Update on Gas Situation

Jack M. Martins

November 5, 2012

I have some good news about the frustrating gas lines we’re experiencing. I spoke with the Governor’s office of Emergency Management Saturday and fuel is finally making its way on tankers to terminal ports throughout the region.

Many don’t realize that the problem is not solely that gas stations don’t have electricity. That’s part of it, but we’ve made it abundantly clear to LIPA that powering up these stations is vital to the well-being and safety of Long Islanders.

Equally key to the issue is that there were cargo ships in New York Harbor that did not make it out before the Hurricane struck. As a result, our harbor is littered with cargo that fell off their ships. The US Coast Guard rightfully would not allow fuel tankers to pass through these waters for fear that the debris would rip a hole in their hulls and millions of gallons of fuel would spill into our harbor, creating yet another disaster.

The good news is they’ve finally cleared channels for safe passage and the tankers are on their way to the necessary terminals. We’re making sure those terminals have the power to pump that gasoline into trucks that will make their way to you very soon. In the meantime, I beg for your patience on the gas lines. The difference between orderly recovery and plunging into unsafe chaos rests squarely on our shoulders and our approach to the situation. We’ve seen disaster before and we’ve come through. This is no different. We’ll do it again.

In the meantime, please remember that those working on recovery – from the LIPA personnel in the streets, to the first responder police and fire departments, to the station attendants pumping the gas -- are Long Islanders who are suffering through the aftermath as well. While frustration is warranted, it should not be directed at them.

I hope you and your families are okay and are making your way through the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. My office is here to help with your concerns and please know that I am on the phone with LIPA officials constantly. Unfortunately, it looks as if last year’s Hurricane Irene taught our utility company little, and I expect to lead a hard examination of the recovery effort this time around. You deserve better. I know it and it will be a priority. Please keep reaching out to me, especially if someone in your family has special needs. There is a “no wrong door policy” at my office and my staff is dedicated to making sure you reach the appropriate resource.

Together, we’ll get through this.