LANSING, Mich. – Saturday, Gov. Whitmer took action after a fire caused BP’s Whiting, Indiana oil refinery to temporarily go offline.
The EPA has also issued a fuel waiver for Michigan and three other states impacted by the refinery shutdown.
The EPA issued the following statement:
As part of the Federal Government’s response to a fire and shutdown at the Bp Whiting Refinery in Whiting, Indiana, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan today issued an emergency fuel waiver to help alleviate fuel shortages in four states whose supply of gasoline has been impacted by the refinery shutdown.
EPA has waived the federal regulations and federally enforceable State Implementation Plan requirements for fuel volatility on gasoline sold in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin, to facilitate the supply of fuel in these areas. This waiver will continue through September 15, 2022.
The Clean Air Act allows EPA Administrator Michael Regan, in consultation with the Department of Energy, to waive certain fuel requirements to address shortages. As a result of the Bp refinery shutdown, Administrator Regan determined that extreme and unusual fuel supply circumstances exist and has granted a temporary waiver to help ensure that an adequate supply of gasoline is available in the affected areas until normal supply to the region can be restored.
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Officials say the governor is working to ensure continued access to an adequate supply of motor fuels by waiving regulations on motor vehicle hours-of-service rules, as the effects of the outage at the plant are expected to spread across the region and will impact drivers transporting such fuel.
I am taking action to help address Michigan’s fuel needs after a fire and power outage at a BP refinery in Indiana,” said Gov. Whitmer. “The impacts of the outage at the Whiting facility will be widespread across our region, and I am taking proactive steps to help Michiganders get the fuel they need to drive their cars and help businesses keep their products moving. With today’s action, I am freeing up more gas supply and removing any impediments to gas delivery to cut down wait times at stations. I will keep working to get Michiganders the affordable gas they need without delay.
According to Gov. Whitmer, her executive order takes the following two temporary actions:
- Lifts Hours of Service Rules: exempts motor carriers and drivers transporting gas and diesel from compliance with the maximum weekly driving and on-duty limits, ensuring that these limits will not hinder the delivery of gas and diesel to stations in Michigan.
- Suspends Vapor Pressure Requirements: temporarily suspends certain laws and regulations to accelerate the transition to the fall fuel supply and takes advantage of existing stocks of fuel, contingent on the Environmental Protection Agency making similar changes.
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This is a great example of government and business working together to ensure that we continue to provide needed energy to keep Michigan moving,” said Mark Griffith, President of the Michigan Petroleum Association
“We appreciate Governor Whitmer taking quick action to protect fuel supply for stations and drivers across the state,” said Fay Beydoun, CEO, American Arab Chamber of Commerce. “By lifting these restrictions and working to keep supply flowing to the state, we can insulate the market and economic pressures to keep prices down.”
Officials say Executive Order 2022-9 takes effect immediately and remains in effect through the duration of the emergency remains in effect only for the duration of the supply challenges related to the refinery fire or until the end of the day on September 15, 2022, whichever comes first. In addition to this order, Michigan’s Public Service Commission (MPSC) will continue to monitor the situation and work with and provide information and assistance to the Governor’s Office, state agencies, and the public.
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Background on the BP Whiting Facility Fire:
On Wednesday, August 24, 2022, BP’s 435,000 barrel-per-day refinery located in Whiting, Indiana, suffered an electrical fire. As a result, the refinery has ceased production and is undergoing a damage assessment.
Officials say the Whiting refinery is the sixth biggest, by capacity, in the United States and provides approximately 20% to 25% of the refined gasoline, jet fuel, and diesel used collectively by Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin.
While efforts are underway to find ways to replace the supply from the Whiting refinery, disruptions in the fuel supply are likely.
Extracted in full form: Gov. Whitmer declares energy emergency following BP refinery fire | WWMT