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Propane shortage prompts Governor's emergency executive order for truckers


MADISON, Wis. (WSAU) - With cold weather setting in and crops being harvested, Wisconsin has an energy shortage. State officials say there isn’t enough propane gas available right now.

In fact, the propane can’t come into the market fast enough to fuel home and business furnaces, grain driers, and gas grills.

Governor Scott Walker declared an energy emergency, and ordered some temporary changes to the rules to allow propane tanker drivers to move more fuel between now and November 7th.

There are nine propane pipeline terminals in the midwest, but only three in Wisconsin at Superior, Owen, and Junction City. The short supply is causing truckers to wait long periods of time to get filled. In some cases, truckers are traveling as far as North Carolina to obtain the fuel.

The Governor’s emergency order does not suspend laws pertaining to the transportation of propane, but it does make some temporary allowances to certain Wisconsin and federal hours of service restrictions.

The temporary rules are extensive and very specific, so we’ve attached the complete copy of the Governor’s emergency proclamation below.

 (Issued Friday, 10/25/13)

Executive Order #120Governor Walker Issues Energy Emergency Executive Order to Allow Longer Transportation Hours for Propane Drivers Governor Scott Walker today approved an emergency declaration suspending the regulatory provisions pertaining to hours of service for drivers of commercial motor vehicles transporting propane. The order goes into effect immediately and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 7. The proclamation is as follows:EXECUTIVE ORDER #120 Relating to the Proclamation of an Energy Emergency WHEREAS, the health, welfare, and economic well-being of the citizens of Wisconsin depend on propane; and WHEREAS, the late agricultural harvest and unusually wet agricultural conditions throughout the Midwest have led to a significant increase in the demand for propane to dry grain throughout the Midwest; and WHEREAS, the corn harvest in Wisconsin is approximately thirty percent complete and crops are coming in at very high moisture levels requiring large amounts of propane for drying; and WHEREAS, the effects of the shortage are being further compounded by the demand now beginning for home heating fuel; and WHEREAS, adequate supplies of propane are necessary to continue normal agricultural harvesting and to provide residential heating to our citizens, particularly those in rural portions of the state; and WHEREAS, Wisconsin propane transport companies principally draw propane from terminals in Pine Bend, Inver Grove Heights, and Rosemount, MN; Janesville, Superior, Owen, and Junction City, WI; Rapid River, MI; and Rockford, IL; and WHEREAS, many of the above-listed terminals are either on allocation, loading off the pipeline, or completely out of propane; and WHEREAS, commercial motor vehicles transporting propane in our state are experiencing long wait lines at terminals and/or having to drive long distances (North Carolina, Kansas, Nebraska, and Missouri) to receive supply and deliver it back to Wisconsin; and WHEREAS, long lines at terminals throughout the area coupled with extensive driving distances have caused drivers to deplete available duty hours in accordance with federal motor carrier safety regulations; and WHEREAS, the limited suspension of certain hours of service regulations for drivers of commercial motor vehicles transporting propane in our state will increase the amount of propane transported throughout the state of Wisconsin, thereby reducing the damaging effects of this shortage; and WHEREAS, in light of the foregoing, propane transportation logistics may affect the health, welfare, and economic well-being of other consumers of propane, including businesses and residences with propane heating systems; and WHEREAS, allowing the transportation of propane within this state, in a safe manner and as described in this order, will benefit the citizens of Wisconsin; and WHEREAS, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration does not object to me exempting drivers of commercial motor vehicles transporting propane from the Wisconsin and federal hours of service restrictions in 49 C.F.R. Part 395 and Wis. Admin. Code Ch. Trans 327, and does not object to allowing this exemption to apply to the national system of interstate and defense highways; NOW, THEREFORE, I, SCOTT WALKER, Governor of the State of Wisconsin, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the Laws of this State, and specifically by sections 323.10 and 340.01(15s) of the Wisconsin statutes and sections 49 C.F.R. 390.23 and 390.25 of the Code of Federal Regulations, hereby declare the present shortage of propane to be a natural disaster and hereby proclaim the entire state of Wisconsin to be in a state of emergency for a period of thirteen (13) days, effective immediately and expiring at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, November 7, 2013, unless sooner terminated or extended in writing by me. Pursuant to that declaration, I do hereby order the following: Carriers and drivers of commercial motor vehicles while in the process of obtaining and transporting propane are exempted from Wisconsin and federal hours of service restrictions in 49 C.F.R. Part 395 and Wis. Admin. Code Chs. Trans 325 and 327. This exemption applies to all highways in Wisconsin, including the national system of interstate and defense highways. No motor carrier operating under the terms of this emergency declaration shall require or allow an ill or fatigued driver to operate a motor vehicle. A driver who notifies a motor carrier that he or she needs immediate rest shall be given at least ten (10) consecutive hours off-duty before the driver is required to return to service. Upon request of a driver, a commercial motor carrier operating under this proclamation must give a driver at least thirty-four (34) consecutive hours off when the driver has been on duty for more than seventy (70) hours during any eight consecutive days. Upon the expiration of the effective date of this proclamation, or when a driver has been relieved of all duty and responsibility to provide direct assistance to the emergency effort, a driver that has had at least thirty-four (34) consecutive hours off duty shall be permitted to start his or her on-duty status hours and 60/70 hour clock at zero. This order does not suspend the operation of any state or federal laws within the state of Wisconsin except as specifically described in the order. All other laws remain in full force and will be enforced. This order does not authorize any person transporting propane to exceed any statutory vehicle weight, width, length, or height limit. This order does not authorize the use of unregistered or improperly registered vehicles. Vehicles registered in other jurisdictions and not entitled to reciprocity, or not registered for use in Wisconsin through the International Registration Plan, must obtain a permit as provided in section 341.41 of the Wisconsin statues. Motor carriers transporting propane for hire must have proper authority to operate in this state, as provided by section 194.04 of the Wisconsin statutes, and must meet the insurance requirements of section 194.41 or 194.42 of the Wisconsin statutes. Carriers must satisfy all ordinarily operative federal and Wisconsin requirements concerning vehicle equipment, vehicle operations, and driver qualifications and conduct. IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of Wisconsin to be affixed. Done at the Capitol in the City of Madison this twenty-fifth day of October, in the year two thousand thirteen. SCOTT WALKER Governor