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BREAKING: Emergency Declared in Four States Following Oil Refinery Fire in Indiana


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“The Environmental Protection Agency temporarily lifted a federal rule for fuel sales in four states in response to a fire last week at an Indiana oil refinery that could affect prices and supply,” AP reported.

The emergency waiver was granted Saturday for Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin, EPA Administrator Michael Regan said.

In a letter to state officials, Regan said the agency determined the waiver is necessary “to minimize or prevent disruption of an adequate supply of gasoline to consumers.”

“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 said in a statement.

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.

As required by law, EPA and the Department of Energy (DOE) evaluated the situation and determined that granting a short-term waiver was consistent with the public interest.  EPA and DOE are continuing to actively monitor the fuel supply situation resulting from the Bp refinery shutdown and considering additional measures to alleviate the impact.

To mitigate any impacts on air quality, the Clean Air Act provides strict criteria for when fuel waivers may be granted and requires that waivers be limited as much as possible in terms of their geographic scope and duration.

This waiver will continue through September 15, 2022.

Oil & refined products analyst, Patrick De Haan said, “the waiver allows winter gasoline to be sold, and allows more components to be used in gasoline, thereby increasing the amount of available supply. Still no restoration timeline on BP restarting its refinery.”

“An electrical fire at a BP refinery in northwest Indiana on Wednesday caused the company to temporarily close its facility located about 15 miles (24 kilometers) southeast of Chicago,” AP noted.

The oil refinery is expected to reopen in the next few days, its operators said Monday.

The devastating fire coincides with the highest gas and diesel prices in US history under Joe Biden.

Further details from AP:

BP said its refinery in Whiting, Indiana, experienced an electrical fire Wednesday. No one was hurt, and the fire was put out, but it caused a loss of utilities in other parts of the refinery, forcing at least a partial shutdown. The refinery is located along Lake Michigan’s shoreline about 15 miles (24 kilometers) southeast of Chicago, according to the company.

The company said Sunday it is working toward a “phased restart of the refinery,” but no date was given.

Governors in all four states requested the EPA waivers, according to the EPA’s letter. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s office said the refinery provides about 20% to 25% of the gasoline, jet fuel and diesel used by Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana and Illinois.

BP spokeswoman Christina Audisho said the company was working with local and state agencies and was still assessing when affected units can restart.



 

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