By Carey Gillam
(Reuters) - U.S. biofuel providers are being allowed to reroute critical supplies to New Jersey to help alleviate shortages caused by Hurricane Sandy, two U.S. Senators said Tuesday.
A barge bearing 17.6 million gallons of fuel should arrive into New Jersey by Thursday following an easing of rules approved by Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson that had been requested by U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg and Sen. Robert Menendez, both Democrats from New Jersey.
The senators said the EPA approved the request to temporarily alter biofuel delivery rules at East Coast shipping facilities to open alternative delivery routes into the storm-damaged state.
"We need to get fuel flowing into New Jersey, and the EPA's decision to allow fuel to be rerouted to New Jersey is an important step toward getting our state moving again," the senators said in a statement.
Hurricane Sandy brought catastrophic flooding, power outages and structural damage across the U.S. East when it slammed ashore October 29, killing more than 100 people and destroying or damaging thousands of homes.
Fuel terminals across New Jersey suffered damage, meaning millions of gallons of biofuels have been unable to reach the state.
The senators said other terminals along the East Coast, including facilities in Baltimore, Maryland, could receive train shipments and transfer the fuel to barges bound for New Jersey. But some of the facilities do not meet EPA requirements for handling such shipments, and the senators had asked the EPA temporarily waive such requirements.
On November 3, the EPA temporarily waived federal clean diesel fuel requirements in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and in and around New York City to allow the use of home heating oil in certain vehicles for emergency response.
(Reporting By Carey Gillam; Editing by M.D. Golan)