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Dayton working on cold weather concerns

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With subzero temperatures gripping Minnesota, Gov. Mark Dayton said today that he’s looking for ways to address the state’s propane shortage.

Dayton and DFL members of the state's congressional delegation already sent a letter to the White House, urging President Obama to take several steps at the federal level to ease the propane crunch. They want regulatory barriers lifted to allow for quicker transportation of propane from Texas and other states were the supplies remain strong.

Dayton told reporters Monday he also plans to meet with Minnesota propane suppliers and distributors to get their advice about what else can be done.

“So we’re doing everything we can, large and small, that can make a difference, and we’ll search for those ideas again today,” Dayton said.

Dayton said a separate meeting is on his schedule with his commerce and public safety commissioners to discuss problems with natural gas, and the recent derailment of an oil train in North Dakota.

Blowing and drifting snow has caused travel hazards in many parts of the state, so Dayton authorized the use of National Guard armories for emergency shelters, as needed.

“That’s a standing order for the next couple of days,” he said. “I’ll renew it if necessary.”

Dayton said he does not intend to close public schools statewide for a second time due to the cold weather. He did that once earlier this month, but he said it was a unique circumstance, coming at the end of a holiday break. Officials in many school districts decided on their own today to keep students at home.