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Politics / Issues

DeSantis Declares State Of Emergency Over Gas Shortages After Pipeline Shutdown

Pipeline Cybersecurity Attack
Chris Carlson/AP
/
AP
A customer helps pumping gas at Costco, as other wait in line, on Tuesday, May 11, 2021, in Charlotte, N.C. Colonial Pipeline, which delivers about 45% of the fuel consumed on the East Coast, halted operations last week after revealing a cyberattack that it said had affected some of its systems.

More than 1,000 gas stations in the Southeast reported running out of fuel, primarily attributed to unwarranted panic-buying among drivers.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has declared a state of emergency in response to gasoline shortages caused the shutdown of a major pipeline by hackers.

The executive order signed Tuesday by DeSantis activates the Florida National Guard, as needed, and directs state emergency management officials to work with federal and local officials.

DeSantis also relaxed truck-weight restrictions to get more fuel on the road as demand for gasoline has surged.

The Colonial Pipeline, the biggest fuel pipeline in the U.S., delivering about 45% of what is consumed on the East Coast, was hit on Friday with a cyberattack by hackers who lock up computer systems and demand a ransom to release them.

More than 1,000 gas stations in the Southeast reported running out of fuel, primarily because of what analysts say is unwarranted panic-buying among drivers, as the shutdown entered its fifth day.

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried urged Floridians not to panic buy or hoard gas.

Government officials acted swiftly to waive safety and environmental rules to speed the delivery of fuel by truck, ship or rail to motorists and airports.

Even so, they sought to assure consumers that there was no cause for alarm.

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