Long Island lawmakers are calling for gas stations to be required to have backup power so they can pump gas during blackouts—a measure aimed at preempting another gas crisis like the one sparked by Superstorm Sandy.
Nassau County Legis. Dave Denenberg (D-Merrick) proposed the bill last week and Suffolk County Legis. Steve Stern (D-Huntington) is proposing similar legislation. They will discuss their plans Tuesday at the Plainview Hess station.
“Many stations had gas in the ground, but no means to pump it, which forced Long Islanders to wait on frustratingly long lines for gas,” Denenberg said. “This law hopes to alleviate that problem in the future.”
The proposals come as LI is rationing gas on odd-even days based on the date and last number of vehicle license plates. Gas lines hours long were the norm for days after Sandy until the emergency policy was implemented Friday.
Aside from gas stations not having power, officials have said the gas crisis was also caused by stations with power not being able to get gas because the fuel supply was disrupted—the ports were temporarily closed during the storm and fuel shipping terminals also had no power for some time. Drivers hoarding gas in a panic also contributed to the problem.
The law would require gas stations to have an “alternative-energy source” within six months. The alternative power source could be operated manually, by battery or generator.
Denenberg said the bill is modeled on a Florida law that requires gas stations to have manually operated pumps to keep the gas flowing after natural disasters. He also called for state and federal grant funding to help make such upgrades possible.