Marco Rubio, Rick Scott Request Temporary Waivers to Address Gasoline Shortage in South Florida

Due to a historic flooding event on April 12, the distribution of fuel in South Florida has been obstructed and delayed, causing long lines and frustration among Floridians.

At the end of last week, U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio R-Fla., and Rick Scott, R-Fla., sent a letter to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan supporting the immediate approval of the state of Florida’s request for temporary waivers to certain requirements for fuel to prevent additional disruptions to gasoline and fuel supplies.

The letter is below.

Dear Administrator Regan:

April 21, 2023

We write to urge you to expeditiously approve the State of Florida’s request for temporary waivers of gasoline Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) and blendstock requirements for fuel in South Florida pursuant to the Clean Air Act (CAA) in all counties requested by the State. Approving these temporary waivers will allow delayed deliveries of non-summertime fuels to reach consumers, and prevent additional cascading impacts on gasoline and fuel supplies in South Florida.

On April 12, 2023, parts of Broward County, Florida received as much as 25 inches of rain in mere hours, severely inundating the county’s urban areas with flood waters. In addition to flooding homes, businesses, and transportation arteries, the flooding impeded operations at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, which accounts for importing approximately 40 percent of all petroleum fuels into the State of Florida. The flooding damaged all of Port Everglades’ twelve fuel terminals, and several have taken over a week to be brought back into service. The distribution of non-summertime fuels, which typically ends on May 1st, has been obstructed and delayed as a result.

Because of this, fuel distributors will not be able to distribute all of the remaining non- summertime fuel that is currently on-hand at the port prior to the enforcement of seasonal RVP and blending restrictions that begin May 1. Not allowing the postponement of these requirements for all requested areas would cause additional long-term disruptions to the distribution of gasoline and other fuels from Port Everglades, as volumes of this on-hand non-summertime fuel would not be usable. This would burden Floridians with cascading price spikes at the pump and shortages of gasoline and other fuels, imposing additional inflationary pressures on Florida families and businesses, and harm Florida’s economy. This would be an unacceptable outcome.

As such, we request the prompt approval of the State of Florida’s CAA temporary waiver requests for all counties requested by the State to help Floridians recover from this historic weather event, and the challenges it has caused.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

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