Winter weather, supply issues spur emergency declarations

January 14, 2022

SJ Munoz

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Continued supply issues, in addition to winter weather conditions, have led several states in the Midwest and West to declare emergencies related to petroleum and propane products.

In Iowa and North Dakota, supply remains the issue. 

Iowa’s disaster proclamation, in effect until Feb. 5, states “because of high demand for petroleum products throughout the Midwest, the people of Iowa are faced with extensive challenges to timely access to supplies of propane and petroleum products.”

The order goes on to say that drivers transporting these products are experiencing long wait times at terminals as well as challenging driving conditions such as ice and snow.

To increase the amount of these products throughout the state, a suspension of certain hours-of-service regulations for drivers of commercial motor vehicles transporting propane and petroleum products in Iowa has been ordered.

North Dakota’s executive order points to, “extremely low inventories of propane supplies resulting from market conditions impacted by severe seasonal weather and increased heating fuel demands.”

A waiver of 49 CFR Parts 390-399 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s regulations is effective for 30 days to ensure motor carriers and drivers can, “secure, obtain, transport and deliver propane supplies in North Dakota,” the order stated.

This order, valid for 30 days, went into effect on Jan. 4.

Winter weather

Minnesota, where a winter storm is predicted to hit this weekend, enacted its emergency order based upon the need for propane to heat homes due to ongoing sub-zero weather.

According to the order, approximately 10%, or over 200,000 homes, use propane as their primary heating fuel. The order also cited wait times at terminals, ice- and snow-covered roads and the NuStar Pipeline, which has had an outage at its Rock Rapids terminal since Jan. 1.

Additionally, many drivers in the state who transport propane also transport petroleum products.

The “relief from regulations” issued by Gov. Tim Walz will aid in transporting propane and petroleum products, similar to the Iowa and North Dakota orders.

Freezing temperatures have created a sudden spike in demand for propane supplies in Utah, according to the state’s order declaring a “liquid petroleum gas emergency.”

An exemption to hours of service is necessary to ensure continued and stable delivery of critical winter fuel, said the order. This exemption is effective for 30 days. No motor carrier operating under the emergency declaration shall require or allow an ill or fatigued driver to operate a motor vehicle, the order states.

Wyoming’s order provides an emergency exemption from permissible operating time regulations, effective until Feb. 7.

Low propane supplies for heating homes and businesses due to cold temperatures in the region led to this order, ensuring “prompt delivery to customers throughout the state is not impeded by restrictions to the hours that can be worked by qualified drivers.” LL

PrePass

SJ Munoz is the newest edition to the Land Line Media team. He brings a variety of skills to the job as he has experience as a reporter, photographer and in radio. He’s also written for Omaha Magazine, the Lawrence Journal-World, and PrepsKC.com.