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Hurricane Resources

Multi-State Waivers

Jones Act Waivers

Jones Act Waived for Shipping Fuel to Hurricane-Affected Areas 
On September 13, the Department of Homeland Security extended the September 8th limited waiver of the Jones Act through September 22. The waiver is designed to facilitate movement of refined products from New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas to Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and Puerto Rico. View the extension.

On September 8, 2017 in recognition of the severity of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Elaine Duke approved a waiver of the federal Jones Act.  This waiver will ensure that over the next week, all options are available to distribute fuel to states and territories impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, both historic storms.  

On September 13, the waiver was extended from its initial expirationd date (September 15th) until September 22nd. It is tailored to transportation of refined products in hurricane-affected areas. Specifically, the waiver states the Jones Act is waived “to facilitate movement of refined petroleum products, including gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel – to be shipped from New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Louisiana to South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and Puerto Rico. The waiver applies to covered merchandise laded on board a vessel within the 7-day period of the waiver.” 

Fuel Waivers

EPA Extends Multi-State Fuels Waivers for RVP and RFG Through Sept. 26
On September 7th, EPA issued a waiver of the federal requirements for low volatility “summertime” gasoline requirements in the following East coast, Midwestern, and Gulf coast states and the District of Columbia: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Texas. In addition, EPA waived the Reformulated Gasoline (RFG) requirements in these same states.  This waiver supersedes EPA’s August 31st multi-state fuel waiver.

EPA issued the waiver in response to requests from state governors and the District of Columbia regarding the continuing need for a waiver of the reformulated gasoline (RFG) requirements and the unique low volatility requirements in the Texas State Implementation Plan (SIP) that apply after the waiver sunsets (until September 15th). 

Specifically, EPA is now waiving the low Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) requirements in the Texas SIP that apply to the Eastern Texas SIP counties through September 26th.  After September 26th, refiners and importers may not produce or import gasoline that does not meet the Texas SIP requirements for distribution in the Eastern Texas SIP RVP counties, however any gasoline that is in the distribution system on September 26th may be distributed and sold until the supply is depleted.  Gasoline that is in the possession of parties in the fuel distribution system other than retailers and wholesale purchaser-consumers must meet the low RVP requirements of the Texas SIP by October 26, 2017.

EPA further waived all low volatility gasoline requirements in any SIP that applies in the designated states (other than Texas) to minimize or prevent problems with the supply of gasoline to those areas through September 15th.

EPA waived the federal RFG requirements in the designated states and the District of Columbia and will allow regulated parties to produce, sell, or distribute convention winter gasoline (including gasoline blendstock for oxygenate blending, or “BOB”) in any RFG covered area within the designated states and D.C.  EPA further waived the provisions that prohibit combining any RFG BOBs with any other gasoline, blendstock, or oxygenate.  The RFG waiver extends through September 26th.  After September 26th, refiners and importers may not produce or import conventional gasoline for distribution in the RFG covered areas, however any gasoline that is in the distribution system on September 26th may be distributed and sold until the supply is depleted.  Gasoline that is in the possession of parties in the fuel distribution system other than retailers and wholesale purchaser-consumers must meet the RFG requirements by October 26, 2017. 
 

(The following waiver was superseded by the Sept. 7 waiver listed above)
EPA Waives Summer RVP Requirements in 38 States and the District of Columbia 

In light of the shutdown of ten refineries, port closures, and pipeline disruptions caused by Hurricane Harvey, on August 31st, the Environmental Protection Agency issued another emergency waiver to “minimize or prevent the disruption of an adequate supply of gasoline.” 
The waiver will temporarily remove the requirements for low volatility conventional gasoline and Reformulated Gasoline (RFG) in the following areas, through September 15th:

East Coast: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia; 

Midwest: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Wisconsin; 

Gulf coast: Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Texas.   The waiver supersedes and expands the areas covered by the August 30 waiver. Under this temporary waiver, “regulated parties may produce, sell or distribute winter gasoline (including gasoline blendstocks for oxygenate blending (BOBs)) with an RVP of 11 .5 pounds per square inch (psi) before the addition of any ethanol in CG areas within the designated states.” In addition, EPA will “allow regulated parties to produce, sell or distribute conventional winter gasoline (including BOBs) with an RVP of 11.5 psi before the addition of any ethanol in any RFG covered area within the designated states and D.C. Additionally, I am waiving the provisions at 40 C.F.R. § 80.78(a)(7) that prohibit any person from combining any RFG blendstock for oxygenate blending with any other gasoline, blendstock, or oxygenate, unless certain conditions are met.”

The Agency’s temporary waiver will, in effect, permit the sale of up to 11.5 psi E15 in 38 states and the District of Columbia, effectively ending the summer low RVP sales restrictions.

FMCSA Waivers

FMCSA Issues Amended Regional Declaration of Emergency 
On September 19, FMCSA issued an amended regional declaration of emergency, waiving various restrictions including hours of service limitations “in response to Hurricanes Irma, Jose and Maria and their anticipated effects on people and property, including the immediate threat to human life or public welfare.” The waivers apply to drivers providing “direct assistance to the emergency.” 

The declaration covers Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands. The declaration is in effect until October 5 or for the duration of the emergency, whichever is less.

FMCSA Expands Fee Waiver
On September 19, FMCSA also published a notice that it will not be enforcing certain fee provisions, namely fees for temporary operating authority applications issued during an emergency, against motor carriers who are working to provide direct assistance to states affected by “Hurricanes Irma, Jose and/or Maria”. The waiver applies to all states and jurisdictions covered by the September 19 Amended Regional Emergency Declaration. This waiver expires when the Amended Declaration expires (October 5 or for the duration of the emergency, whichever is less).

FMCSA Expands Regional Declaration of Emergency to Additional States
On September 11, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) Southern and Midwestern Service Centers declared a regional state of emergency due to Hurricane Irma. FMCSA suspended certain operating requirements, including the hours of service (HOS) limitations, for drivers providing “direct assistance to the emergency,” including transporting supplies or people into or from affected areas.

This Declaration supplements previous declarations of emergency for certain southern and northeastern states. Affected States and jurisdictions included in this Declaration are: Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri and Ohio.  The Declaration is effective immediately and will remain in effect until October 10, or for the duration of the emergency, whichever is less. On September 7, FMCSA expanded its Regional Declaration of Emergency to cover additional states affected by Hurricane Irma, including Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia. The Declaration will remain in effect until October 6.

FMCSA Issues Regional Declaration of Emergency, Notice of Enforcement Discretion

On September 6, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Southern and Eastern Service Centers declared that an emergency exists due to Hurricane Irma. FMCSA suspended certain operating requirements, including the hours of service (HOS) limitations, for drivers providing “direct assistance to the emergency,” including transporting supplies or people into or from affected areas.

Affected States and jurisdictions included in the Declaration are: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands. 

The Declaration is effective immediately and will remain in effect until October 5, or for the duration of the emergency, whichever is less. 

FMCSA Issues Fee Waivers
On September 11, FMCSA published a notice that it will not be enforcing certain fee provisions, namely fees for temporary operating authority applications issued during an emergency, against motor carriers who are working to provide direct assistance to states affected by Hurricane Irma. Those states included in the notice are: Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, and Ohio. This waiver expires when the September 11 Regional Declaration of Emergency expires (October 10, or for the duration of the emergency, whichever is less).

On September 7, FMCSA published a notice that it will not be enforcing certain fee provisions, namely fees for temporary operating authority applications issued during an emergency, against motor carriers who are working to provide direct assistance to states affected by Hurricane Irma. Those states include: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia. The notice is in effect until the Declaration of Emergency from September 7 expires 

The terms of the notice last for the duration of the Regional Declaration of Emergency declared by FMCSA (October 5, or for the duration of the emergency, whichever is less).

Pipeline Waiver

FERC Approves Tariff Waiver for Colonial Pipeline
On September 8th, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) granted the Colonial Pipeline Company’s (Colonial) request for an waiver of certain requirements of its tariffs for petroleum products transportation service between origin points in the Gulf Coast region and destination points on its pipeline system throughout the Southern and Eastern Seaboard states. The waiver, which was temporarily granted on September 5th is in effect through September 15.

IRS Waivers

Tax Waivers
The IRS has recently announced that Hurricane Irma victims in Florida and Georgia “have until Jan. 31, 2018, to file certain individual and business tax returns and make certain tax payments.” This includes extensions for business deadlines such as the Oct. 31 deadline for quarterly payroll and excise tax returns. The IRS had previously granted tax relief to certain affected areas in Texas that were hit by Hurricane Harvey. 

IRS Will Not Penalize On-Road Dyed Diesel in Texas
On September 19, the Internal Revenue Service (URS) announced that it would expand a previously-issued waiver relating to diesel fuel, in which the IRS said that it would not penalize the use of dyed diesel fuel with sulfur content lower than 15 parts-per-million in Florida. Due to shortages of compliant Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD), the IRS will now expand the waiver to include fuel that has a sulfur content of 20 ppm or less, provided that uses of the fuel fully complies with certain IRS guidelines. According to the IRS, the “relief is effective from Sept. 13, through Sept. 22, 2017, or until such dyed diesel reserves are exhausted, whichever is earlier.” 

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced that in response to shortages of undyed diesel fuel caused by Hurricane Harvey it will not impose a penalty when dyed diesel fuel is sold for use or used on the highway. This expanded waiver area now covers the entire state of Texas.
 
This relief applies beginning Aug. 25, 2017, in the areas and counties for which EPA issued waivers for Texas Low Emission Diesel Fuel. Those areas and counties now include the entire state of Texas, an expansion of the original areas announced earlier.
 
This penalty relief is available to any person that sells or uses dyed fuel for highway use. In the case of the operator of the vehicle in which the dyed fuel is used, the relief is available only if the operator or the person selling the fuel pays the tax of 24.4 cents per gallon that is normally applied to diesel fuel for highway use. The IRS will not impose penalties for failure to make semi-monthly deposits of this tax. IRS Publication 510, Excise Taxes, has information on the proper method for reporting and paying the tax.
 
Ordinarily, dyed diesel fuel is not taxed, because it is sold for uses exempt from excise tax, such as to farmers for farming purposes, for home heating use and to local governments for buses.
 
Finally, consistent with the EPA waivers, this penalty waiver for dyed diesel is effective through Sept. 15, 2017. Also, consistent with the EPA waiver, this waiver does not apply to the Internal Revenue Code penalty for using adulterated fuels that do not comply with applicable EPA regulations. Consequently, diesel fuel with sulfur content higher than 15 parts-per-million may not be used in highway vehicles. 

HOS Waivers

FMCSA Issues Multi-State Emergency HOS Waiver
Late on August 31st, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a multi-state waiver to assist with emergency fuel relief due to damages from Hurricane Harvey. The hurricane has led to the closing of several refineries and interrupted pipeline delivery, which are expected to cause fuel shortages.  The waiver notes that “anticipated fuel shortages…will create a need for immediate transportation of fuel products.” As such, FMCSA is waiving the hours of service (HOS) requirements for motor carriers and drivers providing “direct assistance to the emergency relief effort” transporting fuel supplies through certain states, most of which are located on the East Coast and in the South.

Specifically, the waiver applies to the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia. 

The waiver will remain in effect until September 30, or the duration of the declared emergency, whichever is first. 

See statement from U.S. Department of Transportation on the HOS waiver

Waivers by State

Alabama

State of Emergency/HOS Waivers

On September 8, the Governor of Alabama declared a full state of emergency due to Hurricane Irma. The Proclamation directs “the appropriate state agencies to exercise their statutory authority to assist the communities and entities affected.”

Also on September 8, the Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Revenue temporarily suspended certain requirements “associated with the International Registration Plan (IRP) and International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) for any motor vehicle engaged in interstate disaster relief efforts in the State of Florida or traveling through the State of Alabama as part of the disaster relief.” The order is effective for 30 days. 

On August 30th, the Governor of Alabama declared a State of Emergency, facilitating a waiver from the HOS requirements for the transportation of petroleum products and petroleum-related supplies, goods, and services in and through the State of Alabama. The waiver is limited to the duration of the motor carrier's or driver's direct assistance in providing emergency relief or 30 days from this State of Emergency Proclamation, unless sooner terminated, or as otherwise specified in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's regulations, whichever is less.

Florida 

SNAP Waiver

Due to the severe storms and flooding caused by Hurricane Irma, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that effective immediately retail food stores in Florida licensed by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, may accept SNAP benefits in exchange for hot foods and foods intended to be consumed on retailer premises.

SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, is the program formerly known as food stamps. These special rules are in effect through September 30th. When hot foods are purchased with SNAP benefits through September 30th, the purchases will not be subject to sales tax. USDA encourages all SNAP authorized retail food stores in Florida to post a special notice in the store letting SNAP customers know that they can use their benefits to purchase hot foods. SIGMA alerted USDA to the situation on the ground in Florida and is pleased that USDA issued this hot foods waiver.

IRS Waiver

On September 11, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced that in response to shortages of undyed diesel fuel caused by Hurricane Irma it will not impose a penalty when dyed diesel fuel is sold for use or used on the highway in Florida. The relief is effective as of September 6th and will be in effect through September 22nd.  According to the IRS, this relief is "available to any person that sells or uses dyed fuel for highway use. In the case of the operator of the vehicle in which the dyed fuel is used, the relief is available only if the operator or the person selling the fuel pays the tax of 24.4 cents per gallon that is normally applied to diesel fuel for highway use."  As with the IRS's previous waiver for Texas, the IRS relief "does not apply to the Internal Revenue Code penalty for using adulterated fuels that do not comply with applicable EPA regulations. Consequently, diesel fuel with sulfur content higher than 15 parts-per-million may not be used in highway vehicles."

Fuel Waivers

EPA Extends Dyed Diesel Waiver for Florida
Late on September 21, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt extended the waiver for onroad use of dyed diesel fuel in Florida to ensure adequate fuel supplies across the state amid ongoing response efforts to Hurricane Irma. The waiver allows the use of 15 parts per million sulfur non-road diesel fuel for on-highway vehicles in Florida through October 6, 2017.

EPA Issues Florida NRLM Dyed Diesel Waiver
Late on September 6, EPA issued a waiver to allow the use of red-dyed 15 ppm “non-road locomotive and marine” (NRLM) diesel fuel in diesel-powered highway vehicles in the entire state of Florida.  According to EPA, it issued the waiver because the fuel supply situation in Florida and along evacuation routs remains impacted due to Hurricane Harvey, and the evacuations now underway due to Hurricane Irma have and will continue to deplete already constrained supplies of compliant diesel fuel in the state of Florida.

The waiver is effective immediately and will continue through September 22, 2017. 

Diesel fuel distributed under this waiver may not be introduced into terminal storage tanks from which diesel is dispensed into trucks for distribution to retail outlets after September 22, 2017. Any diesel meeting the conditions of the waiver that is stored in terminal storage tanks for distribution to retail outlets and wholesale purchase-consumers in Florida on September 22nd may be distributed and sold until the supply is depleted.  Retailers and wholesale purchasers-consumers in Florida may likewise continue selling or dispensing diesel fuel that meets the conditions of the waiver after September 22nd until their supplies are depleted. 

HOS Waivers

On September 4th in preparation for Hurricane Irma, Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for the entire state of Florida.

The order waives the hours of service and weight and size restrictions for commercial vehicles transporting emergency equipment, services, supplies, and agricultural commodities and citrus for the duration of the emergency. 

On September 5, 2017, Florida Governor Rick Scott suspended all tolls across the State of Florida. The intent is to allow people to more easily prepare for the storm or evacuate when necessary.  

Georgia

Fuel Waivers

On August 29th, EPA granted a request from Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and lifted low-volatility gasoline requirements for 13 Atlanta metro area counties allowing the sale of higher RVP gasoline through September 15th.  The 13 Georgia counties, include: Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, Paulding, and Rockdale.

State of Emergency/HOS Waivers

On September 10, Governor Nathan Deal expanded the  State of Emergency Declaration for Hurricane Irma to include the entire state of Georgia. The declaration is valid through September 17.

On August 30, Governor Nathan Deal declared a State of Emergency, suspending HOS regulations for three weeks (until September 20th) or until the emergency condition ceases to exist, whichever is less. Weight and height limits for commercial vehicles continue to apply. Permits for overweight/height vehicles are available from the Georgia Dept. of Public Safety.

Iowa

HOS Waiver

Due to Hurricane Irma, the Governor of Iowa on September 9 issued a disaster declaration, temporarily suspending hours of service, certain fuel tax licensing and permitting requirements, International Registration Plan requirements, and certain size and weight requirements under Iowa code for drivers assisting with the emergency. The disaster declaration will be in effect for 60 days (until November 8), but can be terminated earlier. 

Kansas

HOS Waivers

On August 30th, the Governor of Kansas issued an emergency declaration waiving HOS requirements for motor carriers and persons operating commercial motor vehicles directly participating in the relief and restoration effort related to Hurricane Harvey.  Overweight permits must still be obtained, however the fees associated with these permits are waived. The state of emergency will be in effect until September 30th.

Kentucky

HOS Waivers

On September 12, the Secretary of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet issued an order waiving certain weight and load requirements, as well as waives certain permit fees for drivers “providing relief supplies to and power restoration and debris removal for the areas affected by Hurricane Irma.” The order is in effect until September 27.

On August 29th, the Secretary of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet issued a Declaration of Emergency lifting Hours-of-Service (HOS) restrictions on drivers specifically transporting relief supplies, including fuel, to areas affected by Hurricane Harvey.  The Declaration will remain in effect until September 27th. The declaration also authorizes such motor carriers to travel through Kentucky without having to pay permit fees for oversize/overweight vehicles.  According to the Kentucky Office of Legal Services, only transportation of fuel as part of relief services to affected areas applies under the Declaration, fuel delivery in the normal course of business does not count. Drivers transporting goods through Kentucky under the Declaration will have to show that they are specifically delivering fuel as part of a state, nonprofit, or federal relief program and must have a copy of the Declaration with them. 

Louisiana

HOS Waivers

On August 25, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) issued a Regional Declaration of Emergency, suspending hours of service (HOS) limitations for drivers providing “direct assistance to the emergency” in Louisiana. Commercial drivers can drive over the normal 12-hour limit if their job length is related to the abnormal conditions caused by Hurricane Harvey. In addition, overweight restrictions have been waived. 

Fuel Waivers

On August 28th, EPA issued an emergency waiver of the Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) requirements for certain parishes in Louisiana through September 15th.  The affected parishes include: Beauregard, Calcasieu, Jefferson, Lafayette, Lafourche, Orleans, Pointe Coupee, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. James, St. Mary, and the five parishes of the Baton Rouge area (Ascension, East Baton Rouge, Iberville, Livingston, and West Baton Rouge). 

 

Maryland

HOS Waivers

On September 15, the Administrator of the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration temporarily suspended certain requirements associated with the International Registration Plan (IRP). Specifically, “the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration authorizes a temporary waiver of normal weight and width restrictions on roads controlled by Maryland Department of Transportation…to ensure that essential emergency relief supplies and support reach the affected areas in a timely manner.”

Affected areas are considered to be Florida or the Eastern Seaboard. The waiver will be in effect until October 6, or for the duration of the emergency, whichever is shorter.

Nebraska

HOS Waivers

On September 8, the Governor of Nebraska waived the hours of service requirements and certain size and weight requirements consistent with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) recent Emergency Declaration, which granted relief from certain federal hours of service and size and weight requirements. The governor also suspended specific requirements relating to trip permits and fuel tax permits. 

The order is intended to assist drivers providing emergency relief to “impacted areas in the States of Texas, Louisiana, Florida and any other states directly impacted by Hurricane Harvey and/or Irma.” The order will remain in effect until September 30.

New Jersey

Permit Waivers

On September 7, the Chairman and Chief Administrator of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission waived certain requirements of the International Registration Plan (IRP) and International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) due to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Specifically, the order waives requirement that “Trip Permits” be obtained by out-of-state motor carriers who are attempting to provide relief to Texas, Louisiana, and Florida. The waiver may also be expanded to include motorists traveling to provide relief to other states, “should a State of Emergency be declared by any other state.” The order will be in effect until October 1, 2017.

North Carolina

HOS Waivers

North Carolina HOS Waiver and Emergency Declaration
On September 6, the Governor of North Carolina issued two Executive Orders, one declaring a state of emergency for all 100 counties in the state, and a second order waiving various motor vehicle regulations in response to Hurricane Irma. Specifically, the governor waived “the maximum hours of service for drivers,” as well as certain registration, size, and weight restrictions. The intent is to allow freer flow of vehicles providing assistance to the emergency, including transporting goods such as fuels, food, water, and medical supplies.

The HOS waiver will remain in effect for 30 days, or for the duration of the emergency, whichever is less. The declaration of emergency will remain in effect until it is rescinded. 

On August 31st, the Governor of North Carolina issued a Declaration of a State of Emergency, waiving HOS restrictions and certain weight and size restrictions for vehicles transporting gasoline and other petroleum products to areas within North Carolina and for vehicles transporting emergency relief or services for Hurricane Harvey to Texas and Louisiana.  

Upon request by law enforcement officers, exempted vehicles must produce documentation sufficient to establish their loads are being used for relief efforts associated with transporting gasoline, other petroleum products or for emergency relief efforts associated with Hurricane Harvey.

The declaration is in effect until September 30.

South Carolina

HOS Waivers

On September 8, the Secretary of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet waived the hours of service requirements for motorists involved in transporting relief supplies, including “food, water, medicine, petroleum, petroleum products, and other commodities,” to areas affected by Hurricane Irma. All “economic requirements” including certain fees for oversized/overweight vehicles and IRP Registration requirements were also waived for covered drivers. Drivers attempting to operate under the terms of the Declaration must have a copy of the Declaration with them. The Declaration will remain in effect until September 27.

On September 6, South Carolina Governor McMaster issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency due to Hurricane Irma. The order directs that "all prudent preparations be taken at the individual, local, and state levels to protect against the possible effects of Hurricane Irma." The order will remain in effect until "rescinded or otherwise amended."

On September 6, Governor McMaster also issued an executive order suspending regulations that "restrict certain registration, permitting, length, width, weight, load, and hours of service requirements." The hours of service suspension will expire on October 6, 2017, while certain permitting, size, and weight requirement waivers will be in effect for 120 days, until January 4, 2018.

On August 31st, the Governor of South Carolina declared a state of emergency, suspending the federal rules and regulations that restrict certain registration, permitting, length, width, weight, load, and hours of service requirements to ensure the uninterrupted supply, distribution, and delivery of petroleum products and other fuels, as well as the efficient use of gasoline for delivery of any item. The declaration is in effect until September 30.

Tennessee

HOS Waivers

On September 10, the Governor of Tennessee issued an executive order suspending certain size restrictions for vehicles providing “disaster relief efforts” to Alabama, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, or Virginia. The order states that drivers “are responsible for ensuring that they have proper oversize load signs.”

The order will remain in effect until November 8.

Texas

HOS Waivers

On August 23rd, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued a Declaration of Emergency for counties that will be affected by the landfall of Hurricane Harvey.

The disaster declaration initially applied only to the following counties: Aransas, Austin, Bee, Calhoun, Chambers, Colorado, Brazoria, DeWitt, Fayette, Fort Bend, Galveston, Goliad, Gonzales, Harris, Jackson, Jefferson, Jim Wells, Karnes, Kleberg, Lavaca, Liberty, Live Oak, Matagorda, Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio, Victoria, Waller, Wharton, and Wilson. Governor Abbott subsequently added the following counties to his initial declaration: Atascosa, Bexar, Brazos, Caldwell, Cameron, Comal, Grimes, Guadalupe, Hardin, Jasper, Kerr, Lee, Leon, Madison, Montgomery, Newton, Tyler, Walker, Washington, Willacy, Bastrop, Burleson, Polk, San Jacinto, Angelina, Orange, Sabine, and Trinity. There is not yet an expiration date for the Declaration. 

Based on this declaration, as well as the emergency declaration in Louisiana, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) issued a Regional Declaration of Emergency on August 25, suspending hours of service (HOS) limitations for drivers providing “direct assistance to the emergency” in Texas. Commercial drivers can drive over the normal 12-hour limit if their job length is related to the abnormal conditions caused by Hurricane Harvey. In addition, overweight restrictions have been waived. 

Fuel Waivers

On September 13, due to the continuing effects of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the EPA extended two fuel waivers affecting the State of Texas. First, a waiver regarding certain Texas Low Emission Diesel (TxLED) requirements was extended to October 1. In explaining its decision, EPA noted that, “the suppliers of required additives under the TxLED program have been unable to adequately supply the additives to terminals and refineries due to emergency operations.” The Agency also states that regulated parties will be allowed to use “federally-compliant 15 parts per million ULSD” in the TxLED counties through October 1. The waiver was set to expire on September 15. 

EPA also extended a waiver that will allow regulated parties to “produce, sell, or distribute conventional gasoline in any RFG covered area in Texas” through October 1. In addition, EPA extended a waiver of low Reid Vapor Pressure requirements in Eastern Texas until October 1. According to EPA, the extension will “be in effect until the end of the time period that requires the use of low volatility gasoline in certain areas in Texas.” As such, covered areas will be allowed to continue selling winter gasoline due to “limited production and availability of low volatility gasoline.”

For the complete list of affected counties, see below.

On August 25th, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced fuel waivers in areas of Texas affected by Hurricane Harvey, granting a request from the State of Texas to waive the requirements for reformulated gasoline (RFG), Reid vapor pressure (RVP), and Texas Low Emission Diesel (TxLED) that apply in some of the counties covered by Governor Abbott's Disaster Proclamation.  

On August 26th, EPA received a second request from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality made on behalf of Governor Abbot to expand the scope of the waiver to address a fuel supply emergency caused by refinery shutdowns, flooding, and evacuations associated with Hurricane Harvey to include the four-county Dallas-Fort Worth RFG area, the 98 counties that are required to use low RVP fuel, and the entire 110-county area required to use TxLED.  EPA concluded that an "extreme and unusual fuel supply circumstance" resulting from the hurricane warranted granting the second waiver request through September 15th

The low-RVP counties are as follows: Jefferson, Orange, and Hardin counties, as well as Anderson, Angelina, Aransas, Atascosa, Austin, Bastrop, Bee, Bell, Bexar, Bosque, Bowie, Brazos, Burleson, Caldwell, Calhoun, Camp, Cass, Cherokee, Colorado, Comal, Cooke, Coryell, De Witt, Delta, Ellis, Falls, Fannin, Fayette, Franklin, Freestone, Goliad, Gonzales, Grayson, Gregg, Grimes, Guadalupe, Harrison, Hays, Henderson, Hill, Hood, Hopkins, Houston, Hunt, Jackson, Jasper, Johnson, Karnes, Kaufman, Lamar, Lavaca, Lee, Leon, Limestone, Live Oak, Madison, Marion, Matagorda, McLennan, Milam, Morris, Nacogdoches, Navarro, Newton, Nueces, Panola, Parker, Polk, Rains, Red River, Refugio, Robertson, Rockwall, Rusk, Sabine, San Jacinto, San Patricio, San Augustine, Shelby, Smith, Somervell, Titus, Travis, Trinity, Tyler, Upshur, Van Zandt, Victoria, Walker, Washington, Wharton, Williamson, Wilson, Wise, and Wood.

The TxLED counties are as follows: All low-RVP counties (above) are also TxLED, as well as the Houston-Galveston-Brazoria area (the counties of Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery and Waller) and additional counties in the Dallas-Fort Worth area (including Collin, Dallas, Denton, and Tarrant).

The RFG areas include the Houston-Galveston-Brazoria area (the counties of Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery and Waller); and the Dallas-Fort Worth RFG area consisting of Collins, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant counties.

On August 29th, EPA granted the state of Texas its third fuel waiver due to Harvey, waiving highway diesel requirements and allowing the use of off-road diesel through September 15th in all of Texas.

SNAP Waivers

Texas D-SNAP Relief
On September 11, the Texas state Department of Health and Human Services announced that it will begin offering disaster food relief, commonly known as D-SNAP, for victims of Hurricane Harvey.  The D-SNAP application period will begin on Wednesday, September 13, through Tuesday, September 19,in 11 counties: Dewitt, Gonzalez, Jasper, Karnes, Kleberg, Lavaca, Matagorda, Newton, Orange, Sabine and Tyler. Applicants may only apply at the site designated for the county they resided in at the time of the disaster. Application sites will operate from 8am - 7pm each day of the application period.  Eligible households will receive 2 months of D-SNAP benefits.

The Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program provides short-term food benefits for eligible families recovering from a disaster. D-SNAP is available to eligible people who are residents of one of the counties with a federal disaster declaration and weren’t receiving benefits through regular SNAP at the time of the disaster. Recipients will be given a Lone Star Card that will be loaded within three days with funds to purchase food from most grocery stores.

On August 27th, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that effective immediately retail food stores in Texas licensed by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, may accept SNAP benefits in exchange for hot foods and foods intended to be consumed on retailer premises. 

SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, is the program formerly known as food stamps.

These special rules are in effect through September 30th. When hot foods are purchased with SNAP benefits through September 30th, the purchases will not be subject to sales tax.  USDA encourages all SNAP authorized retail food stores in Texas to post a special notice in the store letting SNAP customers know that they can use their benefits to purchase hot foods.

See here for further information on the SNAP emergency waiver.

Virginia

HOS Waivers

On September 7, the Governor of Virginia issued an Executive Order declaring a state of emergency for the Commonwealth of Virginia. It provides limited relief from certain vehicle weight and size restrictions, as well as “recognizes the exemption for hours of service by any carrier when transporting essential emergency relief supplies,” including people, food, fuel, and other supplies. The executive order will remain in effect until June 30, 2018, though certain motor carrier waivers will only apply for 30 days or “until emergency relief is no longer necessary.”

The order also authorizes the Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services to grant a temporary waiver of the maximum vapor pressure prescribed in Virginia law and instead “prescribe a vapor pressure limit the Commissioner deems reasonable.” The temporary waiver will remain in effect until relief is no longer necessary.

 Wisconsin

HOS and Fee Waivers

On September 8, the Governor of Wisconsin issued an Executive Order declaring a State of Emergency and waiving hours of service (HOS) requirements for drivers “providing direct emergency relief and assistance relating to Hurricane Irma.” The order also notes that the Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation has waived certain fees relating to trip permits.