Senators act to prevent long lines at the pump
By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
One of the enduring images of the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy was of the long lines of cars outside gas stations. Many of the stations were forced to close, not because they lacked gasoline, but because they had no electricity and therefore, had tanks incapable of pumping gas.
U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced on Jan. 16 that they secured $5.1 million in federal funds for gas station owners along highways and pivotal evacuation routes to purchase and install backup generators.
This grant, which is being awarded as part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) will offset 75 percent of the costs for gas station owners-operators who now need to comply with a new state law passed in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy that requires all gas stations within a half mile of a highway exit and-or hurricane evacuation route to have a transfer switch installed to deploy and install a generator within 24 hours of losing power during a fuel supply or energy emergency.
“Some of the most enduring images of the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy were of New Yorkers lined up in their cars and on foot to get gas to heat their homes and power their lives. Far too many gas stations had plenty of gas, but had no power to pump it out. That’s why it makes so much sense to help station owners buy and lease generators,” Schumer said.
The New York State law was passed in order to address the widespread shortage of gas in areas that were hard hit by Sandy.
The federal funds will help cover the costs of compliance and make gas more accessible during times of crisis, Schumer said.
“In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, thousands of New Yorkers were displaced without heat or power. This investment will help get relief into the hands of those who desperately need it before another disaster occurs,” Gillibrand said.
HMGP provides funding under Section 406 of the Stafford Act, the federal disaster law that supplies aid to states to implement long-term measures after a major disaster strikes.