The governors of several Eastern states have declared states of emergencies over gas shortages as the Colonial Pipeline — which supplies 45% of all fuel to the East Coast — remains shut down after being hit with a cyberattack over the weekend.
But officials say the shortages are due to panic-buying, not an actual lack of gas.
What are the details?
On Tuesday, Gov. Roy Cooper (D) of North Carolina, Gov. Brian Kemp (R) of Georgia, and Gov. Ralph Northam (D) of Virginia all declared states of emergency as long lines at pumps and rising gas prices hit their states amid shortages and runs on fueling stations.
Kemp said in a statement:
“Today, I signed an executive order suspending the gas tax in Georgia to help with higher prices as a result of the Colonial cyberattack. We are working closely with Colonial and expect for them to recover by the end of the week,” Kemp said, adding, “Unfortunately, extensive media coverage has caused people to panic, which has resulted in higher gas prices.”
Newsweek reported that according to “energy data collection website Gas Buddy said that five states—Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia—collectively saw gasoline demand skyrocket more than 40 percent on Monday alone.”
On Sunday, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced a regional emergency declaration in response to the cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline, which the FBI confirmed the next day “was a ransomware attack carried out by criminals belonging to the group known as DarkSide,” Fox Business reported.
The Washington Examiner noted that the states impacted by the hack include: Alabama, Arkansas, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said during a media briefing Tuesday that the southeastern states are not experiencing shortages, but rather, are facing a “supply crunch.”
“It’s not that we have a gasoline shortage,” Granholm said, according to KXEL-AM. “It’s that we have this supply crunch, and that things will be back to normal soon, and that we’re asking people not to hoard.”
Granholm added, “We have gasoline. We just have to get it to the right places.”
Energy Sec. Jennifer Granholm says that the current gasoline situation is a “supply crunch,” not a “gasoline shortage.” pic.twitter.com/KL6PX9FIqf
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) May 11, 2021
The Secretary of Energy then conceded that getting the pipeline back up and running would be the “the best way” to solve the problem, as the DOT considers interim solutions such as the possibility of using rail to move gas into the southeast.
Critics were quick to note that President Joe Biden canceled the Keystone XL pipeline shortly after taking office.