Farmers, schools scramble for propane amid freeze

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) – A cold snap is stretching supplies of propane gas and causing transportation bottlenecks across a broad section of the United States.

Officials said Friday the problem is resulting in everyone from rural educators to chicken farmers searching for enough fuel to keep warm.

The U.S. Energy Department says propane supplies already were lower than normal before temperatures turned frigid.

Now, governors and regulators already have taken the rare step of loosening transportation rules for about 33 states in the South, Midwest and East. The move allows additional hours for truckers to make deliveries of propane.

But some places are still feeling the pinch.

A school system in northeast Alabama says it had to find a new supplier after a major propane company quit delivering to commercial users, and poultry farmers are worried they’ll run out of gas to heat chicken houses.