State of Emergency Declared in Kentucky

KPMA notifies members of executive order implementing price-gouging law

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- The Kentucky Petroleum Marketers Association (KPMA) said on Monday that it had received a state of emergency and executive order implementing the price gouging law. This order was issued after a declaration of a state of emergency due to strong storms producing tornados, severe thunderstorms, heavy rainfall, flash flooding in theKentucky, as well as in Tennessee,resulting in loss of life and personal injury, it said in an emergency email notification.

This price gouging order is in effect throughout the entire state of Kentucky and generally runs for 30 [image-nocss] days, the group said.

"Basically, if you receive a price increase from your supplier for motor fuel, you may pass that along; however, if you increase prices "grossly in excess of the prices prior to the emergency" you are in violation of the order," it said.

Governor Steve Beshear confirmed yesterday at the Commonwealth Emergency Operations Center (CEOC) the issuance of an executive order, effective May 1, 2010 declaring a state of emergency in response to the severe storms and flooding that hit the Commonwealth over the weekend. There have been four confirmed deaths attributed to this latest storm system in Madison, Barren, Allen and Lincoln counties; 41 counties and 15 cities have issued emergency declarations either in writing or verbally. These numbers are likely to increase as recovery efforts continue.

"The safety of our citizens is my first priority," said Beshear. "That is why I urge individuals who encounter high waters to use extreme caution and avoid unnecessary contact with flood waters if at all possible. Our thoughts are especially with those who lost loved ones in the tragic deaths that have been attributed to the weekend's storms."

The declaration of emergency issued by the governor provides that:
The Division of Emergency Management operate the response and relief activities for the state, and the division is authorized to request needed federal assistance and consult with the American National Red Cross and local officials on the need for emergency shelters. The Adjutant General may issue active duty orders for the mobilization of needed National Guard personnel and equipment. The Finance and Administration Cabinet is directed to fund the urgent operational or response costs incurred in response to this emergency. Transportation on and access to any and all public roadways in the affected area may be restricted or prohibited in the interest of public health and safety. The Kentucky Community Crisis Response Board (KCCRB) is directed to activate its network of trained counselors to provide crisis response services. The executive order regarding price gouging implements certain provisions of law aimed toward protecting Kentucky consumers from price gouging. And attorney general Jack Conway notified business that gasoline and other product price gouging "would not be tolerated."

Earlier, Beshear spoke to President Barack Obama about the storms that hit Kentucky over the weekend. The governor is also in contact with officials from the federal Department of Homeland Security about the commonwealth's storm recovery efforts.

State officials across multiple state agencies have been coordinating the state's response, and continue to monitor conditions and provide assistance to individuals impacted by the heavy rains and flooding. The CEOC is operating at Level III and Kentucky Division of Emergency Management regional response managers are in the process of coordinating damage assessments with local officials to determine the scope of damage across the Commonwealth.

"Preliminary assessments indicate the largest impact is to infrastructure, which includes roadways and water/sewage treatment plants," said John W. Heltzel, director of the Division of Emergency Management. "We know there have been businesses and residents along many waterways that have experienced flooding and these numbers are likely to increase as run-off water continues."

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) officials have closed approximately 400 roads across the state and dozens more remain partially obstructed due to water, mud or rock slides and storm debris. A total of 76 counties have reported road closures.

More than 1,000 road crew members have been mobilized statewide and continue to work around the clock. With the rain ended, districts have begun damage assessments and a full assessment of damages to bridges and culverts will commence once waters recede.