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U.S. pulls energy punches post-Sandy

Nov. 6, 2012 at 6:14 AM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, Nov. 6 (UPI) -- The U.S. Department of Transportation said it is establishing an interstate team to coordinate fuel deliveries to areas affected by Hurricane Sandy.

The storm struck the eastern United States last week as a Category 1 hurricane. The death toll associated with the storm has topped 100 while millions of people are without electricity and having to deal with fuel shortages in the region.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said he was leading an interstate transport team to ensure fuel supplies get to areas affected by the storm.

"The president has asked us to ensure fuel moves as quickly as possible and we are answering that call," he said in a statement.

LaHood said the Transportation Department would coordinate with state officials to get waivers for driver hours-of-service and other requirements that aren't under the authority of the federal government.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu said, following a trip to New York and New Jersey, getting power restored in the wake of Sandy was a top priority. By late Monday, the Energy Department said there were around 1.3 million customers along the East Coast without electricity.

This week, the government waived a series of shipping and environmental restrictions to ensure energy supplies are sufficient for storm-hit areas. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said he was monitoring reports of price-gouging on basic goods and services.

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