Truckers can drive longer hours to deal with UP gas emergency

Even under the best of circumstances, it’s a long haul for truckers delivering gasoline and certain other petroleum products to the interior of Michigan’s central and western Upper Peninsula.

The closest pipeline terminal is in Green Bay, Wisconsin, where lots of Yoopers go to shop when they want a change of pace from what Marquette, Michigan has to offer.

Green Bay is a long drive from places like Marquette, Escanaba and Iron Mountain in the central UP. It’s a bit shorter from places like Houghton and Ironwood on the western end of the UP. Check it out on a map.

All of these places depend on gasoline haulers that fill up at the Green Bay pipeline terminal.

Well, the Green Bay pipeline terminal is on the fritz. The next closest pipeline terminals are in Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin, which are several hours south of Green Bay.

What was a long haul for gasoline tankers is now an even longer one, so much so, that truckers are having trouble keeping in line with state and federal regulations that dictate how long they can be on the road before taking a required break. And that means they’re falling behind on their delivery schedules.

You don’t want sleepy-eyed truckers driving two-lane highways pulling several thousands of gallons of gas, diesel fuel and jet fuel behind them. Jet fuel? Yes, Marquette has an international airport serviced by major airlines.

But the wheels of commerce, not to mention the wheels on UP residents’ and vacationers’ cars, must keep turning.

So, the solution is to turn a blind eye toward regulations that limit the number of hours in a day that truckers can legally operate their rigs.

Gov. Rick Snyder has declared an “imminent energy emergency.” Executive Order No. 2012-12 suspends “state and federal regulations relating to hours-of-service for motor carriers and drivers transporting gasoline, diesel fuel and jet fuel to address transportation needs arising from the impact of this energy emergency.”

There’s plenty of legal authority that allows him to do that. The wisdom of doing that is a debatable topic.

But, one way or another, the gas will get through.

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