Executive council extends emergency order on propane shortage

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The Executive Council has voted to extend Gov. Mark Dayton's Emergency Executive Order to deal with the propane shortage. The governor met with members of the council Friday to seek a 30-day extension to the emergency executive order.

Low supplies of propane have been driving up the cost and thousands of Minnesotans are struggling with the price. KARE 11 reports politicians at the state and federal levels are boosting aid to hard-hit residents.

According to KARE 11, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released $450 million in Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program funds on Friday, $15.8 million of which is heading to Minnesota.

The state is preparing to open warming shelters in the event the propane shortage and the cold weather persist. The Star Tribune reports State Emergency Operations Director Kris Eide says the agency has identified shelter sites in a number of communities.

Dayton also announced Thursday that Texas Governor Rick Perry has agreed to extend a waiver of trucking restrictions that will allow more propane to flow to Minnesota and other states, according to the Pioneer Press.

The waiver allows trucks from other states to load propane there and transport it to other states.

Minnesota, which has an estimated 250,000 households that use propane to heat their homes, has been struggling with dwindling supplies and rising prices for liquid propane.

The state has established a hotline for people to call if they are in danger of running out of fuel or if they have questions about the shortage.

KSTP reports after receiving more than 550 calls in the first two days, state officials have decided to open the hotline this weekend. The hotline will take calls from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.

The number to call is 651-297-1304 or 1-800-657-3504.

According to the Star Tribune, Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman says the propane situation is likely to remain tenuous for the next few weeks.

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