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Gov. Lee signs order allowing the fuel drivers to work longer hours during severe winter storm

Gov. Bill Lee signed Executive Order 76 on Tuesday, in order to ensure that the state has enough fuel to heat homes and businesses through extreme winter weather.

Governor Bill Lee declared a state of emergency in Tennessee on Tuesday, in response to severe winter weather which damaged utilities and caused several power outages.

He signed Executive Order 76 which declared an "energy emergency" in Tennessee. The order is meant to ensure that fuel resources can be transported quickly throughout the state so that homes and businesses can stay warm during the storm.

It exempts drivers of propane gas, petroleum fuels and other heating fuels from federal rules limiting how long they can work. It also allows people who transport utility supplies and utility crews to work longer during the severe winter weather.

Workers still need to have commercial driver's licenses to transport resources. Operators also still need to follow the size and weight limits from the federal government. Carriers also cannot allow sick or tired drivers to work. If a driver notifies carriers that they need rest, the carrier should give them at least 10 hours of off-duty time.

The order will expire on Feb. 26, lasting for 10 days.

"Many Tennesseans rely on fuel to keep their homes and businesses running, which is critical during freezing weather," Lee said in a post on Facebook. "Executive Order 76 ensures an uninterrupted supply of heating fuel by allowing maximum transportation flexibility for the energy sector."