NPR Story
10:10 am
Fri January 31, 2014

Propane Crisis Prompts Oklahoma Dems to Ask Fallin for Relief From Rainy Day Fund

PropaneHeatPic

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For the 400,000 or so Oklahomans who rely on propane for home heating and food preparation, it’s been a rough few weeks.

Propane prices are skyrocketing — from a nationwide average of $2.76 in late December to more than $4 as of Friday, January 31.

Now, Democrats in the Oklahoma House of Representatives are calling on Gov. Mary Fallin to use money from the state’s Rainy Day Fund to help those most affected by the crisis.

“This is about survival for [rural Oklahomans],” Rep. James Lockhart, D-Heavener, says is a press release. “We have been diligent in putting away state funds for emergencies, and I can assure you that our low-income citizens and the elderly believe this propane shortage is an emergency.”

The press release goes on to say there’s more than half a billion dollars in the Constitutional Reserve — better known as the Rainy Day Fund — and it’s right to use it now, just as it was right to use the fund to help those impacted by tornadoes.

StateImpact earlier reported on the reasons behind the propane shortage, which included a particularly cold winter, pipeline maintenance, and a higher demand for propane in the fall due to a wet corn crop. But Democratic leader Scott Inman says selling too much propane overseas is also to blame.

He says Democrats will offer a resolution to authorize the use of Rainy Day funds when the next session of the Oklahoma Legislature begins next week.

Copyright 2014 StateImpact Oklahoma. To see more, visit http://stateimpact.npr.org/oklahoma/.