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Governor demands airlines, fuel companies address Reno shortage

Updated July 24, 2021 - 6:39 pm

State and federal lawmakers say they are investigating a possible shortage of jet fuel that could delay cargo delivery and passenger travel at Reno-Tahoe International Airport in the coming days.

Gov. Steve Sisolak, Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen and Rep. Mark Amodei released a joint statement Saturday.

“We learned earlier this week of potential jet fuel shortages that could delay cargo delivery and passenger travel at Reno-Tahoe International Airport in coming days,” the statement said. “The governor and congressional delegation expect the airlines and fuel companies to make options available to them to help support the public. To be clear, further failure to secure adequate fuel supplies is unacceptable.”

A news release said the four have been working together to triage the situation to avoid and minimize disruption for passengers and ensure critical operations, including the delivery of essential goods into the state.

“We are currently speaking to all responsible parties to understand how this situation occurred and prevent future shortages, but our immediate focus is on ensuring resources to combat western wildfires are not impacted and that there is as little disruption as possible for Nevadans and visitors who depend on reliable air service.”

Airport authorities said high demand for travel, a runway construction project, a lack of available space in the fuel pipeline and a shortage of fuel truck drivers are all making for the perfect storm.

All the factors could result in changes to some flights out of Reno as soon as Friday, reported News4 in Reno.

Elsewhere, Wyoming’s governor is allowing truck drivers to work longer hours while they deliver fuel that might be needed for firefighting aircraft.

So far this summer, Wyoming hasn’t had significant fuel shortages or major wildfires. Gov. Mark Gordon’s office described Tuesday’s executive order as a preemptive measure due to high fuel demand amid record tourism and firefighting efforts elsewhere.

“Part of the reason he signed the executive order was really to make sure that it wasn’t a transportation hiccup that was preventing fuel from making it to its destination,” Gordon spokesman Michael Pearlman told the Casper Star-Tribune.

Other Western governors including South Dakota’s Kristi Noem have signed similar orders.

Government rules usually limit truck drivers’ road hours to prevent fatigue-related accidents. The Wyoming order still prohibits truck drivers from driving when tired.

Contact Marvin Clemons at mclemons@reviewjournal.com. Follow @Marv_in_Vegas on Twitter. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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