Office of the Governor of Iowa

Governor Branstad


Propane Shortage and Heating Assistance Webpage

Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

Low-income Iowans may be eligible for assistance with their energy bills, through the LIHEAP program. Individuals can go to their local Community Action Agency to apply. Income requirements and guidelines are available online or via the Department of Human Rights at 515-281-0859.

On Thursday, January 30, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a second LIHEAP appropriation of $7,419,062 to the State of Iowa.

Reductions in Regulatory Burdens to Propane Transport

The U.S Department of Transportation established a regional emergency declaration suspending the regulatory provisions pertaining to hours of service for drivers of commercial motor vehicles transporting propane to affected Midwest states, including Iowa, through 11:59 PM on March 1, 2014. The federal emergency proclamation may be found here.

This Federal declaration follows similar hours of service declarations from Gov. Branstad.

Texas Extends Emergency Declaration allowing more transport of LP through Feb. 18. 2014


US DOT EXTENDS STATE OF EMERGENCY DECLARATIONS

The U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will announce announced February 5, 2014, that as a result of the extreme cold weather conditions causing shortages in the availability of propane and other home heating fuels, the Agency will today issue extensions of the State Emergency Declarations for the Midwest, Western, Southern, and Eastern regions of the country.  These Regional Declarations will provide relief for commercial vehicle operations while providing assistance supporting the delivery of propane during the emergency.  The declarations are effective until March 1, 2014.

Energy and Cost Saving Tips

Iowans who use propane can take the following steps and actions:

  • Turn down thermostats five to ten degrees to conserve energy as much as possible
  • If you have a propane hot water heater, reduce hot water usage when possible
  • Reduce stove use if you have a propane stove
  • Do not heat any rooms or building that do not have to be heated

Safety Tips

  • Check on your neighbors, especially the elderly during this time.
  • Call 911 during an emergency only
  • Make sure portable space heaters have an automatic shut-off
  • Turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to sleep
  • Constantly monitor all space heaters
  • Use space heaters in good condition that have proper cords and wires
  • Place the heaters on a level, hard, non-flammable surface and do not place the heaters on rugs or carpets or near bedding or drapes
  • Use heaters that have been tested to the latest safety standards
  • Maintain a 3 foot clearance around the space heater at all times
  • The use of a kitchen stove/oven is not recommended for home heating
  • Make sure there are working smoke detectors/carbon monoxide detectors

Actions taken by Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Reynolds

  • On January 27, 2014, Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Reynolds wrote President Obama requesting the federal government to provide flexibilities in the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and ease state transport regulations.
  • On January 22, 2014, Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Reynolds called Texas officials and asked for regulatory transport relief which was granted on January 22, 2014 which was granted on January 22, 2014.
  • The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the Governor’s Office continue to actively monitor propane supplies and prices.
  • Gov. Branstad issued an emergency declaration to ease propane transport within the State of Iowa on October 25, 2013, the declaration has been and will be extended further as needed.
  • During the week of January 20th, 2014, the Governor’s Office asked the Midwest Governor’s Association to drive collaboration across state lines.
  • The Iowa Department of Homeland Security Emergency Management Department is in contact with local emergency managers to actively monitor the situation in counties and communities across the State, especially rural Iowa.
  • Governor Branstad has personally called Secretary Moniz from the U.S. Department of Energy and Secretary Foxx from the U.S. Department of Transportation to ease propane hours of service and interstate weight transport regulations until prices and supply have stabilized.
  • On January 30, 2014, Governor Branstad organized a call with Governor Perry and other Midwesterner governors to discuss ongoing propane challenges and discuss possible additional actions.
  • Directed State agencies and departments to decrease their use of propane
  • Gov. Branstad, six other Midwest Governors, send letter to President Obama urging action to ease burden of propane shortage

Resources

U.S. Department of Energy

Iowa Propane Gas Association

Iowa Department of Agriculture – Propane

Iowa Attorney General’s Office

Federal Trade Commission

U.S. Energy Information Administration

Relevant news

Governor Branstad and Lt. Gov. Reynolds send a letter to President Obama:

Branstad, Reynolds applaud Texas officials, US DOT for assisting Midwest during propane shortage

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds today applauded Texas officials, including Gov. Rick Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, for waiving Texas licensing, permitting and certification requirements regarding liquefied petroleum gas trucks and operators. The action by Perry and Dewhurst will help expedite the transport of propane to Midwest states during the frigid winter months.

“After asking Texas officials yesterday for the waiver, I was pleased to learn of their quick action to assist Iowans and Midwest states with the shortage of propane,” said Branstad.

Branstad and Reynolds spoke to Gov. Perry and Lt. Gov. Dewhurst’s staff yesterday by phone and asked that Texas consider waiving the requirements. Lt. Gov. Dewhurst signed the proclamation as Gov. Perry is out of the country.

“Governor Perry and Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst’s willingness to help Iowans is tremendous and the impact is very helpful,” said Reynolds. “This action will help propane suppliers keep up with the demand.”

In addition, the governor and lt. governor were pleased to learn the U.S. Department of Transportation established a regional emergency declaration suspending the regulatory provisions pertaining to hours of service for drivers of commercial motor vehicles transporting propane to affected Midwest states, including Iowa, through 11:59 P.M. on February 11, 2014. The federal emergency proclamation may be found here.

The language of the Texas proclamation may be found here and below:

TO ALL TO WHOM THESE PRESENTS SHALL COME:

WHEREAS, extreme winter weather and cold temperatures throughout much of the United States have created a large demand for liquefied petroleum gas, and such conditions have resulted in a corresponding strain on liquefied petroleum gas resources outside the State of Texas;

WHEREAS, the United States Department of Transportation has declared emergencies in Eastern, Midwestern, and Southern states due to shortages and interruptions in the availability or delivery of propane and other home heating fuels;

WHEREAS, the following states have declared liquefied petroleum gas emergencies: Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wisconsin;

WHEREAS, the States of Iowa and Maine have requested that the State of Texas join them in declaring a liquefied petroleum gas emergency; and

WHEREAS, the State of Texas is the leading producer of liquefied petroleum gas in the nation, and Texas’ liquefied petroleum gas resources and infrastructure allow the state to temporarily assist in alleviating the liquefied petroleum gas shortages in other states.

THEREFORE, in accordance with the authority vested in me by Section 113.083 of the Texas Natural Resources Code, I have determined the existence of a temporary shortage of liquefied petroleum gas in the above states, and I join the governors of those states in declaring a liquefied petroleum gas emergency.

Pursuant to this proclamation and Section 113.083(a) of the Texas Natural Resources Code, the State of Texas waives Texas licensing, permitting, and certification requirements regarding liquefied petroleum gas trucks and operators. This waiver applies only to liquefied petroleum gas trucks and operators meeting all certification, permitting, and licensing requirements of the federal government and another state whose governor has declared or declares a liquefied petroleum gas emergency.

All other legal requirements, including licensing, registration, insurance, and safety, remain in place.

This emergency declaration shall continue for 14 days from the date this proclamation is signed, unless renewed.

In accordance with the statutory requirements, copies of this proclamation shall be filed with the applicable authorities.

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have hereunto signed my name and have officially caused the Seal of State to be affixed at my office in the City of Austin, Texas, this the 22nd day of January, 2014.

DAVID DEWHURST
Lieutenant Governor

Acting as Governor of Texas


HHS releases additional $454 million to help hard-working families and seniors stay warm

January 30, 2014

In order to help many Americans who struggle to heat their homes during record cold temperatures this winter, the Administration for Children and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is making available $454 million in support of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

In November, HHS released $2.9 billion in LIHEAP funding while awaiting action on the final Fiscal Year 2014 appropriations.  With the passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014 this month, HHS is now making available this additional $454 million to states, territories, tribes and the District of Columbia to help households with their heating and home energy costs.

LIHEAP assists households across the country, including families with children and seniors, with their home energy needs such as heating in the winter, cooling their homes in the summer and insulating their homes to make them more energy efficient and reduce their energy costs.

View the complete list of funds available to states today.

Individuals interested in applying for energy assistance should contact their local/state LIHEAP agency.

Please visit the LIHEAP site or read the LIHEAP brochure in English or Spanish to get more information.

Gov. Branstad  declared a proclamation of disaster and energy emergency due to the record high demand for propane throughout the upper Midwest on January 31, 2014. View the press release and disaster declaration here or below:

WHEREAS, because of extreme low temperatures, high winds, high demand for propane during a late harvest season, and record high demand for propane throughout the upper Midwest portions of the United States, the demand for propane in Iowa is at an all-time high within the state of Iowa; and

WHEREAS, as a result, citizens throughout the State of Iowa are at risk of losing access to propane for purposes of heating their homes, thereby creating a significant risk of imminent harm to their personal health and safety and creating an energy emergency within our state; and

WHEREAS, this energy emergency threatens the peace, health, and safety of citizens of the State of Iowa and provide legal justification for the issuance of a Proclamation of a State of Disaster and Energy Emergency pursuant to Iowa Code § 29C.6(1); and

WHEREAS, these propane shortages have been of a continuing nature and have required me to issue two prior Proclamations of Disaster Emergency, one on December 18, 2013 and a second on January 10, 2014, in order to temporarily waive certain hour of service requirements under Iowa Code § 321.449 for the drivers of commercial motor vehicles transporting propane.  This was done to speed the transport of needed propane throughout the state of Iowa.  Despite these prior efforts the risks to Iowa homeowners remain significant and unabated.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, TERRY E. BRANSTAD, Governor of the State of Iowa, by the power and authority vested in me by the Iowa Constitution Art. IV, §§ 1, 8 and Iowa Code § 29C.6(1), and all other applicable laws, do hereby proclaim a State of Disaster Emergency and ENERGY EMERGENCY for the entire state of Iowa, and do further specifically ORDER and DIRECT the following:

SECTION One.  As required by Iowa Code § 29C.6(1), (10) and 42 U.S.C. § 5170 in cases of Presidential Disaster Declarations, this Proclamation of Disaster Emergency activates the disaster response and recovery aspect of the Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department’s Iowa Emergency Response Plan and those additional response plans applicable to the counties affected by this disaster and authorizes the use and deployment of all available state resources, supplies, equipment, and materials as are reasonably necessary to assist those citizens located in the disaster county.

SECTION Two. This State of Disaster Emergency and ENERGY EMERGENCY shall be effective immediately, shall continue for thirty (30) days, and shall expire on March 2, 2014, at 11:59 p.m., unless sooner terminated or extended in writing by me. Iowa Code § 29C.6(1).

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have hereunto subscribed my name and caused the Great Seal of the State of Iowa to be affixed at Des Moines, Iowa this thirty-first day of January in the year of our Lord Two Thousand Fourteen.

________________________________
TERRY E. BRANSTAD

GOVERNOR

CNN Money: Iowa calls for action on propane shortage

U.S. Department of Transportation, Energy reply to Gov. Branstad’s letters

FERC Acts to Help Alleviate Propane Shortages in Midwest, Northeast

Bill NORTHEY COMMENDS THE FEDERAL ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION FOR ACTIONS TO ADDRESS PROPANE SHORTAGE