Four Years After Sandy, Tackling the Rising Threat of Fuel Emergencies

Four Years After Sandy, Tackling the Rising Threat of Fuel Emergencies

VIEW FULL COMMENTARY HERE [PDF]

Last month marked the four-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, which devastated communities along the Northeastern coast of the United States and caused significant power, fuel and transportation disruptions to millions of families and businesses in the Tri-State region. In a new commentary, non-resident Fellow Robert Hallman writes that since the storm, considerable progress has been made to improve the resilience of the electric grid and prioritize power restoration to critical fuel supply infrastructure; however, as Hallman outlined in a CGEP report this summer, there is still an urgent need for local governments to do more.

Citing a projected increase in number and severity of extreme weather events (Hurricane Matthew being the most recent example), potential physical and cyber-attacks and aging infrastructure, Hallman notes that voluntary systems historically used by pubic officials for gathering critical real-time information simply cannot be relied on, especially during emergency conditions. The Tri-State area, and the country more broadly, needs regulatory programs which require owners and operators of critical fuel supply chain assets to prepare emergency response plans, conduct vulnerability assessments, and implement resiliency improvements.

Among his many recommendations, Hallman calls for: the establishment of secure channels of communication between the private and public sectors based on defined information sharing protocols; stringent reporting requirements for the fuel industry to better protect public health and limit economic loss during emergencies; improved regional cooperation and planning for fuel disruptions; and coordination with federal agencies like the Department of Energy to establish a permanent Energy Response and Operations Center.