In Brief

Holcomb waives fuel; work hours rules after oil refinery fire

By: - August 30, 2022 1:00 pm
Hoosier pay rising gas taxes

A man refuels at a gas station on May 12, 2021 in Fayetteville, North Carolina. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb temporarily dropped several fuel regulations and work hour restrictions in an executive order Monday evening, aimed at limiting disruption to the state’s fuel supply following a fire last week at a BP oil refinery plant.

The BP plant in Whiting, Indiana, is the United States’ sixth-largest refinery, according to the Indiana Office of Energy Development, and typically processes 430,000 barrels of crude oil daily. It provides a quarter of the refined fuel Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin use, according to Holcomb’s executive order.

An electrical fire last Wednesday has since been put out, but it shut the plant down.

Holcomb’s order tells State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box to waive fuel volatility inspection and enforcement requirements through September 15. It also waives rules requiring distribution of fuel at specific levels of volatility at gas stations through the same date.

The order also exempts motor carriers and drivers who transport refined fuel in “direct response” to the shutdown from restrictions on the hours they can work, through September 10.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Saturday temporarily lifted a Clean Air Act rule stipulating that lower-volatility gasoline be sold in the summer, waiving it until September 15. Higher volatility gases contribute more to ozone pollution.

“As a result of the BP refinery shutdown, Administrator [Michael] 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,” the EPA said in a news release.

Experts say the plant shutdown won’t greatly impact fuel prices if it reopens this week, according to the Associated Press.

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Leslie Bonilla Muñiz
Leslie Bonilla Muñiz

Leslie covers state government for the Indiana Capital Chronicle with emphases on elections, infrastructure and transportation. She previously covered city-county government for the Indianapolis Business Journal. She has also reported on local, national and international news for the Chicago Tribune, Voice of America and more. She holds an undergraduate degree in journalism from Northwestern University.

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