Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure, introduced legislation (H.R. 4076) to extend emergency truck driver hours-of-service relief related to the nation’s ongoing propane and home heating fuels shortage. The Home Heating Emergency Assistance Through Transportation (HHEATT) Act of 2014 would guarantee the extension, until May 31, 2014, of U.S. Department of Transportation short-term emergency declarations.

DOT has issued temporary emergency declarations to allow tank truck operators delivering propane and other home heating fuels to drive for longer hours to speed up deliveries to the affected states, but these declarations last only 30 days at a time. The HHEATT Act would remove the uncertainty surrounding these declarations, Shuster says.

Under the HHEATT Act, should the propane and home heating fuels crisis subside prior to May 31, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation may determine that the extension of the emergency declarations is no longer needed. The secretary will make such a determination on a state-by-state basis and in consultation with the governors of affected states.

Four regional declarations related to propane and other home heating fuels were executed most recently on Feb. 5 and currently are scheduled to expire March 1. Those declarations cover basically the entire United States east of the Mississippi plus a few others.