Burr, Allen Push to Ensure Stability in Gasoline Supply

Introduce Legislation on Petroleum Delivery and Distribution, Urge EPA to Extend Gasoline Waivers

September 9, 2005

Washington, D.C. - Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and George Allen (R-VA) today introduced legislation that would require the Secretary of Energy to report to Congress on the existing federal plans and procedures relating to significant interruptions in the transmission of gasoline and other petroleum products.

The legislation would require the Secretary of Energy to report to Congress the procedures and protocols by which the Secretary notifies the Governor and any Federal elected official of a state affected by a significant interruption of energy. The legislation would also require the Secretary of Energy to recommend possible legislation on the implementation and efficiency of a contingency plan by the Department of Energy. The legislation is intended to prevent confusion regarding the proper protocols for notification of state and federal official should significant supply disruptions occur in the future.

Senators Burr and Allen also called on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to extend existing waivers for federal reformulated gasoline (RFG), sulfur controls and on-road diesel sulfur standards. In a letter to EPA Administrator Steve Johnson, Senators Burr and Allen expressed concern that gasoline and diesel fuel inventories have not yet recovered fully to a level where extended waivers or additional measures should not be considered to bring additional fuel supplies to the market.

"While it is important that we work towards a solution to the current gasoline interruptions, we must also work to ensure that we do all we can to prevent similar disruptions in the future. This report is an important step in ensuring stability in our gasoline supply," said Senator Burr. "While I have been pleased with the efforts in the Gulf Coast to fully restore gasoline supplies, I remain concerned about the possibility of gasoline price volatility if steps are not taken to extend existing waivers."

"It's essential that we learn from the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina that we must take steps to protect Americans from the type of gas price volatility that we saw as a result of this devastating storm," said Senator Allen. "At a minimum, the Department of Energy needs to clarify the way in which it plans to handle future supply disruptions so that the States can minimize the confusion that leads to higher gas prices."

"In addition, when we talk about what this country can do to alleviate high gas prices, it's vital that Congress repeal the slew of burdensome and costly regulations on boutique gas formulations that do nothing but drive up the cost at the pump for all Americans," Allen added.