Iowa lawmakers seek solutions on propane crisis
DES MOINES — State lawmakers are working to find solutions to the propane shortage that hit Iowa last week and more than doubled prices for propane.
Last week, Rep. Curt Hanson of Fairfield joined other lawmakers in drafting a bill to provide emergency home heating assistance for low-income propane users.
“After we address the immediate crisis of Iowans keeping their homes warm for the rest of winter, we need to work together to prevent another crisis like this from hitting our state,” said Hanson. “We should explore expanding storage of propane so Iowans can lock in prices for storage and not get hit with price spikes in the middle of winter.”
Hanson joined other lawmakers and met with members of the propane industry at the State Capitol Monday to gather more information on the propane crisis and work to find a long-term solution.
Hanson questioned Jeff LaPan, an account manager for Propane CHS Inc., a wholesaler, what part of this crisis is caused by the exporting of propane. According to LaPan, the role of exports directly affects the inability to meet the current demands of the Midwest.
Also affecting the availability of propane was the closure of an important pipeline, increased grain drying demands, lack of adequate rail transportation and extremely cold weather.
LaPan called the shortage “a perfect storm” of adverse events.
Propane industry officials said they are working to improve and expedite distribution of propane as well as address infrastructure problems facing Iowans and fuel providers.