FMCSA posts disaster relief information for drivers, carriers

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Motor carriers and drivers providing direct emergency relief to, from or within the areas covered by emergency declarations related to Hurricane Gustav are temporarily relieved from Parts 390-399 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, including hours of service, regardless of commodity carried, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced Saturday, Aug. 30.

Also, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has exercised its authority under the Clean Air Act to temporarily waive certain federal clean gasoline requirements for parts of Texas where they apply until Sept. 10, 2008. This waiver will allow greater flexibility for the fuel distribution system to support an adequate supply.

FMCSA says drivers and carriers should coordinate with state and federal emergency officials before providing assistance. The states with emergency declarations and their expiration dates, under FMCSA regulations, are:

  • Louisiana: Sept. 26, 2008;
  • Texas: Sept. 26, 2008;
  • Alabama: Sept. 28, 2008; and
  • Mississippi: Sept. 30, 2008.
  • If drivers or carriers have any questions regarding the emergency exemptions identified in 49 CFR 390.23 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, contact a local FMCSA division office. FMCSA also urges all drivers and carriers providing relief to exercise their best judgment regarding safety.

    EPA’s waiver was granted in coordination with the Department of Energy at the request of the State of Texas. EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson determined that extreme and unusual supply circumstances exist, which are likely to result in a shortage of gasoline compliant with federal regulations. The federal waiver will help ensure an adequate supply of gasoline in the affected area during and in the immediate aftermath of the storm.

    The waiver applies to the 7.8 RVP (Reid Vapor Pressure) gasoline volatility requirements that apply in certain areas of Texas. The waiver also enables the sale of conventional gasoline in reformulated gas (RFG) areas. As required by law, EPA and DOE evaluated the situation and determined that granting a short-term waiver was consistent with the public interest.

    For more information on EPA fuel waivers, click here.

    FedEx announced that FedEx Ground, FedEx Freight and FedEx National have suspended operations in the Louisiana cities of Harahan, New Orleans, Metairie and Kenner, and these will not resume until after the storm has passed. The company also said that FedEx Express and FedEx Custom Critical have provided transportation for emergency supplies on behalf of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; these supplies include generators, batteries and other items needed immediately in Gustav’s aftermath.

    UPS said service in Louisiana continues to be affected and that pickup and delivery services will be delayed around New Orleans and Baton Rouge. UPS Customer Centers and The UPS Store locations are closed in the affected areas. UPS said its following centers are closed: Covington, Hammond, Earhart, Harvey, New Orleans, Houma, New Iberia, Baker, Gonzalez, Port Allen and Opelousas. UPS said anyone planning to send a shipment to the affected areas should contact the recipient to make sure they are available to accept the package.