Traverse City Record-Eagle

Other Views

February 25, 2014

Another View: Response to propane shortage more than adequate

As Michigan has joined many of its neighboring states in struggling through a difficult propane shortage this winter, the administration of Gov. Rick Snyder seems to have been particularly responsive.

Snyder has combined several state agencies into a collaborative responding to the situation on several fronts, producing effective results. Representatives from the collaborative recently traveled to the centrally-located Escanaba area to assess ... progress ... Snyder contacted local media to discuss the measures he’s taken with the help of the collaborative or the state Legislature to address the problem. Snyder also urged federal officials, including President Barack Obama, to take action on the issue.

Snyder and members of the collaborative provided information for the public to make sure residents knew about available funding to aid low-income residents, veterans and propane suppliers in purchasing propane. They have also worked to increase supplies to the area from other parts of the country and the state attorney general’s office was promptly investigating reports of propane price gouging.

The clear message the Snyder administration was trying to convey, especially in an election year, was that the governor was on the job. That’s great. When a crisis occurs that’s exactly where the state’s chief executive should be, as close to what’s occurring as possible. About the only thing we didn’t see was Snyder filling a propane tank in the backyard of a thankful homeowner.

This effort is especially welcomed considering the area most prominently affected by the skyrocketing prices resulting from the low supplies is the Upper Peninsula, an area with a relatively small number of constituents and a place situated a considerable distance from Lansing. About 9 percent, or 300,000 households, in Michigan heat their homes primarily with propane.

Snyder has responded favorably in previous perilous situations in the region involving floods and fire. However this situation — perhaps because it is occurring during the deep dead of one of the coldest winters in our recent past — appears to be more demanding of a thorough response, especially given the potential ability for the shortage to affect a large number of the U.P.’s most vulnerable citizens.

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