Delegate Steve Heretick's Update on Pipeline/Fuel Shortage
MAY 13th 10:31AM: FROM DELEGATE STEVE HERETICK
I just got off the phone with numerous officials in the Governor’s Administration who provided an emergency briefing and here is the latest on the pipeline/gas shortage situation. On May 7th an attack was launched against the main pipeline (Colonial) that supplies approximately 45% of Virginia’s gasoline, diesel and jet fuel. Other pipelines are continuing to operate normally and have increased capacity to make up for the shortfall. However, understandably, the fear created by this situation caused a run on gas stations which greatly increased demand at a time that supply was cut in half. Waivers have been granted by federal and state authorities to allow trucking of fuel into our region as well as several other emergency waivers have been granted that will increase fuel supply to our region.
Late yesterday the Colonial Pipeline was restarted but this process is not instant as it takes time to get pressures up to correct levels and test all safety features. There is a very large interstate effort to do inspections along the pipeline to ensure there are no safety concerns from the attack. We heard from company officials early this morning that the restart is successful so far and product is now flowing! It will take several days however for this to catch up to the vastly increased demand as everyone is trying to keep their tanks full of fuel.
This is a major national security issue as well. As I represent the largest naval base in the world, we have to be concerned about military preparedness to defend our nation. I have been assured that the main pipeline providing jet fuel to Naval Station Norfolk is operational and our military defense capabilities are intact.
The bottom line is, relief is on the way, and there is a completely coordinated effort between state and federal authorities and industry leaders to get us back on track. However, we will have at least several more days of limited fuel options and availability as the supply works to catch up with increased demand.
I know this is frightening, especially for those who need their vehicles in order to get to work, medical appointments, and other essential travel. This is a good time to check on your friends and neighbors in the community to help work together to carpool and reduce gas consumption. We have a strong community and I know that we will get through this by working together!