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Nixon Announces Relief Amid Rising Propane Costs, Winter Storm

Propane chat
MoDOT Director Dave Nichols addresses reporters Monday in Springfield. To the right, Gov. Jay Nixon, Lt. Scott Sater of the Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop D, and Steve Runnels with the National Weather Service in Springfield/Credit: Scott Harvey

In preparation for yet another winter storm expected to blanket Missouri, Gov. Jay Nixon on Monday warned citizens of the dangers while promising additional resources for those struggling with the increasing costs of propane.

Nixon’s office is pledging another $14.9 million in federal funds through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, distributed through local community action agencies, and is doubling the amount that each household can receive for propane assistance.

Speaking before MoDOT officials in Springfield, Nixon said that amid the harsh winter, no Missouri family should have to choose between “putting food on the table and staying warm.”

“With more winter weather on the way it’s clear that more action is needed to make sure Missourians can turn up their thermostats without wiping away a year’s worth of savings,” Nixon said.

The Governor would not comment on the status of Attorney General Chris Koster’s investigation into alleged propane price gouging, but did say it will be a lengthy process.

“We don’t have that time. The temperature’s gonna be down to 10 below zero this week in northern Missouri. Propane prices have doubled. That’s why we felt that this warning was important to get this additional almost $15 million out to the people most in need.”  

An estimated 10 percent, or 245,000 Missouri households, rely on propane to heat their homes.

Related: Concerns over use of alternative heat sources.

While a state investigation is underway into the rising costs of propane, Republican House Speaker Tim Jones announced Monday that a federal investigation is also a top priority, and that the House Utilities Committee is expected to address a resolution concerning the issue next week.

Nixon thanked MoDOT for their response to hazardous weather conditions this past weekend, which he notes included more than 147,000 hours worked and over 16,000 tons of salt applied to state roadways. Additionally, Nixon says the Missouri State Highway Patrol worked 735 vehicle crashes and responded to more than 3,800 calls for assistance from Friday through Sunday.

Anywhere from 2-4 inches of snow is expected to fall in southwest Missouri Tuesday, with a winter weather advisory in effect throughout the day and into Wednesday morning.