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HB 1057 to create a strategic fuel reserve in Alexandria

Addressing fuel shortages experienced during natural disasters
Alena Noakes discusses a bill that looks to utilize the Central Louisiana Regional Port in Alexandria.
Published: May. 6, 2022 at 6:46 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - One of the major issues immediately prior to and resulting from natural disasters centers around fuel shortages, as people are usually scrambling to fill up gas tanks for cars and generators.

That is an issue House Bill 1057 aims to alleviate in Louisiana, providing fuel security during a time of crisis.

The bill’s author, Rep. Daryl Deshotel (R-District 28), is using Alexandria’s Central Louisiana Regional Port as the catalyst for aid. The port is located about 200 miles from every major metropolitan area in the state, and it often escapes major devastation even though it is the southernmost port outside of hurricane-force winds, making it an ideal spot for a strategic reserve.

“We’re going to have those tanks full of fuel, so when something happens, we’ll be able to get the fuel out to the gas stations and get it to the people who need to recover, or rebuild or even evacuate,” said Deshotel.

In the process, the port will not only remain beneficial for Central Louisiana, but it will become a source of relief for the entire state.

”What this does is it gives surety that they’re gonna have the supply here when they need it,” said Ben Russo, executive director for CLRP. “And a lot of the times it’s overcoming that initial big push, being able to get to that to where then everything gets back up and everything gets running. That’s one of the big parts of having this is that they know that they have the ability to have this whenever they need it.”

The port has existed since 1987, but it has only recently expanded its operations in the past five years. Part of that expansion includes fuel distribution structures. The already-existing facilities include an off-loading site, pipelines, fuel tanks and an on-loading site for trucks picking up oil and gas for distribution.

“We’ve gone through a long period of time of building this up, and we’ve gotten to the point to where we can now piggyback onto what we’ve built up since 1987, to where the state and everybody else benefits from the infrastructure that we have,” said Russo.

Building upon the site will include the addition of three fuel tanks. Two will store about two million gallons of fuel each, and the third will store about half a million gallons.

“Having this reserve in Alexandria is going to serve so many people, and really build up that idea that we are an area where people can evacuate to and help serve others in that time of need,” said Susan Broussard, chief of staff for the City of Alexandria.

HB 1057 passed through the House Judiciary Committee and is now awaiting House consideration.

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