Thursday, January 23, 2014

Dewhurst Declares Polar Vortex Petroleum Emergency

Sweeping blasts of arctic temperatures are causing shortages of liquid petroleum gas.

The latest cold weather snap to spin off of the "polar vortex" brought extreme cold to the Midwest and Eastern United States. Record cold temperatures are expected ranging from south-central Texas to Georgia over the next 48 hours. Meteorologist predict another blast to bring another freeze in the beginning to middle of next week.

The harsher weather conditions are having an effect on liquid petroleum gas (LPG or "white gas") used for heating many homes, especially in southern states. This presents potential life-threatening emergency conditions as people will struggle to keep warm. The potential shortages will also drive up costs as supply will fail to meet demand. This will increase the costs, creating further hardships upon lower-income families in this currently depressed economy.

Several states have already declared emergency conditions to include LPG shortage emergencies. The governors of Iowa and Maine reached out to Governor Rick Perry's office, asking to have Texas declare the emergency conditions. Texas is one of the higher LPG producing states in the union. In declaring the state of emergency, Perry effectively waives certain state-level licensing and transportation regulations in order to assist affected states in acquiring much needed LPG.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, as acting governor, made the following proclamation, effective until Feb. 6, '14 unless renewed:

TO ALL TO WHOM THESE PRESENTS SHALL COME:

WHEREAS, extreme winter weather and cold temperatures throughout much of the United States have created a large demand for liquefied petroleum gas, and such conditions have resulted in a corresponding strain on liquefied petroleum gas resources outside the State of Texas;

WHEREAS, the United States Department of Transportation has declared emergencies in Eastern, Midwestern, and Southern states due to shortages and interruptions in the availability or delivery of propane and other home heating fuels;

WHEREAS, the following states have declared liquefied petroleum gas emergencies: Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wisconsin;

WHEREAS, the States of Iowa and Maine have requested that the State of Texas join them in declaring a liquefied petroleum gas emergency; and

WHEREAS, the State of Texas is the leading producer of liquefied petroleum gas in the nation, and Texas' liquefied petroleum gas resources and infrastructure allow the state to temporarily assist in alleviating the liquefied petroleum gas shortages in other states.

THEREFORE, in accordance with the authority vested in me by Section 113.083 of the Texas Natural Resources Code, I have determined the existence of a temporary shortage of liquefied petroleum gas in the above states, and I join the governors of those states in declaring a liquefied petroleum gas emergency.

Pursuant to this proclamation and Section 113.083(a) of the Texas Natural Resources Code, the State of Texas waives Texas licensing, permitting, and certification requirements regarding liquefied petroleum gas trucks and operators. This waiver applies only to liquefied petroleum gas trucks and operators meeting all certification, permitting, and licensing requirements of the federal government and another state whose governor has declared or declares a liquefied petroleum gas emergency.

All other legal requirements, including licensing, registration, insurance, and safety, remain in place.
This emergency declaration shall continue for 14 days from the date this proclamation is signed, unless renewed.

In accordance with the statutory requirements, copies of this proclamation shall be filed with the applicable authorities.

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have hereunto signed my name and have officially caused the Seal of State to be affixed at my office in the City of Austin, Texas, this the 22nd day of January, 2014.

DAVID DEWHURST
Lieutenant Governor
Acting as Governor of Texas

The pertinent Texas law and regulations cited by Dewhurst, Section 113.083 of the Texas Natural Resources Code, are as follows:


Sec. 113.083. LIQUEFIED PETROLEUM GAS EMERGENCY.
(a) In the event of a temporary statewide, regional, or local shortage of liquid petroleum gas in this state or another state, as determined under Subsection (b) of this section, LP gas trucks and operators meeting all certification, permitting, and licensing requirements of the federal government and another state whose governor has declared an LP gas emergency may transport LP gas in this state without having first obtained any license, permit, or certification ordinarily required under state law.

(b) The governor may determine the existence of a temporary statewide, regional, or local shortage of LP gas in this state or another state and on such a determination, the governor may join with the governor of any other state in declaring an LP gas emergency.

(c) The waiver of Texas licensing, permitting, and certification requirements regarding LP gas trucks and operators is valid only during the time of the emergency. An LP gas emergency may not continue for more than 14 days unless renewed by the governor.

Added by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., 1st C.S., ch. 9, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 29, 1991.
Bundle up, keep warm, cover your plants, bring your pets inside, turn water to a drip (to keep pipes from freezing), and make some Texas style chili for dinner.