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Federal heating assistance increased for Wisconsin propane users

UNDATED (WSAU-Wheeler News)  Low-income Wisconsinites who use propane to heat their homes will get an extra $14-million under the federal fuel assistance program.

U-S Senate Democrat Tammy Baldwin announced the allocation yesterday, as state residents continue to struggle with a propane shortage that has raised prices beyond $5 a gallon.

Governor Scott Walker made a similar request to President Obama this week, and he reinforced the urgency of the matter when Obama flew into Milwaukee yesterday for a speech in Waukesha.

Baldwin said rural homeowners are facing quote, "crisis conditions." U-S propane supplies fell to their lowest levels on record during the second week in January -- a week after Wisconsin suffered the first of two massive cold waves that dropped wind-chills down to 55-below.

U-S Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz says his agency is looking for ways to mitigate the propane shortages. He noted that farmers used a lot more fuel than normal last week to dry their crops before they could be harvested. Moniz did not cite higher U-S exports of propane. Those exports have doubled in the past two years, rising to 410-thousand barrels a day as of last November.