me.