Oregon Department of Energy Publishes Oregon’s Fuel Action Plan for Responding to Fuel Shortages or Disruptions in the State

Jennifer Kalez, 503-480-9239

SALEM — The Oregon Department of Energy published today its Fuel Action Plan, which outlines Oregon’s emergency response procedures for petroleum issues affecting the state. The plan includes action steps the Oregon Department of Energy will take in the event of a small or large-scale fuel shortage or disruption.

The agency developed the plan in partnership with fellow state agencies, federal agencies, tribes, utilities, and cities and counties. The plan details the nine action steps the state would take after an emergency to help Oregon acquire and distribute fuel to critical services such as law enforcement, fire, and medical teams, and to essential service providers that include utilities, telecommunications, public works, public transit, and sanitation services.

The Oregon Department of Energy’s fuel planning efforts date back to the nationwide fuel crisis of the 1970s. Today, planning efforts focus on potential threats to the region’s petroleum infrastructure and on the resources and tools needed to support recovery efforts. In the Pacific Northwest, the most likely catastrophic event is a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake. “A Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake would devastate Oregon’s fuel supply and distribution system,” said ODOE Emergency Program Manager Deanna Henry. “One hundred percent of Oregon’s petroleum-based fuel comes from outside of the state, and most of it is delivered and stored at a fuel hub in Portland. After an earthquake, Pacific Northwest refineries, Portland’s fuel hub, and our pipeline distribution system will be offline. Oregon’s Fuel Action Plan is our guide so we can acquire and allocate fuel as our state recovers.”

The plan is based on a worst-case scenario, but can be scaled up or down based on Oregon’s needs. The Oregon Department of Energy put smaller-scale steps into action over the summer while planning for an influx of visitors during the total solar eclipse, as well as in response to wildfires that affected travel and fuel deliveries along Oregon’s highways.

“This plan is a living document,” continued Henry. “As we practice our responses and learn more about Oregon’s needs, our action steps will evolve so our state becomes more resilient.”

Oregon’s Fuel Action Plan is available on the Oregon Department of Energy’s website. Henry also recently sat down for a more in-depth interview about the Fuel Action Plan in the agency’s latest Grounded podcast episode. The episode is available to stream or download on SoundCloud, iTunes, and other subscription services.