Michigan governor declares state of energy emergency after refinery fire threatens fuel supply

The executive order issued by Whitmer lifts hours of service rules for gasoline and diesel transportation and temporarily suspends certain laws and regulations to increase fuel supply inventory.

« I’m taking action to help meet Michigan’s fuel needs following a fire and power outage at a BP refinery in Indiana, » Whitmer said in a statement. « The impacts of the outage at the Whiting plant will be widespread throughout our region, and I’m taking proactive steps to help the people of Michigan get the fuel they need to drive their cars and help businesses maintain their moving products.

The governor said BP’s 435,000 barrel-per-day refinery in Whiting, Indiana, is undergoing a damage assessment following Wednesday’s fire. The executive order indicates that the Whiting refinery is the sixth largest, by capacity, in the United States. It supplies about 20-25% of the refined gasoline, jet fuel and diesel used collectively by Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin.

« With today’s action, I am freeing up more gas supply and removing any impediments to gas delivery to reduce wait times at stations, » Whitmer said.

In a statement to CNN on Saturday, BP said it responded to an electrical fire at the refinery on Wednesday. The company said no one was injured in the fire and there were no known impacts outside the refinery.

BP said its priorities were to protect the safety of crews, responders and the public; work with local and state agencies to monitor impact; and continue to assess when a reboot of affected units may occur.

The governor’s executive order 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, whichever comes first.

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