Lawmakers call for ‘urgent’ action on propane prices

Vermont lawmakers called on the administration to limit propane exports in an effort to reduce prices for the home heating fuel.

In a letter this weekend, Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) asked Department of Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker to use her emergency powers to temporarily halt exports of propane.

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“We urge you to act quickly to temporarily restrict propane exports to increase the domestic supply of propane, which will help reduce the financial burden on poor and middle-class families across the country during this particularly cold winter,” the letter stated.

The Northeast has been slammed by extreme cold weather this season, causing propane prices to skyrocket as demand increases.

The lawmakers said domestic propane prices are 60 percent higher this winter than they were last winter.

The Department of Commerce has authority under the International Economic Emergency Powers Act to prohibit or limit exports when necessary to “protect the domestic economy.” Sanders, Leahy and Welch said action was clearly needed.

“The current propane crisis clearly meets those criteria, and warrants this urgent and decisive action,” the lawmakers wrote.