Senate bill targets propane shortages

Three Midwestern senators introduced a bill Thursday aimed at preparing for and mitigating propane shortages like the one that hit their region this past winter.

Sens. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenThe Hill's 12:30 Report The Hill's 12:30 Report John Oliver rips AT&T-Time Warner merger MORE (D-Minn.), Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanOvernight Cybersecurity: Equifax security employee left after breach | Lawmakers float bill to reform warrantless surveillance | Intel leaders keeping collusion probe open Reddit hires first lobbyists Senate panel approves bill compelling researchers to ‘hack’ DHS MORE (R-Ohio) and Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinKoch-backed group targets red-state Dems on tax reform Justices weigh partisan gerrymandering in potential landmark case Dems plan to make gun control an issue in Nevada MORE (D-Wis.) said their bill would improve propane supply and pricing information, better coordinate shortage responses, study whether propane reserves should be established and help farmers get propane storage tanks.

ADVERTISEMENT
“This bipartisan bill will help us respond more quickly to future shortages and it will help prevent them in the first place,” Franken said in a statement.

“Last winter’s propane shortage caused a tremendous burden for the Ohioans who rely on propane to heat their homes and Ohio livestock operations,” Portman said. “To be better prepared in the future, we must move quickly to enact this bipartisan legislation to help prevent and better manage shortages.”

The bill follows a hearing the senators led in May, at which lawmakers, Obama administration officials and the private sector focused on data and supply issues in trying to determine what caused the shortage and how it could have been prevented.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Franken agreed at the hearing that better data, especially from the Energy Information Administration, could have predicted the problems that led to the shortage and allowed the government and private sector to prepare for it.