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Storm panel: Create fuel reserve, mandate backup power at some gas stations

People wait in line with their gas cans

People wait in line with their gas cans at a station in Deer Park. (Nov. 1, 2012) Photo Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas

To better prepare for hurricanes and other storms, New York should create a strategic fuel reserve, require gasoline stations in key areas to have backup generators on-site, create a centralized emergency training program and use texting to send storm-related "geographic specific" information to residents, two state panels said Thursday.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who created the panels on storm readiness and disaster response, said he would incorporate some of the ideas in his 2013 agenda – to be unveiled next week in his State of the State address.

Cuomo said specifically he would propose a way to mandate that some gas stations have backup power – to prevent the long lines and customer panic seen after superstorm Sandy.

The panels provided no estimate of how much any of the proposals would cost.

Cuomo acknowledged that the proposals would be “very, very expensive.”

“But I believe it is essential and I’m willing to invest” state money into implementing some of the recommendations, the governor said.

The state, under a 1978 law, is supposed to update its storm response plans regularly – but that hasn’t happened.

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