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Law would require gas stations to have backup generators

People line up hoping to get them filled

People line up hoping to get them filled at a BP Station on Hempstead Avenue. Gas was becoming harder and harder to find after superstorm Sandy hit. (Nov. 1, 2012) (Credit: Newsday / Audrey C. Tiernan)

Hempstead Town board members will decide Tuesday on proposed legislation that would require gas stations to have backup generators in case of electrical outages — a superstorm Sandy-inspired effort to mitigate fuel shortages in the future.

The town board will meet at 10:30 a.m. in the Nathan L.H. Bennett Pavilion, adjacent to Hempstead Town Hall, on 1 Washington St. in Hempstead Village.

Under the proposed law, all newly constructed gas stations would be required to comply immediately, while existing gas station retailers would have until Jan. 15, 2015. Similar legislation was approved in Florida and Louisiana, town officials said, after hurricanes in those states.

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But town officials said in a November board meeting their decision would be reserved until they were able to revise the legislation, after several gas retailer advocates and station owners requested during a hearing that the board reconsider its proposed law.

Advocates argued that requiring expensive generators would pose an unfair financial burden on retailers and would result in steeper prices for consumers.

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