2014-04-16 National Governors Association

Reliable Home Heating Act

The Honorable Harry Reid
Majority Leader
U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Minority Leader
U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Majority Leader Reid and Senator McConnell:

On behalf of the National Governors Association, we write to urge the Senate to pass S. 2086, the Reliable Home Heating Act, as soon as possible. This legislation would substantially improve the ability of governors to effectively address critical home heating fuel shortages in their states.

This winter’s extremely cold temperatures, a wetter than usual harvest season and a significant increase in export levels all combined to create record high prices and shortages of propane in many parts of the country. Last year, a critical lack of home heating oil that resulted from Hurricane Sandy prompted President Obama to authorize the release of fuel from the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve. Given that it was governors who provided much of the immediate relief for these fuel shortages, it is critical that they are empowered with the resources they need to continue to provide such robust responses.

S. 2086 would help governors deliver these responses by affording them more authority to extend “state of emergency orders” and ensuring that they have more advance warning of when their states may experience a significant decline in their inventories of propane, heating oil and natural gas. S. 2086 also complements a provision recently signed into law by President Obama that extended until May 31, 2014 all exemptions that have already been issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for motor vehicle operators who are transporting propane to areas that are under a state of emergency order.

By passing this legislation, Congress can do much to assist governors who may be called upon to address disruptions in the supply of critical home heating fuels in their states without having to wait for federal action.

Sincerely,

Governor Jack Dalrymple
Chair, Natural Resources Committee

Governor Dannel P. Malloy
Vice Chair, Natural Resources Committee

Cc: House Leadership