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Dayton puts propane on front burner, won't go to Super Bowl

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Gov. Mark Dayton has cancelled his plan to lobby for a Minnesota Super Bowl this week and says he will instead focus on the state's shortage of propane.

KARE 11 reports Dayton is calling an emergency meeting of the state's Executive Council on Friday. He's shelved a plan to travel to New York to urge the National Football League to play the 2018 Super Bowl in a new stadium being built in Minneapolis.

Already this week, Dayton has issued an emergency order and met with propane suppliers in hopes of alleviating the shortage.

The Pioneer Press reports Monday's emergency order can last only five days, but the Executive Council can extend it for another 30 days. The Pioneer Press says state Homeland Security officials spoke with emergency managers in all 87 counties Tuesday to ensure they are ready to respond to any requests for help. The newspaper explains that propane is more commonly used as a heating fuel in rural areas that are not connected to natural gas lines.

While propane heats the homes of an estimated 250,000 Minnesotans, it's also used to keep many livestock barns warm through the winter. The Department of Agriculture says Commissioner Dave Frederickson has been part of this week's discussions with the governor and emergency officials.

As FOX 9 reports, the Salvation Army has added $100,000 to its heating assistance program, HeatShare. The Divisional Commander for Minnesota and North Dakota, Col. Robert Thomson tells the station heating bills for some who rely on propane have risen from $200 a month to $900. Thomson says the Army is particularly concerned about the effect on seniors living on fixed incomes.

While Dayton will not travel to New York this week, a steering committee he named on Monday will represent the state in meetings with the NFL in advance of Sunday's Super Bowl game.

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