Traverse City Record-Eagle

Opinion

February 19, 2014

Another View: Don’t let propane crisis happen again

Many of our neighbors in the Upper Peninsula are facing a real crisis this winter, caused by both man and nature, the astronomical price hikes for propane are causing hardship across the country ...

Due to a shortage of propane, customers and dealers are having a hard time getting their hands on the fuel. Even when supplies are available, the high cost of propane is leaving it unaffordable to many residents. During one of the harshest and coldest U.P. winters in recent memory, that’s a dangerous combination.

(On Feb. 10) a delegation of state officials and elected representatives gathered in Escanaba to discuss how agencies are trying to help residents through the propane shortage. Their efforts have been admirable, and helpful. Gov. Rick Snyder just extended the State of Energy Emergency in Michigan until March 1. That allows people who deliver propane to work longer hours - hopefully increasing propane supplies. More monetary aid has also been made available to people who need help with their heating bills. Local agencies such as the Community Action Agency, St. Vincent de Paul Society and others are helping those who can’t pay their heating bills and are fielding a record number of requests.

We hope that those in need get the help they need and applaud those agencies and individuals that have stepped forward to help in difficult times. You are the backbone of the relief effort. We hope the sub-zero temperatures that have gripped the U.P. for so long give way to an early spring and some relief from heating costs.

When winter does end, this will be just a painful memory. There is, however, a bigger issue on the horizon. What have we learned from what has happened this winter? More important, what are the powers that be going to do to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

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