WASHINGTON, Aug 28 – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Transportation Department took steps on Saturday to help ease potential fuel shortages in four states after an unexpected shutdown at BP Whiting’s Indiana ( BP.L ) refinery.
Reported on Friday that the 435,000-barrel-per-day refinery was shut down and undergoing a damage assessment after losing power and cooling water systems in Wednesday’s fire.
The EPA said Saturday that it waived fuel variability on gasoline sold in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin through federal regulations on Sept. 15 to ease fuel supplies.
EPA Administrator Michael Regan “found that extreme and unusual fuel supply circumstances exist and granted a temporary waiver to help ensure that adequate gasoline supplies are available in affected areas until normal supplies can be restored to the region.”
EPA and the Energy Department “continue to actively monitor the fuel supply situation resulting from the BP refinery shutdown and consider additional mitigation measures,” the EPA said.
The U.S. Department of Transportation has issued a waiver to the maximum driving time rules for truck drivers for those transporting gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and other refined petroleum products in four states.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s office said Saturday that it is working to “ensure continued access to an adequate supply of motor fuels by waiving regulations on motor vehicle hours of operation as the effects of the plant outage are expected to spread around the world.” region and will have an impact on drivers transporting such fuel.”
Whitmer signed an executive order on Saturday that exempts motor carriers and fuel truck drivers from maximum driving and duty limits.
Whitmer also temporarily suspended regulations to expedite the transition to fall fuel deliveries in conjunction with the EPA action.
Whitmer’s office said Whiting provides about 20 to 25% of the refined gasoline, jet fuel, and diesel used by Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin combined.
“While efforts are underway to find ways to replace supplies from the Whiting refinery, fuel will likely be interrupted,” Whitmer’s office said.