U.S. House acts to ease propane shortage in the Midwest
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02) applauds House passage of H.R. 4076, the Home Heating Emergency Assistance Through Transportation (HHEATT) Act of 2014. This bipartisan, commonsense legislation guarantees the extension of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s emergency declaration and waiver of hours of service limitations until May 31, 2014. This will allow the rapid delivery of much-needed propane and home heating fuels throughout the Midwest.
Unusually harsh winter weather and propane distribution challenges have led to a shortage resulting in record-high propane prices. In Indiana’s Second District, over 17,000 homes depend on propane as a fuel source.
“As frigid temperatures and winter storms persist, affordable, reliable energy is crucial for Hoosier families who should not be forced to choose between heating their homes and putting food on the kitchen table. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to find long-term solutions to our nation’s energy distribution challenges,” said Walorski, who is an original cosponsor of the HHEATT Act.
In January, Walorski led a letter, along with other Hoosier lawmakers, to Secretary Anthony Foxx requesting an emergency extension exempting motor carriers from hours of service limitations. The U.S. DOT declared a state of emergency on January 14, 2014; however, the emergency exemption expired on March 1, 2014.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02) joined Chairman Bill Shuster to introduce H.R. 4076, the “Home Heating Emergency Assistance Through Transportation Act of 2014,” to guarantee the extension of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s emergency declaration until May 31, 2014. The emergency declaration waives hours of service limitations to enable the rapid delivery of much-needed propane and home heating fuels throughout the Midwest.
Extreme winter weather has led to an increase in demand for propane, which is used to heat over 17,000 homes in Indiana’s Second District. The increase in demand combined with distribution challenges have led to record high propane costs in the Midwest.
“As propane costs soar, Hoosier families should not be forced to choose between heating their home and putting food on the kitchen table, which is why I am proud to cosponsor the HHEATT Act of 2014,” said Walorski. “The HHEATT Act will help ensure Hoosier families and small businesses have access to reasonably priced propane for the remainder of the winter.”
Earlier this month, Walorski led a letter, along with other Hoosier lawmakers, to Secretary Anthony Foxx requesting an emergency extension exempting motor carriers from hours of service limitations. The U.S. DOT declared a state of emergency on January 14, 2014 that would have expired on February 11, 2014, but the U.S. DOT recently extended the emergency exemption until March 1, 2014.
Federal officials extend State Emergency Declaration for Midwest through March 1st
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02) today welcomed news from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) that the State of Emergency Declaration for the Midwest will be extended until March 1, 2014, enabling the continued delivery of much-needed propane and home-heating supplies for Hoosier families during frigid weather.
“Bitter cold temperatures and winter weather are taking a toll on Hoosier families and businesses this year,” said Walorski. “I am pleased that federal officials have responded quickly to make sure propane and home-heating supplies are readily available for consumers until this cold weather subsides.”
Last Wednesday, Walorski led a letter, along with other Hoosier lawmakers, to Secretary Anthony Foxx requesting an emergency extension exempting motor carriers from hours of service limitations to enable the delivery of much-needed propane and home heating fuels throughout the Midwest.
The U.S. DOT declared a state of emergency on January 14, 2014 that was only effective until February 11, 2014. Hoosier lawmakers requested an extension be expedited if harsh winter conditions continued to ensure there is no disruption to delivery assistance for Hoosier families.
Congresswoman Jackie Walorski and Hoosier lawmakers sent a letter to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today requesting an emergency extension to exempt motor carriers from hours of service limitations to enable the delivery of much-needed propane and home heating fuels throughout the Midwest during the severe winter weather.
“We have heard from many distributors and customers in Indiana who have been directly impacted by this shortage. As additional winter storms and unusually low temperatures continue to impact the Hoosier state, the situation is becoming critical,” wrote lawmakers.
On January 14, 2014, the U.S. Department of Transportation declared a state of emergency for the Midwest, waiving hours of service limitations to ensure consumers can steadily receive home heating fuels that remain in unusually high demand. The exemption is set to expire on February 11, 2014, but lawmakers are requesting an extension beyond February 11 if necessary to ensure there is no disruption to delivery assistance for Hoosiers. Due to a variety of factors ranging from seasonal weather patterns to distribution challenges, upper Midwest propane inventories are already low.
The State of Indiana has also issued an emergency proclamation waiving hours of service limitations for propane transporters that remains in effect until January 31, 2014. Federal action would ensure that an emergency exemption stays in place across the Midwest until arctic temperatures subside and are less threatening to Hoosier families.
Full Text of Letter:
January 29, 2014
The Honorable Anthony Foxx
U.S. Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20590
Dear Secretary Foxx,
We appreciate your efforts to address the propane distribution challenges that have resulted in a propane shortage throughout the Midwest. The emergency declaration issued by the Department of Transportation on January 19, 2014 to exempt motor carriers from hours of service limitations will enable the delivery of much-needed supplies throughout the Midwest as quickly as possible.
As you know, the emergency exemption ends at 11:59 p.m. Central Standard Time on February 11, 2014. We are writing to ask that you continue to closely monitor this situation and extend the exemption without delay should this shortage continue beyond February 11.
We have heard from many distributors and customers in Indiana who have been directly impacted by this shortage. As additional winter storms and unusually low temperatures continue to impact the Hoosier state, the situation is becoming critical.
We know you share our desire to assist the many Americans impacted by this shortage and understand the need to act rapidly to ensure this situation is remedied as quickly as possible. Thank you for your continued attention to this matter. We look forward to your reply.
Rep. Jackie Walorski
Sen. Dan Coats
Rep. Susan W. Brooks
Rep. Larry Bucshon, M.D.
Rep. Luke Messer
Rep. Todd Rokita
Rep. Marlin Stutzman
Rep. Todd Young
Congresswoman co-sponsors the Electricity Security and Affordability Act to set achievable energy standards for coal-fired power plants
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Jackie Walorski announced her support for the Electricity Security and Affordability Act (H.R. 3826), a bipartisan bill she co-sponsored to require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set achievable standards for coal-fired power plants and support energy independence.
“In the heart of winter, Hoosiers remain concerned with costly utility bills,” said Congresswoman Walorski. “The proposed EPA regulations are bound to increase energy costs and stifle economic growth, making it harder to run our households and businesses. This bill provides a commonsense alternative that would allow us to be good stewards of the environment, support job creation, and ensure power plants can safely achieve their full potential.”
The Energy Security and Affordability Act was introduced in response to sweeping EPA regulations that could effectively prohibit the creation of new coal-fired power plants by setting impractical carbon capture and storage standards for greenhouse gas emissions H.R. 3826 offers a reasonable alternative to the EPA’s overreaching regulations, requiring that any greenhouse gas standards set by the EPA for new coal-fired plants can also be achieved by existing commercial power plants. The bill prohibits the EPA from enacting any rules for existing power plants unless Congress passes an enactment date into law.
In the Hoosier state, coal currently provides more than 80 percent of electricity for utilities, businesses, and manufacturing. Purdue University released a report in December stating that Indiana energy prices are expected to rise 32 percent by 2023 due in part to proposed EPA regulations. This increase could have a devastating impact on economic growth and job creation, particularly for highly energy-intensive industries like manufacturing. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, Elkhart County was recently ranked first in the nation in job growth due in part to the addition of over 5,000 new manufacturing jobs.
Walorski has co-sponsored numerous bills to lower energy prices and increase job creation in pursuit of safe, affordable energy independence—including the GAS Act and approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline. Congresswoman Walorski also plans to send a bipartisan letter to the EPA requesting a comment period extension for the EPA’s proposed rule on new power plants to allow all stakeholders adequate time to share their views and concerns.
The Electricity Security and Affordability Act continues to be marked up today in the Energy and Power Subcommittee. Congressman Ed Whitfield (R-KY) and Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) formally introduced this bipartisan, bicameral legislation last Thursday.
WASHINGTON, D.C.- This week, the House of Representatives passed three bill to address energy needs, lower energy costs, and create more jobs for American families. Congresswoman Jackie Walorski voted for each measure as part of her continued efforts to create more jobs, move toward energy independence, and eliminate overreaching federal regulations.
“This week, the House advanced commonsense energy bills to create more jobs. Times are still tough for many families, but there are certain steps we can take to create jobs and reduce energy costs using our own available resources. As we approach the holidays and prepare for winter weather, Hoosiers deserve to know that Congress is proactively passing bills that will help lower their heating bills and get people back to work,” said Walorski.
Summary of House Passed Bills:
The Federal Lands Jobs and Energy Security Act (H.R. 1965): Reduces government red tape, streamlines regulations, and promotes onshore development of oil, natural gas, and renewable energy.
The Protecting States’ Rights to Promote American Energy Security Act (H.R. 2728): Limits the Administration’s ability to impose duplicative federal regulations on hydraulic fracturing in any state that already has hydraulic fracturing regulations. This bipartisan legislation allows states to regulate this type of energy production while still permitting the federal government to issue baseline standards for hydraulic fracturing in states where no regulations exist.
The Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act (H.R. 1900): Provides Americans families with access to affordable energy by expediting infrastructure expansion and modernizing the gas pipeline approval process while ensuring environmental safeguards remain in place.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – During a press conference today, Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02) joined lawmakers to discuss the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recently proposed greenhouse gas standards for new fossil fuel-fired power plants and the impact these regulations will have on electricity consumers and the economy.
“Nearly 90 percent of Indiana’s electricity is generated by coal, and Hoosier families will be hard-hit if the EPA enforces these unreasonable standards,” said Walorski, a member of the Congressional Coal Caucus. “This Administration’s war on coal stunts job growth and makes it even more difficult for Americans to pay their bills and make ends meet. As the EPA continues to unroll its anti-coal agenda, I am deeply concerned energy prices will skyrocket. I urge the White House to explore commonsense policies to protect the environment while fostering energy dependence at home.”
Last month, in her continued efforts to keep energy prices low and support the production of fossil fuels, Walorski supported a bipartisan, House-passed amendment to prevent the White House from enacting a carbon tax without congressional approval.
In the coming weeks, Walorski plans to send a letter to the EPA requesting an extension of the comment period for the proposed rule in order to provide ample time for stakeholders to share their concerns and opinions.
Congresswoman co-sponsors the Gas Accessibility and Stabilization Act
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Coming off another summer of high gas prices, Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02) teamed up with Congressmen Lee Terry (NE-02) and Bob Latta (OH-05) to reintroduce the Gas Accessibility and Stabilization (GAS) Act (H.R.2823) in the House of Representatives.
“When I speak with Hoosiers at home, I constantly hear from concerned moms and dads about high prices at the pump,” said Walorski. “It is unfair for hardworking families to constantly worry about unpredictable spikes each time they pull into the gas station. This commonsense legislation will help stabilize gas prices by extending flexibility and waiving onerous mandates contributing to high fuel prices.”
The GAS Act would help lower gas prices by expanding the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ability to waive fuel mandates. Currently, the EPA requires different blends of gasoline to be sold in different parts of the country, which can complicate the supply chain and drive up prices when fuel is in short supply–which is exactly what happened in Indiana this summer.
“We continue to operate in an environment in which the fuel required in one market may not satisfy the requirement set by the EPA in another market,” said Rep. Terry. “EPA fuel standards are different across the country. If our fuel supplies are disrupted from a natural disaster or simple equipment failure, consumers can and usually do face higher prices at the pump.”
Expanding the EPA’s waiver authority will allow retailers to use whatever fuel they have on hand during periods of supply disruption, reducing gas price spikes and protecting consumers’ wallets. If the EPA fails to respond to a community’s waiver request within three days, the waiver would be automatically granted.
“This summer Indiana hit a record high average price, with some motorists paying over $4 dollars per gallon. It is time for Congress to proactively address fuel prices to ease pain at the pump and move our country toward energy independence, and I am pleased to work with Rep. Terry on this important initiative,” said Walorski.
The GAS Act would also require the EPA and Department of Energy to conduct a study of the long-term impact EPA’s varied fuel blend requirements will have on gas prices, supply, and reliability. An identical version of the GAS Act was introduced in the Senate last July, supported by Senator Dan Coats (R-IN).
House Bill Protects Jobs, the Environment
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House today passed the Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act of 2013 (H.R. 2218), a bill co-sponsored by Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02). This legislation makes states the primary regulator and issuer of coal ash permits, as long as they meet the minimum federal requirements provided in the bill. By setting federal standards and permitting states to respond to local needs, this bill allows states to effectively protect the environment and provide cost-effective management of coal ash.
“This commonsense bill reigns in overreaching Environmental Protection Agency regulations and creates a state-based program with reasonable standards for coal ash that will protect jobs, health, and the environment,” said Walorski. “I am proud to co-sponsor this bill to provide states with regulatory authority and prevent Washington from spending billions of our tax dollars on unnecessary plans that put thousands of jobs at risk and perpetuate economic uncertainty.”
Coal combustion residuals, also called coal ash, are materials produced when coal is burned to generate electricity. Coal ash is used in wallboard, roofing materials, concrete, cement, and other products used in highway and building construction. The purpose of the bill is to designate states as the primary regulator of coal ash, instead of the EPA, and set minimal federal standards. States will be required to certify compliance with specific federal standards, ensuring proper environmental protections are met. This bill is broadly supported by Hoosiers and more than 200 national organizations.
WASHINGTON, D.C.- Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02) today announced her support for two energy bills passed in the House this week, the Offshore Energy and Jobs Act, H.R. 2231, and the Outer Continental Shelf Transboundary Hydrocarbon Agreements Authorization Act, H.R. 1613.
“American families want Congress to pass commonsense solutions to lower prices at the pump and in grocery stores,” said Walorski. “I supported both measures to create thousands of jobs, strengthen national security, and move our country toward energy independence.”
These bills open areas in the Outer Continental Shelf to the development of oil and gas resources and approve an agreement reached between the United States and Mexico to allow energy exploration in the U.S.-Mexico boundary waters. By removing government barriers currently blocking development, the United States can move forward with energy production from our own resources. Under the Obama Administration, 85 percent of our offshore areas are currently off-limits to energy production.
“The House plans offer smart proposals to safely tap into our natural resources and expand energy production, putting Americans back to work. Our legislation stands in stark contrast to the President’s anti-coal, anti-job announcement earlier this week, promising to increase energy prices and burden American businesses,” said Walorski.