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Senator Baldwin, Wisconsin propane dealer testify about recent fuel crisis


WASHINGTON, D.C. (WSAU) -- The Department of Energy was criticized for how it handled the recent propane fuel crisis. Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin addressed the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee during a hearing on propane issues.

Baldwin told the committee that the federal government was clearly not prepared for a crisis of that magnitude, and that the government’s response was, “insufficient.”  Baldwin said, “Over the many weeks in which this crisis unfolded, I, along with my colleagues, called on numerous agencies to help struggling residents, and while help came, it did not come easy and it did not come fast enough.”

Baldwin and other members of Congress are working on legislation to address shortcomings in the federal government’s response, in case there is ever another scenario like we had this past winter. Baldwin says the agencies clearly were not ready for this.  “The Department of Energy and the federal government as a whole did not have the plans or the tools in place to respond to respond to this crisis or anticipate it. And second, this country didn’t have adequate propane supplies in reserve.”

Propane dealer Gary France of Schofield is chairman of the National Propane Gas Association, and appeared with Baldwin at the committee hearing as a witness. France described the impact of the propane crisis by sharing the stories of hardship for Wisconsin businesses and families.