Whitmer declares state of emergency following refinery fire

(Michigan Executive Office of the Governor)
Published: Aug. 27, 2022 at 3:34 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WNEM) - An oil refinery fire in Indiana has Governor Gretchen Whitmer taking action, declaring a state of emergency in Michigan to protect the gas supply.

A BP plant in Whiting, suffered an electrical fire on Wednesday, August 24. Due to the fire, the plant has ceased production and is undergoing a damage assessment.

The plant provides 20 to 25 percent of gas, jet fuel, and diesel to Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

Whitmer’s office announced they are working to ensure continued access to gas by waiving some regulations.

“I am taking action to help address Michigan’s fuel needs after a fire and power outage at a BP refinery in Indiana,” Whitmer said. “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.”

The executive order takes the following two temporary actions:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

The order takes effect immediately and will remain in place until supply challenges are fixed, or until September 15th.