Gov. Mark Dayton signs executive order for gas price relief - KMSP-TV

Gov. Mark Dayton signs executive order for gas price relief

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

Minnesota lawmakers are taking steps to address the recent spike in gas prices, with Gov. Mark Dayton signing an emergency executive order and the state's U.S. senators introducing a new bill on Thursday.

Dayton signed an emergency executive order stating the late, wet spring has caused -- and will continue to cause -- a compressed planting season, which is already a peak time for diesel fuel consumption in the state.

Given that many fuel terminals in Minnesota are currently running low or struggling to obtain their usual supply of gasoline ahead of the Memorial Day weekend, Dayton declared travelers, farmers, fuel haulers, fuel retailers alike require emergency relief.

"Memorial Day weekend is one of the peak travel times within Minnesota and relief is needed to ensure that local gas stations are able to obtain motor fuels for Minnesota consumers to ensure that consumers living and traveling across Minnesota are not stranded without adequate access to necessary motor fuels," the declaration read in part.

The order loosens regulations related to hours of service for carriers of commercial vehicles that transport motor fuels and is effective immediately. It will remain in effect for 30 days.


EXECUTIVE ORDER: http://www.mn.gov/governor/images/EO-13-07.pdf


Meanwhile, Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar have introduced legislation that would require refineries to report their maintenance schedules to the Department of Energy in order to prevent simultaneous closures and resulting fuel shortages.

Several oil refineries that supply Minnesota are closed for maintenance in recent weeks, and the disruption caused gas prices to surge to the highest in the nation at over $4 per gallon.

"As we head into one of the busiest travel weekends of the year, Minnesota's record high gas prices will have a real impact on families and businesses across our state," Klobuchar said. "Scheduled maintenance at refineries should not be allowed to cause such major disruptions in supply."

The bill would allow the Department of Energy to coordinate timing by requiring refineries to report any scheduled maintenance that would bring the facility offline. Refineries would also be required to report any unplanned outages.

"This recent spike in gas prices hurt families and businesses in Minnesota, and I'm committed to doing everything I can to make sure it doesn't happen again," Franken said. "Our legislation would help prevent gas prices from skyrocketing when refineries have to shut down by helping ensure that we avoid simultaneous refinery outages so our supply remains intact. It's a common-sense fix that will help protect Minnesotans' wallets."

The bill also asks the Secretary of Energy to look at the potential for additional fuel storage in the region to address the low storage capacity that makes the Midwest especially vulnerable to shortages.

Klobuchar also spoke with the oil companies which own the closed refineries and urged them to reopen the refineries as soon as possible.

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