Gillespie said Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam would not be available for comment and instead suggested Local 6 contact “local legislators or your local emergency management, who might be able to speak better to the topic.”
Local emergency management also declined to go on camera with Local 6, instead emailing the following statement:
“Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has statutory responsibilities related to commercial dispensing systems and implementation (and enforcement) of the standby electric system statutes. Department of Environmental Protection separately has duties related to fuel storage tanks. Only DACS and DEP can provide the most current info as they routinely perform their required fuel facility inspections.
Also note that DACS and DEP field staff indicate that very few fuel stations have permanently installed gensets. The statute only requires installation of genset prewire standby system. The fuel station owner/operator is responsible for providing a genset when needed.
This is not an issue that DEM has authority so I would recommend the EM Directors let the reporter know to contact DACS or DEP.”
Local 6 reached out to Congressman Bill Posey and Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, who both helped craft the legislation, but did not receive a response.
Former Congresswoman and State Representative Sandy Adams, who also helped write the law, did agree to go on camera.
"Where are they going to get a generator after a storm hits?” Local 6 asked Adams.
“Well I would hope they would reconsider their thought process on that,” Adams replied.
Adams said instead of buying a generator, gas stations could contract with a company that would deliver one after a storm.
"If there's no damage and the only thing that's there is no power, and they have the ability to hook up that generator and pour that fuel out, think about the generators that could run off that fuel. That could be life-saving,” said Adams.
Adams believes it's a station owner's moral responsibility to open and sell gas after a hurricane, if it's safe to do so.
"It's not one of those things where we're requiring them to take chances to go back to open up, but if they can open up, and they have the ability to pull that fuel out, and help the people in the community on the recovery end, I think that's very important,” said Adams. “You have the ability to help your community, wouldn't you want to?"
Owners with more than 10 gas stations are required by law to have access to a generator, but this doesn't apply to individually owned gas stations, Gulamali's.