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NYC loosens heating oil regs to boost supply after storm

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York City temporarily lifted green low-sulfur requirements for heating oil in a bid to increase the fuel supply after Hurricane Sandy caused massive disruptions to the city's transport system.

A day after a storm system blew snow into the city, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg waived the requirement that buildings and homes in the city utilize heating oil with a sulfur with less than 0.15 parts per million.

In addition, the city streamlined permitting for emergency boiler repairs and replacements. The waivers are in effect through December 7.

"These new temporary guidelines will help accelerate the supply of heating oil and expedite boiler repairs in homes and businesses impacted by the storm," said Mayor Bloomberg.

Hurricane Sandy shuttered refineries, pipelines, and terminals last week, damaging some infrastructure with flooding and high winds. Fuel shortages emerged shortly after. Motorists in New York and New Jersey near the metropolitan area had to hunt for stocked gasoline stations with power, often lining up for hours to buy fuel.

The disruptions in heating oil and gasoline supplies were exacerbated by low regional inventories leading into the storm.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also temporarily waived clean gasoline requirements in across the eastern seaboard as part of wider efforts by government officials to increase fuel supplies to the region.

(Reporting by Matthew Robinson; Editing by David Gregorio)

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