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American Forces Press Service

DOD Gets Energy Department Fuel to Aid Superstorm Relief

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 2, 2012 – As part of the governmentwide response and recovery effort for Hurricane Sandy, President Barack Obama declared that the superstorm has created a severe energy supply interruption and directed the U.S. Department of Energy to loan the Department of Defense ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel from the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve, according to a presidential memorandum and a DOE news release issued today.

“Hurricane Sandy struck the East Coast on October 29, causing severe damage to the petroleum refining and distribution sector -- including pipelines, refineries, bulk terminals, and ports. Product deliveries already lost, as well as demand increases as retail systems are restored, require that replacement volumes be made available immediately,” Obama stated in a presidential memorandum issued today.

“The transfer of ULSD to the Department of Defense and the use and distribution of that fuel has the potential to provide immediate relief to the affected region,” Obama continued. “Based on the advice of the Secretary of Energy and on other information on the impact of Hurricane Sandy on supply and distribution channels, I find that a severe energy supply interruption exists and direct the Secretary of Energy to transfer ULSD from the Reserve to the Department of Defense for use in emergency operations and support to the region affected by Hurricane Sandy.”

Obama added: “If the Secretary of Energy determines the circumstances leading to this memorandum no longer support continuation of the transfer, he is authorized to cancel that action in whole or in part.”

The Defense Logistics Agency will begin drawing down stocks from the heating oil reserve terminal in Groton, Conn., as early as tomorrow. The fuel will be distributed to state, local and federal responders in the New York/New Jersey area, the release said, and will be used to provide additional supplies to ensure continued response and recovery efforts. This includes fuel for emergency equipment and buildings, including electrical generators, water pumps, General Services Administration buildings, trucks and other vehicles.

“Today’s announcement is part of the broader federal effort to respond to those impacted by Hurricane Sandy,” Energy Department Secretary Dr. Steven Chu stated in today’s DOE news release.

“This loan from the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve will help ensure state, local and federal responders in the impacted area have access to the diesel fuel they need to continue response and recovery efforts,” Chu added.

DLA estimates that it will initially draw down two million gallons of fuel from the reserve, but the Energy Department stands ready to make available additional fuel as needed, according to the DOE release. The Defense Department expects to replenish the fuel to the reserve within 30 days.

The Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve was created in July 2000 as a component of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to respond to emergencies and supply disruptions in the home heating oil market, the DOE news release said. The reserve holds 42 million gallons of ultra-low sulfur diesel, located at terminals in Groton, and Revere, Mass.

This is the first time fuel has been released from the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve, according to the DOE release.

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