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      Walker seeks help from Obama on propane shortage

      The propane shortage is hitting some families hard, especially in Wisconsin, which has prompted Governor Scott Walker to urge President Obama to speed up the release of heating assistance money. Marinette County Emergency Management is facilitating heating assistance and heated shelter for those in need. The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation has created an Emergency Loan Guarantee Program that provides incentives to financial institutions to extend lines of credit to propane dealers to help with the situation. Emergency Management is also seeking to help those who exceed income guidelines, but who also find it hard to pay for propane.

      â??There are families that their family income is above the Energy Assistance programs; they make more than the threshold,â?? said Marinette County Emergency Management Director, Eric Burmeister. â??But the rising cost of propane, they don't have it within their budget to pay the additional two or three dollars a gallon.â??

      Certain income levels have been increased to accommodate more people as part of the Keep WI Warm Fund (KWWF). Income levels have neen increased to 80 percent of the State Median Income for KWWF. Officials say propane prices are still in the five to six dollar range, but that theyâ??ve seen some prices in areas drop slightly. Burmeister also noted the main dealer in parts of Marinette County has since received more propane to deliver to its customers.

      Governor Walker said he supports the Federal Trade Commission monitoring the spike in wholesale propane to ensure there is no anti-competitive activity. He also said he welcomed a review of the impact of proane exports on domestic supply and price and any regulatory barriers that could ease the shipment of propane delivery. He plans to speak about the propane issue with Obama when he greets the president on Thursday during a stop in the Milwaukee area.