Congressman Tim Ryan and Congressman Bill Shuster Introduce the HHEATT Act to Provide Emergency Relief to Propane and Home Heating Shortages

Feb 26, 2014 Issues: Energy

Washington, DC – Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH) and Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) have introduced legislation to help provide emergency relief to the ongoing propane and home heating fuels shortage in the United States.  

Ryan and Shuster introduced H.R. 4076, the Home Heating Emergency Assistance Through Transportation (HHEATT) Act of 2014 to address transportation and distribution issues that have contributed to the shortage.

An exceptionally cold winter has increased demand for propane, which is used for heating in more than 12 million U.S. households, and for other home heating fuels. Supplies are expected to remain tight through the end of winter because the infrastructure to deliver propane to high-demand areas is insufficient.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has issued temporary emergency declarations to allow tank truck operators delivering propane and other home heating fuels to drive for longer hours to speed up deliveries to the affected states. However, these declarations can only last 30 days at a time, creating uncertainty and limited relief.  The HHEATT Act provides a guaranteed extension of USDOT short-term emergency declarations until May 31, 2014.

“With looming propane shortages and over 12 million American relying on propane to heat their homes, it is simply un-American for Congress not to step-up address this issue,” said Congressman Ryan. “As we continue to see extremely low temperatures, it is imperative that we pass the HHEATT Act to help ensure that no American family is forced to go cold this winter.”

“This extremely cold winter is expected to continue, possibly threatening the lives and livelihoods of those with homes, farms, and businesses that depend on heat from propane and other home heating fuels. This bill will provide the certainty needed to give much needed relief to those who have been impacted by this shortage,” Chairman Shuster said. “The HHEATT Act will help provide relief from transportation issues that have slowed desperately needed fuel from reaching those who need it during this emergency.”

Under the HHEATT Act, should the propane and home heating fuels crisis subside prior to May 31, 2014, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation may determine that the extension of the emergency declarations is no longer needed.  The Secretary will make such a determination on a state-by-state basis and in consultation with the governors of affected states.