(AP) — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive order Saturday lifting some rules on fuel supply transportation in response to an Indiana oil refinery fire that could affect supply and prices in some Midwestern states.
Whitmer's order lifts caps and limits on the hours that motor carriers and drivers can drive if they are carrying gas and diesel. It also suspends some rules that will allow the state to access its fall gasoline supply early, although that order is contingent on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency making similar allowances.
BP said its refinery in Whiting, Indiana, along Lake Michigan's shoreline about 15 miles (24 kilometers) southeast of Chicago, experienced an electrical fire Wednesday. No one was hurt, and the fire was put out, but it forced at least part of the refinery to shut down, according to the company.
The refinery provides about 20% to 25% of the gasoline, jet fuel and diesel used by Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana and Illinois, Whitmer’s office said.
BP spokeswoman Christina Audisho said the company was working with local and state agencies to “monitor the impact” and was still assessing when affected units can restart.
The fire prompted the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on Wednesday to declare a regional emergency in the four affected Midwestern states that also lifted driver limits.
Whitmer's order remains in effect until Sept. 15 or through the “duration of of the supply challenges.”