In a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) sent today, Gov. Doug Burgum underscored the severity of North Dakota’s propane distribution and supply issue and requested that the FERC take further action to increase the supply of propane to the state.
Burgum thanked the FERC for its announcement earlier today that it would initiate an alternative dispute resolution process to address the propane shortage that several states across the Midwest are experiencing. He urged the commission to take any action necessary to increase the supply to North Dakota, citing the significant need among the agricultural industry for propane to facilitate the drying of an unusually moist corn crop.
“As farmers are bringing their crop in from the field, the lack of propane is causing a delay in drying the crop for storage. These challenges have also resulted in concerns for livestock producers seeing a reduced supply of silage for feedstock,” Burgum said. “The propane shortage and the quadrupling of supply costs add to an already challenging year.”
Following a delayed spring planting and a late fall harvest season exacerbated by record rainfall, low temperatures and early snowfall, the corn crop across much of the state has a higher moisture content and requires propane-fueled drying to avoid spoilage. The U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service reported that as of Nov. 18, only 23 percent of North Dakota’s corn crop has been harvested, compared to the five-year average of 85 percent. The high volume of corn remaining to be harvested is expected to compound the current shortage.
Burgum has recently issued two Executive Orders to ease the hours of service regulations for propane and petroleum product transporters, and weight limit restrictions to allow vehicles transporting hay and livestock products to be oversize and overweight. He thanked the Federal Motor Carriers Association (FMCSA) today for amending their regional emergency declaration to include North Dakota, granting regulatory relief to commercial motor vehicle operations directly assisting states affected by the shortage of heating oil products. Other affected state included in the declaration are Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin.