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Emergency Declaration Made To Avoid Petroleum Supply Disruptions

Posted at 4:59 PM, Sep 16, 2016

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam issued a state of emergency through an Executive Order that waives hours of service requirements for petroleum truck drivers, so that the state does not see any fuel supply disruptions.

The order came Friday afternoon following a Colonial pipeline leak in Shelby County, Ala. in which the company said about 6,000 barrels of gasoline was spilled. 

“This is a precautionary measure as we are not currently seeing any widespread unavailability of petroleum in Tennessee,” Haslam said.  “We urge Tennesseans to maintain their normal fuel purchasing and driving patterns to help prevent any potential impacts on our fuel supply while the pipeline undergoes repairs.”

The order only relates to fuel transportation and waives only the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s 49 Code of Federal Regulations, Sections 390 and 395 rules related to hours-of-service suspensions, and pipeline repair and fuel transportation.

The emergency declaration allows drivers to work longer hours to ensure petroleum is available to convenience stores, fuel retailers, and fuel wholesalers in Tennessee.

The Tennessee departments of Agriculture, Commerce and Insurance, Environment and Conservation, Safety and Homeland Security, Transportation, the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, and private sector energy partners are monitoring the petroleum supply issue and collaborating to alleviate and address any petroleum disruptions in Tennessee.

On Wed., Sept. 14, 2016, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation requested, and received, a fuel blend waiver from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), covering five counties in Middle Tennessee. The Tennessee Department of Agriculture then issued its own emergency waiver for fuel quality standards consistent with the EPA’s.

State officials advised drivers to maintain their normal fueling habits and driving patterns to avoid putting a strain on the state's fuel supply.

According to the state's price gouging laws, anyone  charging unreasonable prices for essential goods and services including gasoline, food, ice, fuel, generators, lodging, storage space, and other necessities in direct response to a disaster regardless of whether that emergency occurred in Tennessee or elsewhere will be fined.

This price gouging act is triggered when a disaster is declared by the state or by the federal government.

To file a price gouging complaing, file it here: www.tn.gov/consumer or call toll-free 1-800-342-8385.