Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee declares energy emergency, provides exemption for commercial drivers

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File-This Nov. 10, 2020, file photo shows Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee speaks with reporters in Nashville, Tenn. Lee has tweeted that his wife has mild symptoms of COVID-19 after testing positive for the coronavirus. The Republican governor said Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020, that he has tested negative for the virus but will be quarantined at the Governor’s Residence out of an abundance of caution. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has signed an executive order declaring an energy emergency in the state as temperatures plunge.

“Many Tennesseans rely on fuel to keep their homes and businesses running, which is critical during freezing weather,” he tweeted Wednesday. “Executive Order 76 ensures an uninterrupted supply of heating fuel by allowing maximum transportation flexibility for the energy sector.”

The executive order provides a temporary exemption from federal rules and regulations that limit how long a driver can work when carrying heating supplies and utility crews. The exemption will last for the next 10 days, expiring on February 26.

Desoto County and the city of Memphis have also declared emergencies due to the weather.

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