Reynolds to FERC: Iowa faces propane crisis!

DES MOINES – Today, Gov. Kim Reynolds reached out to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Chairman Neil Chatterjee concerning the propane supply issue in Iowa and the devastating impact it’s having on the fall harvest and ag economy as a whole.

The text of the letter can be found below:

November 15, 2019
The Honorable Neil Chatterjee, Chairman
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
888 First Street NE
Washington, DC 20426

Dear Chairman Chatterjee,

We face an emergency in the state of Iowa. Our state is experiencing a severe propane distribution and supply issue that is putting our agriculture industry, and the state’s economy at grave risk. I write today to urge you and the other members of the Commission to take any action necessary to increase the amount of propane in the pipelines to Iowa. 

The state of Iowa has experienced record-breaking spring flooding which led to delayed planting of corn, soybeans and other crops across the state. This has resulted in a delayed harvest season, exacerbated by record rainfall, low temperatures and early snowfall. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that as of November 12, only 64 percent of Iowa’s corn crop has been harvested. This is well behind the 5-year average of 86 percent for this time of year. Of corn being harvested, the statewide average moisture content is 20 percent, meaning that corn will have to be dried down to avoid spoilage. We estimate it will take nearly 85 million gallons of propane to dry the 935 million bushels of corn still in the field. 

Moreover, the state of Iowa leads the nation in pork and egg production, with nearly 25 million pigs in Iowa and over 55 million chickens. During the unseasonably cold weather we are experiencing already in November, our producers rely on propane as a heat source to keep livestock and poultry safe, comfortable, and healthy. Our producers are facing one of the most difficult seasons since 2009, on top of ongoing trade uncertainty, and declining farm income. This adds to an already challenging year. 

Beyond this, propane is necessary to provide residential heating to our citizens, particularly those in rural portions of the state. The effects of this propane crisis are being felt now, and immediate action is necessary to prevent this situation from becoming a greater risk to human life. These conditions threaten the peace, health, and safety of the citizens of Iowa and its agriculture industry. 

Over the last two weeks, my office has led efforts to address this challenge. I have signed two Proclamations of Disaster Emergency to ease the hours of service regulations for propane transporters, and weight limit restrictions to allow vehicles transporting propane to be oversize and overweight. We have led conference calls with commodity groups, state legislators, Iowa congressional staff, the Iowa propane gas association, farmers, retailers and other industry stakeholders to discuss solutions and better understand the extent of the issue. I can tell you with certainty that the state of Iowa is facing an emergency with a lack of propane making its way to Iowa. Farmers are unable to dry their harvested crops, propane retailers are unable to supply families and businesses with needed propane, and our livestock industry stands at imminent risk of going without heat.

I urge you to take any action necessary to increase the amount of propane in the pipelines to Iowa. Thank you for the opportunity to write this letter and for your urgent consideration of my request. 

Respectfully submitted, 

Kim Reynolds, Governor
State of Iowa

Over the last two weeks, Gov. Reynolds signed two Proclamations of Disaster Emergency to ease the hours of service regulations for propane transporters, and weight limit restrictions to allow vehicles transporting propane to be oversize and overweight.

Her staff have led communications with commodity groups, state legislators, Iowa congressional staff, the Iowa propane gas association, farmers, retailers and other industry stakeholders to discuss solutions and better understand the extent of the issue.