Mission Moon Pie: A Fuel Disruption Tabletop Exercise


On August 7, 2019, TDEC OEP, in collaboration with TEMA and the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO), conducted Mission Moon Pie: A Fuel Shortage Exercise and Workshop with nearly 70 participants from four federal agencies, six state agencies, and seven local governments, as well as five different private sector fuel partners and three non-governmental organizations.

“After the Nashville-area fuel shortage in 2016, we wanted to gather stakeholders to promote awareness on key issues and become better prepared for a long-term fuel disruption in the region,” said Ben Bolton, Senior Energy Programs Administrator for TDEC OEP and Tennessee’s primary emergency services coordinator for Emergency Support Function 12—Energy. “This exercise was a major step forward in developing a better emergency response at all levels of government.”

Energy representatives from Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania convened with federal, state, local government, and industry colleagues to discuss strengthening energy resiliency and emergency response to situations like fuel shortages and cybersecurity threats. States identified agency roles and responsibilities, improved communication and coordination in the event of a fuel shortage, and developed response options for extended fuel shortages.

Throughout the day, attendees heard from experts regarding the following topics: U.S. DOE’s federal emergency response role and associated preparedness efforts; TVA’s electricity grid hardening projects; the TN Department of Safety and Homeland Security’s cybersecurity planning efforts; and OEP’s role in tracking Tennessee’s fuel supply chain during emergencies.

Participants also exercised complex, but plausible, disaster scenarios involving cyberattacks, power outages, severe weather, and a prolonged fuel shortage. The scenarios were developed by OEP and NASEO and distributed to participants via a Situation Manual. Group report-outs and plenary discussions provided participants with the opportunity to share feedback regarding potential actions their federal, state, local, and industry colleagues may take during such emergencies. These valuable insights were captured in an After Action Report, which will continue to inform Tennessee’s preparedness and response efforts.

The Situation Manual contains helpful references regarding the petroleum sector and may be made available to other state energy offices and emergency management agencies. In 2020, U.S. DOE highlighted the event as a Success Story: Southeastern States Plan for Emergency Response and Workforce Development.

Please direct questions on the exercise and workshop to Ben Bolton, Senior Energy Programs Administrator, TDEC OEP, at Ben.Bolton@tn.gov or 615-306-5908.

TEMA Director Patrick Sheehan (center) discusses fuel shortage response strategies with Emily LeRoy (right), executive director of the Tennessee Fuel and Convenience Store Association, and Rick Beals (left), the now-retired emergency services coordinator for the Tennessee Department of Transportation. Photo courtesy TEMA.