The Next Big One: Panic at the pump

In the days and weeks following Superstorm Sandy, residents across Long Island were faced with a gas shortage that had not been seen in decades. Long Islanders saw closed gas stations on every corner

News 12 Staff

Jul 31, 2013, 1:00 AM

Updated 3,945 days ago

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The Next Big One: Panic at the pump

In the days and weeks following Superstorm Sandy, residents across Long Island were faced with a gas shortage that had not been seen in decades. Long Islanders saw closed gas stations on every corner and gas lines that stretched for blocks at every station that managed to remain open following the storm. So what is being done to keep the fuel flowing if the next big one hits?

Experts who spoke with News 12 Long Island say if another powerful hurricane were to hit the area, another gas shortage should be expected. "We are, in essence, in the same place we were last October," says Robert Sinclair, of AAA.

Sandy knocked out 90 percent of the waterside terminals in New York Harbor, which handles fuel deliveries from tankers and pipelines to our area. Sinclair says almost nothing has been done to stormproof those terminals in the aftermath of Sandy.

Many in the oil industry have been vague on how they expect to improve hurricane preparedness plans.

New Jersey-based NuStar Energy, however, opened up to News 12 about how it's spending tens of millions of dollars to prepare for the next big storm. Among other changes, the company says it is raising the dykes that are meant to keep a storm surge from entering the facility. During Sandy, the surge did breach NuStar Energy's dykes and caused damage to some of its tanks.

A spokeswoman for the oil industry in New York said she couldn't say what specific storm improvements the rest of the terminals in New York Harbor are making, only that improvements industrywide are underway.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently signed a law called Fuel New York, which requires many gas stations to have generators or the ability to be powered by one if another big storm hits Long Island.

Critics of the law say the program won't go into full effect until next year, leaving Long Island vulnerable as this hurricane season progresses.

What else is being done to make sure Long Island is ready for the next big one? Tune in tomorrow for Part 3 of our series, when News 12's Jill Wagner takes a look at what can be done to protect the Long Island coast and those who live near it from the next big one.


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