Updated: 02/08/2014 6:57 AM KSTP.com By: Steve Patterson
Doug Peterson, President of the Minnesota Farmer's Union, is frustrated with the propane shortage, and he wants his questions answered. "Why did it become so expensive, and who is charging it, and are they charging it because they can?" he asked.
With a bitterly cold January behind us, he knows that a short term solution may be in line. A warmer February could bring prices back down to normal. But he's not just concerned about this year asking, "Will we have the propane for next year? How will we get it into the state? Are we going to allow these exorbitant prices to continue?"
Peterson thinks too much propane was exported. Roger Leider, President of the Minnesota Propane Association, maintains that exports are a normal part of the process, and when you add a wet farming season and a brutally cold winter to the mix, the demand simply outran the supply.
Another issue looming is the loss of the Cochin Pipeline which is responsible for up to 40 percent of Minnesota's propane.
Next year, it won't be available. Somehow, that loss will need to be made up. Leider suggested that it wouldn't necessarily mean higher prices for propane, but it will affect how propane is brought into our state and stored.