Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Governor Extends Limited Emergency to Ensure Fuel Deliveries to Maine Homes

Maine - Governor Paul R. LePage has signed a second limited Emergency Proclamation that will allow Maine fuel transport and delivery trucks to drive additional hours to ensure timely heating fuel deliveries during the unusually cold weather that is expected over the next several days.

“The recent ice and snow storms have hampered efforts for oil delivery trucks to deliver fuel, which is one reason this declaration is being extended,” Governor LePage said. “The declaration allows heating fuel to be delivered to Maine families when they need it most. Keeping homes warm is critical to protect the public health and safety of Mainers.”

Propane has been in short supply, and the situation is expected to worsen as demand increases due to cold weather. The supply from Canada has been impacted because the Northern Rail Route is closed due to the tragic accident at Lac Megantic. Additionally, a train carrying crude oil in North Dakota that collided Monday with another train may impact the supply.

Propane has been sent to dry crops in the west because of wet weather, which means fewer trucks are available from other parts of the country. Because of these factors, propane inventories are 25% lower than normal in Maine, and fewer outside haulers are available to come to Maine.

More than home heating fuels are impacted: fuels used in manufacturing, business heating, fork lift and other vehicle operations are also affected.

Much colder than normal weather is expected over next 30 days. The Governor’s proclamation waives U.S. Department of Transportation rules and extends the hours of service for heating fuel transport and delivery trucks within the State of Maine for two weeks.

On Dec. 13, Governor LePage issued the same Declaration of Emergency to ensure fuel deliveries to Maine homes.

The Declaration language is as follows:

Governor’s Emergency Proclamation for US-DOT Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Hours of Service Waiver

WHEREAS, Maine is experiencing artic cold temperatures and dangerous wind chills; and

WHEREAS, this cold weather is expected to continue for the next several days affecting the entire State; and

WHEREAS, heating fuel in Maine is in great demand because of the cold; and

WHEREAS, federal motor carrier safety regulations determine the number of hours the drivers of heating fuel and bulk petroleum delivery and transport vehicles may operate; and

WHEREAS, many drivers in the State will shortly be approaching their federal limit on hours of operation and may have to cease delivery of heating fuel and bulk petroleum fuels; and

WHEREAS, these conditions threaten public health and safety and endanger public property if heating fuels cannot be transported or delivered within the State of Maine; and

WHEREAS, the declaration of a State of Emergency will facilitate the granting of a waiver from the U.S. Department of Transportation - Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, pursuant to 49 CFR part 390.23 to allow relief from 49 CFR parts 390 through 399, specifically 49 CFR part 395 Hours of Service of Drivers, and subject to the limitations described below, and therefore allow heating fuel and bulk petroleum delivery and transport drivers to operate additional hours; and

WHEREAS, motor carriers that have an Out-Of-Service Order in effect may not take advantage of the relief from regulation that such a declaration provides under 49 CFR 390.23,

NOW THEREFORE, I, Paul R. LePage, Governor of the State of Maine, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of Maine, find that these conditions constitute a civil emergency under 37-B M.R.S.A. section 742, and for the purpose pursuant to 49 CFR part 390.23 of facilitating a waiver to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, specifically 49 CFR part 395 Hours of Service of Drivers, do hereby declare that a State of Emergency for fuel drivers operating within the State of Maine exists as of December 31, 2013 through January 18, 2014.

Pursuant to this declaration, I hereby order the following: No motor carrier operating under the terms of this emergency declaration shall require or allow an ill or fatigued driver to operate a motor vehicle. A driver who notifies a motor carrier that he or she needs immediate rest shall be given a least ten (10) consecutive hours off-duty before the driver is required to return to service.

Paul R. LePage
Governor

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