Lawmakers respond to propane shortage

Jan 29, 2014

With the state's return to a deep freeze, the governor and several lawmakers are responding to the shortage of propane in Illinois. Although there is enough propane to go around nationwide -- the problem has been getting it to where it's needed most.  Governor Pat Quinn declared a "propane emergency" on Monday. An executive order lets truck drivers avoid fees and taxes usually required to transport propane. For the propane that is available, the cost has skyrocketed. State Senator Dale Righter says he's heard from constituents forced into tough decisions.

 "Does that mean I don't fill up my tank as much as I otherwise would? Or do we set the thermostat at 55 and pile a lot of blankets on the kids' beds?"

 Righter, a Republican from Mattoon, is part of a bipartisan group of lawmakers pushing emergency legislation. It would ease the cost of propane for low-income families.About 40 percent of homes in Illinois are heated by propane.