By SCOTT SONNER
RENO, Nev. (AP) â¿¿ Propane dealers and their customers are welcoming Gov. Brian Sandoval's move to speed up deliveries of liquefied petroleum, which is in high demand across Nevada and much of the West due to an unusually long stretch of cold weather.
Sandoval declared a state of emergency Tuesday, effective for 15 days. The governor also suspended federal regulations that limit, among other things, the number of hours driven by a commercial operator in a shift.
Liquefied petroleum is in particularly high demand in Nevada because of its heavy use in mining operations.
Sandoval said he was issuing the emergency declaration as a "precautionary measure" a day after a record low of minus 24 degrees was set along the Utah line in Ely. Las Vegas' high temperature Monday also set a record with the lowest high for that date â¿¿ 38 degrees.
Angie Hasenohrl, president of the Nevada Propane Dealers Association, said the governor's move couldn't have come soon enough given the short supply.
"It's not quite a light at the end of the tunnel yet, but this is going to help. This is going to help get the drivers where they need to be," she said Wednesday. "We have had such abnormally low temperatures for so long it is definitely maxing out the system."
Hasenohrl, who works as Intermountain regional sales manager for the Salt Lake City-based Kiva Energy, said part of the problem with the U.S. regulations is that drivers have been on the clock but not really driving while they wait in line up to eight hours in some places to fill up their trucks.
Sandoval's order temporarily waives the rules that typically allow only 14 consecutive hours of driving and require drivers to have at least 10 consecutive hours off duty before driving again. They also limit drivers to 60 hours driving over seven consecutive days and 70 hours over eight consecutive days.