WH: ‘End in sight’ to gas disruptions after Colonial Pipeline resumes operations

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The White House said Wednesday said the resumption of Colonial Pipeline operations means there is an “end in sight” after a cyber-hack and shutdown caused major gasoline disruptions in the Southeast and other places.

Press secretary Jen Psaki also said it granted a waiver to an unnamed company that wanted to deliver fuel outside of the confines of the Jones Act, which requires maritime cargo transport between U.S. ports to occur on U.S.-flagged vessels.

“President Biden and the White House will monitor the situation closely in the coming days, and continue to urge Americans to just purchase what they need, and not hoard fuel, as supply is restored,” Ms. Psaki said.

A ransomware attack last weekend shut down the Colonial pipeline, the largest in the nation’s refinery system. When in operation, the pipeline carries more than 3 billion barrels of fuel daily between the Gulf Coast to the harbor of New York and is responsible for delivering 45% of all fuel consumed on the East Coast.

The Energy Department said it got the pipeline back online late Wednesday after multiple days of shortages and panic-buying that caused long lines at the pump and higher gas prices.

The majority of gas stations in North Carolina ran out of fuel.

“As supplies return to normal, we will also continue our whole-of-government effort to mitigate any challenges, including the swift steps we’ve taken to boost gas supply in affected States through actions by the [Environmental Protection Agency], the Department of Transportation, the Department of Energy, the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies,” Ms. Psaki said.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the Jones Act waiver will allow ships to transport oil products between the Gulf Coast and East Coast to ease oil supply constraints as a result of the interruptions in the operations of the Colonial Pipeline.”

“The decision to approve the waiver was made after careful consideration and consultation with interagency partners across the federal government,” he said.

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