S. 2086, Reliable Home Heating Act

S. 2086

Reliable Home Heating Act

Sponsor
Sen. John Thune

Date
June 23, 2014 (113th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Monday, June 23, 2014, the House will consider S. 2086, the Reliable Home Heating Act, under a suspension of the rules.  S. 2086 was introduced on March 6, 2014 by Sen. John Thune (R-SD) and passed in the Senate, as amended, by unanimous consent.  S. 2086 was referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

Bill Summary

S. 2086 directs the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to exempt commercial motor vehicles that transport certain home heating fuel from certain regulations (for up to 90 days) in states where the governor has declared a state of emergency caused by a shortage of residential heating fuel.  Residential heating fuel is defined in the Act as heating oil, natural gas, and propane.  Moreover, this legislation requires the Administrator of the Energy Information Administration to notify the Governor of each State in a Petroleum Administration for Defense District if the inventory of residential heating fuel within a district has been below the most recent 5-year average for more than three consecutive weeks.  Finally, it requires the Secretary of Transportation to, within 12 months of enactment, report on the impacts of safety from the extensions issued by Governors.

Background

Due to the exceptionally cold conditions sustained across the United States this winter, demand for propane and other home heating fuels increased significantly (propane is used for heating in more than 12 million U.S. households).   Due to inadequate infrastructure, high-demand caused propane shortages throughout the winter.  As a result, the U.S. Department of Transportation issued emergency declarations to allow commercial truck operators to drive for longer hours to speed up deliveries to affected states.  However, these declarations only last for 30 days at a time, which creates uncertainty.  In early March, the House passed H.R. 4076, which provided a guaranteed extension of these declarations until May 31, 2014.  This legislation would provide governors with greater flexibility during emergencies, and would improve transparency and oversight of the exemption process.

Cost

CBO estimates that implementing this legislation would have no significant impact on the federal budget, and would not affect direct spending or revenues.[1]

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[1] http://www.cbo.gov/publication/45294

Additional Information

For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.