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Tony Evers declares 'energy emergency' due to propane demand
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Tony Evers declares 'energy emergency' due to propane demand

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Propane fuel

Roush CleanTech Vice President Todd Mouw stands beside a propane refueling station in Livonia, Mich. 

Gov. Tony Evers on Wednesday declared an energy emergency in the state amid heightened demand for propane due to a late corn harvest and the onset of cold weather.

The energy emergency, which the governor declared via executive order, is intended to ensure the delivery of propane across Wisconsin by exempting commercial truck drivers transporting propane from federal and state restrictions on the hours they can drive.

Generally, truck drivers in Wisconsin may drive for 11 hours after 10 hours off-duty, according to the Wisconsin Motor Carriers Association. They may not drive after 60 hours on duty in seven consecutive days, or 70 hours in eight consecutive days, among other regulations. The relaxed restrictions on drivers will allow for a steady flow of propane to dealers.

The executive order does not allow for transport companies to require or allow a sick or fatigued driver to drive a truck. Drivers who notify a motor carrier they need rest are required to be given at least 10 consecutive hours off-duty.

The state faces heightened demand for propane due to a couple major factors. Corn harvests, which rely on propane for drying, are more than two weeks late due to late planting and wet weather. In addition, Wisconsin propane terminals are experiencing heightened out-of-state demand due to increased grain drying and heightened demand for propane in Iowa, Illinois and Minnesota. Cold weather also is prompting more demand from homeowners.

About 250,000 Wisconsin homes rely on propane for heating in winter.

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Assembly Republicans unveiled the plan Friday, which also includes a nearly $45 million cut to personal property taxes paid by businesses and about $100 million toward paying down state debt. The plan does not call for any additional spending on education, which Democratic Gov. Tony Evers called for last week.

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