Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam issued Executive Order #35 today declaring a State of Emergency in Tennessee to exempt the federal Hours of Service requirements in the state for the transporting of propane during the next period of cold weather.
“This has been a hard winter already for many home and business owners in Tennessee,” Haslam said. “This executive order will help families, farmers and businesses get the necessary energy resources to stay warm, stay open and keep operating.”
Current federal law limits drivers transporting hazardous materials, such as propane, to driving 70 hours a week in stretches of no more than 11 hours a day. The drivers must have at least 10 continuous hours off between driving shifts.
The emergency declaration will allow drivers to work longer hours to transport propane to homes and business in Tennessee, and to other hard-hit areas of the United States.
The Tennessee departments of Agriculture, Environment and Conservation, Safety, Transportation, and the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency are coordinating with each other, with other states and with federal authorities to put the exemption in place.
The current weather forecast for Tennessee says the second arctic cold front of 2014 is coming to Tennessee Tuesday, bringing a prolonged period of subfreezing temperatures, which may remain in place through Saturday. The National Weather Service expects low temperatures in the single digits and teens, with highs only reaching the 20s or 30s. Light snow is predicted in the lower elevations of Tennessee with heavier amounts and accumulations on the plateau and the mountains.
An arctic cold front moved into Tennessee on Jan. 3 this year, bringing the coldest air to the state in more than 20 years and causing Tennessee’s first State of Emergency in 2014. Temperatures struggled to reach single digits for highs and wind chills were -15 degrees in many parts of the state.